Making A Fatal Accident Claim – Scotland

Welcome to our guide on how fatal accident claims work in Scotland. If a loved one has been in a fatal accident due to someone else’s negligence, you could potentially claim compensation. This guide explains who might be eligible, how you could prove your claim and the laws that support this. 

fatal accident claims

A guide to fatal accident claims

You could potentially be owed compensation if your relative’s accident was due to another party breaching their duty of care. In Scotland, the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 outlines who can claim for loved ones who suffered a fatal accident that wasn’t their fault. We will consider this legislation later in this guide. 

This guide aims to help you figure out what your best next steps could be and how you might be able to make a fatal accident claim on behalf of a loved one or yourself. 

If you want more information, feel free to get in touch with our advisors. They can offer you free legal advice and pass you on to our panel of solicitors if your claim has a good chance of success. It is important to note that your solicitor does not need to be near you as long as they have the requisite experience to help. 

Select A Section

  1. What Are Fatal Accident Claims In Scotland?
  2. What Laws Apply To Fatal Accident Claims?
  3. Are You Eligible To Claim If A Loved One Died In An Accident?
  4. Who Can’t Claim For The Death Of A Loved One?
  5. What Evidence And Documentation Do You Need?
  6. Calculating Damages For Fatal Accident Claims
  7. Contact Us About Your No Win No Fee Claim
  8. Other Serious Injury Claims

What Are Fatal Accident Claims In Scotland?

A fatal accident could occur due to another party’s negligence. If accidental death occurs due to negligence, a relative could claim compensation under the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011. 

When making a claim, it’s important to know who owed the duty of care. In the workplace, employers owe employees a duty of care to protect their health and safety. All road users have a duty of care towards each other on the roads. When this duty of care is breached, fatal accidents could happen, and the faulting party can be held liable for damages. 

Fatal accidents could potentially occur in various circumstances, such as at work, in a car accident, or possibly in public. For example, suppose your relative was in a fatal accident at work because their employer had not taken all reasonably practicable steps to keep them safe. In that case, you could claim compensation for your loss. 

The unexpected loss of someone close to you could negatively impact your mental health and finances in a way you’re not prepared for. The last thing you want to think about is a difficult legal process when this happens. That’s why we recommend hiring a solicitor to help you with your case. The solicitors from our panel can provide knowledge from their years of experience that can make the claims process smoother for you. So why not get in touch today?

What Laws Apply To Fatal Accident Claims?

As previously mentioned, the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 is the main piece of legislation regarding fatal accident claims. From this, we can see who is eligible to start a claim and under what circumstances. 

This Act states that a relative can make a claim for different damages. For example, if your relative died as a result of a personal injury that was the fault of another’s negligence, you could make a claim on the deceased’s behalf. However, this is only on the condition that the deceased made no formal agreements to not claim for said personal injury before their death. 

You could also claim compensation for your loss. In this way, you could potentially claim for:

  • Loss of services or support
  • Funeral expenses
  • Anxiety and distress
  • Sorrow and grief

In terms of compensation for a loss of support, this could be if they were the family’s sole earner or even if they provided services such as gardening or cooking. If they were the sole earner, you could potentially claim the equivalent of 75% of the deceased’s net income. 

However, this section is not exhaustive. To discover more about what you could claim for, get in touch with our advisors today. 

Are You Eligible To Claim If A Loved One Died In An Accident?

If a loved one has passed away due to an accident, you could make a claim for compensation against the faulting party. According to Scottish law, a relative who can claim is defined as:

  • The deceased’s spouse or civil partner
  • A parent or a child (including stepchildren, adopted children and those accepted as a child of the deceased)
  • Siblings or accepted siblings of the deceased where they lived with the family as a child
  • Grandparents or someone accepted as one
  • Another form of ascendant or descendent other than those listed above
  • Uncle or aunt
  • Niece or nephew
  • Cousins
  • A former spouse or civil partner
To find out more about fatal accident claims and if you could be eligible to claim, reach out to us today. 

Who Can’t Claim For The Death Of A Loved One? 

In the previous section, we looked at how Scottish law defines a relative and the people that could make a claim under this definition. To counter this, you would not be able to make a valid fatal accident claim if you did not fall under this definition. For example, if you were a close friend of the deceased, you may not be able to make a claim. 

You would be unable to claim if the deceased had already received compensation for their personal injury before they died. The exception to this is in cases of death by mesothelioma on or after December 2006, where a relative can claim after death even if the deceased received compensation before they passed. 

