Can You Claim Compensation After A Fatal Car Accident?

This guide could help you understand whether you’re able to claim compensation on behalf of a loved one who died as a result of a fatal car accident caused by negligence. All road users owe one another a duty of care. If this is breached, then an accident might occur that results in a fatal injury.

fatal car accident

Fatal car accident claims guide

Usually, the person who has been injured in an accident is the one to pursue a claim for compensation. This guide will explain who might be eligible to claim on behalf of someone who has passed away.

Whilst we have aimed to provide you with the answers to the many questions you may have at this time, we understand you may need further information after reading. Alternatively, you might want to speak with an advisor to find out if you have a valid claim.

If so, you can:

  • Speak to our team on 0800 408 7825
  • Contact us by filling out our online form
  • Use the live support option at the bottom of this screen to speak with an advisor.

Select A Section

  1. Who Could Be Killed In A Fatal Car Accident?
  2. Qualifying Relatives Under The Fatal Accidents Act 1976
  3. Causes Of Fatal Car And Road Traffic Accidents
  4. How Many People Are Killed On The Roads In The UK?
  5. What Compensation Could You Claim For A Fatal Car Accident?
  6. Start A No Win No Fee Fatal Car Accident Claim

Who Could Be Killed In A Fatal Car Accident?

All road users have a duty of care to ensure the safety of everyone else on the road. In the past, this duty of care was equal across all categories of road users.

However, the changes to the Highway Code mean that drivers of vehicles that have the greatest potential to cause harm have a greater responsibility to ensure they are protecting those more at risk when using the road.

In some instances though, a road user may fail to uphold the duty of care they owe causing harm to others navigating the roads. As a result, someone could sustain harm in a road traffic accident. In some cases, this could result in the death of a:

  • Car occupant
  • Pedestrian
  • Motorcyclist
  • Cyclist

Qualifying Relatives Under The Fatal Accidents Act 1976

There are only certain relatives that could make a fatal car accident claim under the Fatal Accident Act 1976 (FAA). Under Section 1 of the FAA, the definition of a dependant includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Parents of the deceased or any person who was treated as a parent by the deceased
  • Brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles or the issue of any of these
  • A child of the deceased
  • A spouse, including a wife, husband, or civil partner
  • Anyone who was living with the deceased at the time of their death, and had been for 2 years prior, as spouses

If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible to claim compensation on behalf of a deceased loved one, please get in touch with our team. They can provide further guidance on whether you could make a claim under the FAA.

Causes Of Fatal Car And Road Traffic Accidents

The Highway Code provides guidance and rules for all road users to follow when operating the roads. However, in some cases, people on the road may fail to follow the Code, resulting in accidents that cause death.

Examples of this might include:

  • A driver may have been driving when under the influence of drugs and alcohol. As a result, they may have knocked over a pedestrian causing them to sustain a fatal injury.
  • A lorry driver may have failed to check their mirrors before overtaking on the motorway. As a result, they may have caused a serious side collision with another driver causing them to experience a fatal head injury as well as other serious injuries in a lorry accident.

However, it’s important to note that not all road traffic accidents are caused by negligence. Instead, there are other factors that may be out of people’s control, such as adverse weather conditions.

However, in order to make a fatal car accident claim for someone, their death must have been caused by another party’s negligence.

For more information about whether you’re eligible to claim, please get in touch on the number above. An advisor could connect you with a solicitor from our panel if your case has a strong chance of success.

How Many People Are Killed On The Roads In The UK?

The Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain, Provisional Estimates report for the year ending June 2021 provide an insight into the number of deaths and injuries sustained in road traffic accidents. The report showed that there were:

  • 1,390 reported road deaths
  • 23,140 people seriously injured
  • 95,320 people slightly injured
  • 119,850 casualties of all severities

Additionally, statistics from the Department for Transport provide an insight into the categories of road users killed in road traffic accidents. The statistics show that during 2020:

The graph below gives a comparison between the road deaths in 2019 and those in 2020.

What Compensation Could You Claim For A Fatal Car Accident?

A successful fatal car accident claim payout will include compensation for the pain and suffering of the deceased.

