Advice On Fatal Injury Compensation Claims

By Stephen Anderson. Last Updated 19th April 2024. This is our guide on fatal injury compensation claims and how to follow the process when a loved one dies of a fatal injury. If a relative of yours has passed away after a fatal accident, you could potentially claim compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. It must be proven that the accident was caused through the negligent actions or inactions of those that owed a duty of care.

Relatives can seek damages on behalf of the deceased if they experienced pain and suffering during the period between the accident and their death. As part of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 if the accident was caused by the negligence of others breaching their duty of care those dependent on the deceased could claim for loss of finances or services they may have provided.

The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 was put into place so that the estate could claim compensation if the deceased’s fatal injury was caused by negligence. If the deceased had a will, the beneficiaries listed there would receive this payment. If there is no will, it will likely go to the next of kin.

Read on to find out more about these Acts and how you could claim compensation for a fatal injury of a relative or loved one. You can also get in touch with us at any time for free legal advice about your claim. Our team of advisors can handle your case sensitively and could pass you on to a fatal accident solicitor from our panel to help you start your fatal injury claim today.

a woman knocked off her bike in a fatal car accident

Select A Section

  1. Who Can Claim For A Fatal Injury?
  2. How Do I Make A Fatal Injury Claim?
  3. When Are Inquests Held?
  4. Time Limits For Fatal Injury Compensation Claims
  5. Evidence For Fatal Injury Compensation Claims
  6. What Could Be Included In A Fatal Injury Claim?
  7. No Win No Fee Fatal Injury Compensation Claims

Who Can Claim For A Fatal Injury?

You may be wondering who is eligible to claim for a fatal injury caused to a loved one or relative. Below we have included some of those who may be able to pursue the claim. This could include:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • A civil partner or former civil partner
  • Someone the deceased was cohabiting with for more than 2 years before the fatal injury
  • Direct descendants, such as any children
  • Parents, grandparents and great-grandparents
  • Siblings
  • Aunts and uncles
  • Nephews and nieces

To find out more about who can claim and how get in touch with our team of advisors today.

How Do I Make A Fatal Injury Claim?

Here we look at the different entities that may be entitled to pursue a compensation claim when a loved one or relative has suffered a fatal injury caused by a breach in the duty of care. This section will look at your options and the processes in more detail.

Claiming As The Victim

Sometimes, if a person has been injured in an accident, they may have a chance to start a personal injury claim for damages before they pass away. If they received compensation for their injuries before their death, you may not then be able to claim further compensation for their suffering.

You may also find it difficult to claim in this way if the victim died more than 3 years after their accident but did not start a claim within that time despite knowing about their injuries.

However, if the deceased passed away immediately without being able to start a claim, it’s possible that a qualifying relative could claim compensation for the deceased injuries on their behalf. This could even include payments for loss of income.

Claiming As A Dependant

You could make a fatal injury claim on behalf of the deceased if they passed away before starting a case. This can be for their pain and suffering. However, you could also claim on your own behalf for the grief and loss you have suffered as a result of the deceased’s passing. Financial losses can also be claimed for especially if you were dependent upon the deceased. 

This guide will look later in more detail at what you could claim for as a dependant. If you want to know more now, our advisors can give you more information if you get in touch.

When Are Inquests Held?

Not all deaths will be referred to the coroner. However, sometimes it may be necessary if the person who died passed away from violent or unnatural causes, in prison or police custody, or from an unknown cause.

In these cases, the coroner will perform or order a post mortem examination to determine the cause of death. An inquest is a public hearing with or without a jury where evidence is presented to decide on the cause of death. A coroner is required to complete an inquest within 6 months of being aware of the death or as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Can A Solicitor Help Me At The Inquest?  

If an inquest is necessary, it may be helpful to have a solicitor to help you with the process. They can help you apply for an interim death certificate and understand the inquest process enough to support you through a difficult time.

The solicitors on our panel are trained to handle fatal injury claims so please call our advisors to see if you can be connected with a solicitor.

Time Limits For Fatal Injury Compensation Claims

Like all types of claims, you have a limit on how long you can wait before starting the fatal injury claim under the Limitation Act 1980. For fatal accident claims, you have to start the claim within three years from the date of death or from the date the death was linked to the fatal accident or negligence.

Similarly, if the deceased died due to medical negligence, relatives have 3 years following the date of death or date of knowledge to make a claim.

Time limitations may seem complicated and could vary depending on the circumstances. If you would like to know how much time you have to start the case, our advisors could help you today.