What Evidence And Documentation Do You Need?

For fatal accident claims, you need to prove that someone breached their duty of care towards your loved one, which led to their death. Gathering appropriate evidence can make the claims process easier for you. 

It is not necessary to hire a solicitor to collect evidence. However, we always recommend hiring one. Our panel would handle your case sensitively and understand what documentation could give your claim a good chance of success. Some forms of evidence include:

  • Medical records of the deceased
  • Certificate of death and/or autopsy reports
  • CCTV footage regarding the accident
  • Photographs of their injury or accident
  • Witness statements
  • Accident report records (such as from the workplace accident logbook)

Still wondering what type of evidence could be best? Get in touch with us today for more information or to speak to an advisor about starting your claim. 

Calculating Damages For Fatal Accident Claims

The figures shown in the compensation table below are calculated from previous cases and can be found in the Judicial College Guidelines. Solicitors use this publication to help when valuing claims. Though these figures cover England and Wales, we’re using them to illustrate potential compensation figures generally. 

It is important to note that these figures are not guaranteed. Each case is assessed according to the individual circumstances. 


Injury Severity Amount Notes
Death £600,000+ Awards of this level can include the likes of loss of earnings and loss of pension.
Death Mental Anguish £4,380 You could claim for cases where there may be a reduction in life expectancy or a fear of impending death. This bracket also covers cases for parent/s where young children may have been suffering mental anguish for around 3 months.
Death Immediate Unconcsiousness (ii) £1,290 to £2,620 You could claim for cases where your loved one was unconscious after the accident and this was followed by death within a week. If they passed away that same day, any compensation would be towards the bottom of the bracket.
Death Immediate Unconcsiousness (i) £3,530 to £4,120 You could claim for cases where there was unconsciousness immediately following the accident. Death occurred after 6 weeks.
Death Followed by Unconsciousness £9,870 to £10,010 You could claim for cases of serious burns or lung damage that have led to severe pain and unconsciousness after 3 hours. Death would occur within 2 weeks.
Death Full Awareness £11,770 to £22,350 You could claim for cases of severe burns or lung damage 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 occur between a couple of weeks and 3 months.


As mentioned, you can also claim for solatium or loss of support. Solatium is the emotional damage suffered by relatives in the case of fatal accidents. 

For more details on making a claim, contact our advisors today. 

What Bereavement Damages Could You Claim?

In Scottish law, you may be able to claim payment for something referred to as loss of society. 

This aims to reimburse the relatives of the deceased for the loss of their relationship. Though it is similar to the Bereavement Damages payments of England and Wales, the payments are calculated differently in Scotland, and a wider range of family members could potentially claim. 

In Scotland, there is no maximum limit set on compensation for loss of society. It is also assessed on a case-by-case basis, rather than the flat rate set for Bereavement Damages. 

Contact Us About Your No Win No Fee Claim

If your relative has died in an accident due to the negligent actions of another, you could be eligible for compensation. However, you might have reservations about funding the work of a solicitor for your claim. 

Our panel of solicitors work under No Win No Fee agreements for claims they accept. This means that you will not be obliged to pay any solicitor fee if your case does not succeed. 

The success fee would be deducted from your compensation payout amount if your claim is successful. The solicitor would let you know the percentage of their fees before they take on your claim, and it is only deducted after your compensation has been fully paid. The success fee is also legally capped to prevent any overcharging.

So why not speak to one of our advisors today? You could be passed onto a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel. They can help guide you through every step of the fatal accident claims process. 

Other Serious Injury Claims

We hope our guide on fatal accident claims in Scotland answered any questions you may have had. For more useful claims guides, see below. 

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Work Compensation Claims – How to claim compensation if you’ve suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning in a work accident. 

How to make a Personal Injury Claim for Psychological Damage – A guide on how you could claim for psychological damages. 

Trauma Compensation Claims – Wondering if you could claim after a traumatic experience? Our article could help you. 

Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc. (Scotland) Act 2016 – Scottish legislation on how fatal accidents may be investigated. 

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents A charity relating to personal injury and aiming to reduce the number of accidents through advice and guidance. 

Health and Safety Executive – Britain’s regulator for workplace health and safety.

If you have any other questions about fatal accident claims in Scotland, why not get in touch? Our advisors are available 24/7. 

Article by AO

Publisher UI