When it comes to assessing how much compensation may be awarded, a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines can be used to help calculate your payout. This publication provides bracket amounts for different types of harm, including the pain and suffering someone may have been caused before they died.

The table below uses amounts from these guidelines but please only use them as a guide.

Type of InjuryDetailsGuideline Compensation Award
Death: Full awareness(a) The person may be fully aware for a short period and then have varying levels of consciousness for around 5 weeks. They may also experience intrusive treatment. Death will have followed within 3 months. £11,770 to £22,350
Death: Followed by unconsciousness(b) The pain may experience excruciating pain that's following by unconsciousness and death within 2 weeks.£9,870 to £10,010
Tetraplegia or Quadriplegia (a) The award given will depend on several factors including age and the extent of pain. £304,630 to £379,100
Paraplegia (b) The award given will depend on several factors including level of pain and age.£205,580 to £266,740
Mental anguish(e) A fear that death is pending or that their life expectancy will be reduced.Up to £4,380
Damage to the brain(a) Very severe: The award will depend on the extent of symptoms.£264,650 to £379,100
Damage to the brain(b) Moderately severe: The award will depend on the extent to which symptoms have impacted the person.£205,580 to £264,650
Death with add on claimsSettlements might include compensation for the deceased's pain and suffering. Settlements will also include any losses that affect the dependents e.g. loss of income. Up to £550,000 and over

Alongside the guidelines from the Judicial College, medical evidence may also be used when calculating the compensation. This might include a report from the coroner, as well as medical records.

For more information on the compensation that may be awarded, please get in touch with our team for a free assessment. An advisor can provide an estimate of the payout you may receive when making a claim under the FAA.

Bereavement Award

Section 1A of the FAA states that certain relatives could claim damages for bereavement. The compensation awarded for this is called a Bereavement Award. However, this can only be awarded to the following:

  • The wife, husband, or civil partner of the deceased
  • The cohabiting partner of the deceased (where they lived together immediately before the deceased’s death, and had done so for 2 years prior as husband and wife)
  • The parents of a deceased minor who was legitimate
  • The mother of a deceased minor who was illegitimate

The total sum awarded is £15,120. This amount is payable only once. If more than one person is eligible to claim, the amount will be divided between them equally.

Financial Dependency Award

A fatal car accident claim payout may also comprise a financial dependency award. If someone was financially dependent on the deceased person, they could claim this dependency payment which takes into consideration the deceased’s loss of earnings. It also takes into account, savings, pension and any additional incomes the deceased person may have had.

Funeral Costs

In addition to the awards intended to acknowledge pain and suffering, you could also claim for funeral expenses. These could only be claimed if you haven’t already done so under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934– this is the legislation that allows a claim to be made for the benefit of the deceased’s estate.

They could cover the cost of the memorial, headstone or the cost of a burial spot.

For more information on the additional costs that could be claimed as part of a fatal car accident claim, call our team on the number above.

Start A No Win No Fee Fatal Car Accident Claim

As you come to terms with the loss of a loved one in tragic circumstances, it may help to hire legal representation to help you through the different stages of your fatal car accident claim.

If you hire a solicitor for their services under a No Win No Fee agreement, you won’t need to pay an upfront fee before they begin working on your case. Additionally, there will be no ongoing costs to pay during the course of your claim. More importantly, if the claim doesn’t win, no success fee will be taken.

For successful claims, a success fee will be paid to your solicitor out of your compensation. The fee is subject to a legal cap though and is something your solicitor will make you aware of prior to starting work on your claim.

All of the solicitors on our panel offer No Win No Fee services and if it’s found your case has a strong chance of being successful, they could begin working on your claim. For more information on how a fatal accident solicitor on our panel could help, get in touch with our team by:

  • Calling 0800 408 7825
  • Filling out our online contact form
  • Using the live support option at the bottom of the page.

Support For Those Affected By Fatal Accidents

Below are some additional guides that you may find helpful:

We have also provided some additional external resources:

For any more information on making a fatal car accident claim on behalf of someone else, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team on the number above.

Article by EA

Publisher ET/EI