A fatal injury compensation solicitor with paperwork on their desk

Evidence For Fatal Injury Compensation Claims

To claim compensation for fatal injuries on behalf of a loved one or relative, you’ll need to gather evidence as part of the process. Evidence can help you prove that another party breached a duty of care they owed the deceased and this contributed to their fatal injuries. Some examples of evidence that could support your claim include:

  • The results of an inquiry – An inquiry aims to discern the facts around someone’s death. Though it’s not intended to proportion blame, the results of it could be used as evidence in a claim.
  • Medical records – Medical records of the deceased can detail the injuries they sustained and their subsequent treatment. This can give an insight into how they suffered before they passed away.
  • CCTV footage – Any CCTV footage showing the accident or the circumstances that led to the accident can be used to help support your claim.
  • Witness contact details – Collecting the contact details of witnesses means that their statements can be taken at a later date.

To find out how a fatal accident solicitor from our panel could help you gather evidence and support your claim in other ways, get in touch with our team today.

What Could Be Included In A Fatal Injury Claim? 

This section includes a table of possible compensation amounts for those that are caused pain and suffering before they pass away. These figures are calculated from past case studies and are taken from the Judicial College guidelines. Legal professionals use this document to help value personal injuries.

The compensation you are awarded for the deceased’s pain and suffering is known as general damages. This section will also look at what other payments you could claim as part of the case.

DeathOver £500,000Compensation for death, coupled with financial losses
DeathFull Awareness£15,300 to £29,060This is cases of lung damage or severe burns that may have been followed by full awareness for a short time. Consciousness will have fluctuated for 4-5 weeks, accompanied by extensive treatments. Death will have occurred between a couple of weeks and 3 months.
DeathFollowed by Unconsciousness£12,830 to £13,020This bracket covers cases of lung damage or extreme burns that caused serious pain followed by unconsciousness after 3 hours and death within 2 weeks.
DeathImmediate Unconcsiousness (i)£4,590 to £5,360Cases where the deceased was unconscious immediately after the accident. Death will have been after 6 weeks.
DeathImmediate Unconcsiousness (ii)£1,680 to £3,410The deceased fell unconscious shortly after the accident and death followed within a week. If they died within the same day, the compensation will be towards the lower end of the bracket.
DeathMental Anguish£5,700There may be a reduction in life expectancy or a fear of impending death.

If you’d like to learn more about fatal accident compensation payouts, please head here to read our guide.

You may be wondering what else can be claimed as part of a fatal injury case.

Funeral Expenses

It’s also possible you could receive compensation to cover the cost of a funeral. Funerals can be expensive, but you could claim back some of the costs if your loved one died as a result of negligence.

This could cover items such as flower arrangements, or a coffin, for example. To find out more about how you could get financial help for a funeral, get in touch with our team today.

Bereavement Awards

Government Bereavement Awards is a statutory award that is a set amount of money awarded to relatives of the deceased under the Fatal Accidents Act. This will be paid in the form of up to 18 monthly payments, the first of which will contain the largest sum. The full amount is currently set to £15,120.

This can be paid to the deceased’s:

  • Spouse or civil partner
  • Partner, cohabiting with them for at least 2 years before death
  • Parents, if the deceased was never married and younger than 18
  • Just the mother if the deceased was considered not a ‘legitimate’ minor

To find out how you could apply for the statutory bereavement awards, get in touch with our team of advisors for personalised advice.

No Win No Fee Fatal Injury Compensation Claims

If you have valid grounds to start a fatal injury claim, then our advisors could connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor on our panel.

The solicitors on our panel can support a fatal injury compensation case under what’s called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Such an agreement means you won’t need to pay your solicitor for their work before your claim has begun or while it’s being processed. Also, you won’t be required to pay your solicitor for their services if the claim fails.

If your claim proves successful, then your solicitor’s payment will be covered by what’s called a success fee. This means that your solicitor will take just a small percentage of the compensation awarded for your claim. There is a legal cap that limits the percentage your solicitor can take as their fee. This helps ensure that you keep the majority of your compensation.

Contact our advisors for free today to learn more about making a fatal injury claim with a No Win No Fee solicitor. Our team can also advise you on other aspects of the fatal injury claim process. To get in touch, you can:

Resources And Victim Support Organisations

Thank you for reading our guide about fatal injury claims. We hope it answered any questions you may have had. For more resources and support, please see below.

What Happens When You Make a Claim? – If you want to know more about the claims process, this article can help you.

Mental Health Compensation Calculator – Our guide on how you could claim compensation for mental health issues.

Manslaughter and Murder Victims Compensation – This article informs you on how you could claim compensation if a relative is murdered or the victim of manslaughter.

Widowed and Young – This registered charity aims to support those aged 50 and under whose partner has died.

Funeral Expenses – Get help with funeral expenses.

Get Help After Bereavement or Loss – An NHS page on support options available to you after suffering a bereavement.

Other Guides You Can Read

Thank you for reading our guide on fatal injury claims.