Fatal Accident Claims – Everything You Need To Know

This guide will explain how to claim compensation for a fatal accident. If your loved one died as a result of negligence, you might be able to claim compensation in relation to this. The compensation you receive could cover their pain and suffering; however, compensation could also be awarded to relate to a loss of dependency caused by the accidental death.

Fatal accident claims guide

Fatal accident claims guide

To begin your claim, please contact Public Interest Lawyers today. We can connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor to handle your claim, provided your claim is valid.

You can:

  • Call our claims helpline on 0800 408 7825.
  • Or use the contact form on our website.
  • Alternatively, you can chat with us directly. Just type your question into the Live Support widget.

Select A Section

What Are Fatal Accident Claims?

A fatal accident can happen because another party acted negligently. For example, a drunk driver could cause a pedestrian accident, leading to their death. If this happens because of negligence, the close relatives of the deceased may be able to make a claim for compensation.

The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 sets out how these kinds of claims could be made. Compensation could be paid for the pain and suffering of the deceased and a loss of dependency for any dependants. A qualifying relative might also be able to claim a bereavement award.

When Could You Claim For A Fatal Accident?

If you wish to make a fatal accident claim, you will have to provide evidence to prove the following:

  • Firstly, the defendant owed your loved one a duty of care.
  • Secondly, the defendant acted negligently, therefore breaching their duty of care.
  • Thirdly, the negligence led to an accident in which your loved one passed away.

A duty of care means that one party was responsible for the other party’s health, safety and welfare. Below, we’ve included some examples of situations in which you’re owed a duty of care:

If you would like to know more about making a accident claim, speak with one of our advisors today,

Who Could Make A Claim?

The Fatal Accident Act 1976 states that dependants of the deceased can make a claim on behalf of the person who has passed away.

For the purposes of this Act, a “dependant” can be:

  • A spouse or civil partner of the deceased
  • A partner who cohabitated with the deceased for at least two years before their death
  • Children of the deceased, or those treated as their children
  • Parents of the deceased, or those treated as their parents
  • A sibling, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, or the child of any of these categories of relatives.

In the first 6 months after a fatal accident occurs, the executor of the deceased’s estate has the sole ability to pursue this kind of claim; however, if they pursue a claim this can also include the dependency payment and a bereavement award.

After 6 months, if no claim has been pursued by the deceased’s executor, then any dependant can bring forward a claim.

Is There A Time Limit For These Claims?

According to the Limitation Act 1980, there is a time limit to claim compensation for a fatal accident. The time limit is generally three years, but there are some exceptions to this rule.

For example, children under the age of 18 cannot represent themselves. This means that they cannot pursue compensation while under this age.

For this reason, the time limit is suspended while they are underage. A litigation friend can claim on their behalf while this applies.

Once the child turns 18, they can pursue their own claim. Because of this, the three-year limit begins at this point.

There are other exceptions that can apply to this time limit. Get in touch with our team today for more information on how long you have to make a claim on behalf of a deceased loved one.

Fatal Accident Claims Calculator

Following a fatal accident that was caused by negligence, three different types of damages can be claimed. We will look at these types of claims in more detail below.

Compensation On Behalf Of The Deceased

Relatives of the deceased can claim compensation for the deceased’s pain and suffering caused by the accident. This aspect of a fatal injury claim is called general damages.

We have included the table below, which includes excerpts from the Judicial College Guidelines. This is a document containing guideline compensation brackets based on previous compensation amounts that have been awarded in court.

Reason To ClaimPrior To DeathNotesPayout
Death(A) Full AwarenessThe person may have suffered lung damage and severe burns. They will have been aware for a brief period before having fluctuating awareness for 4 - 5 weeks. There will have been intrusive treatment or there will have been physical injuries leading to death. This will have happened between 2 weeks and 3 months.£11,770 to £22,350
Death(B) Followed by UnconsciousnessWhere the person suffers severe lung damage and burns. This may cause excruciating pain and then unconsciousness. This will have happened in three hours and death will have happened in 2 weeks.£9,870 to £10,010
Death(C) Death after Six Weeks Where There Was Immediate UnconsciousnessWhere the person will die after six weeks and where unconsciousness occurred immediately after the incident.£3,530 to £4,120
Death(D) Death Within A Week And Where There Is Immediate UnconsciousnessUnconsciousness happens very quickly. This is then followed by death in a week or less.£1,290 to £2,620

Mental Anguishn/aFear of either death or of a reduced lifespan.£4,380

It’s important to note that these figures are just guidelines; your compensation payout may vary, depending on personal circumstances. Please feel free to call our claims helpline, and an advisor can let you know how much compensation you could claim.

Bereavement Awards

Certain qualifying relatives might be entitled to a bereavement award. The bereavement award is compensation for the grief of losing a loved one. At the time of writing, the statutory bereavement award is £15,120. It can be claimed by:

  • A husband, wife or civil partner of the deceased
  • The cohabiting partner of the deceased
  • If the deceased was an unmarried minor, their parents (if legitimate) or mother (if illegitimate)

If more than one qualifying person claims the statutory bereavement award, each party will split the payout. They will not receive the full amount each.

Dependency Award

As part of a fatal accident claim, certain relatives might be able to make a dependency award. There are two different kinds of dependency. These are:

  • Financial dependency. This is where you can show that you were financially dependent on the deceased. For example, the deceased’s spouse may have been a stay-at-home-parent who was dependent on the deceased’s wages in order to manage the household.
  • Loss of services dependency. This covers any acts that the deceased would have performed that the dependant will now be missing out on. For example, the deceased could be a parent who was responsible for taking their child to and from sports practices.

For more information on what could be included in a claim on behalf of someone who has passed away, speak with an advisor today.

Contact Us About No Win No Fee Fatal Accident Claims

If you chose to make a fatal accident claim for compensation, we can help. You might want to work with a solicitor but be concerned about the costs this might incur.

Public Interest Lawyers can provide you with an experienced personal injury claims lawyer to handle your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that you will not pay any upfront or ongoing fees to your solicitor. Instead, you will pay a success fee if you win your claim. This is legally capped, meaning that you always keep the majority of your compensation.

If your claim is unsuccessful, there is nothing to pay your lawyer at all. Please get in touch with Public Interest Lawyers today for your free consultation; if your claim is valid, you could be connected with a fatal accident solicitor from our panel.

You can:

  • Call our claims helpline on 0800 408 7825.
  • Or use the contact form on our website.
  • Alternatively, you can chat with us directly. Just type your question into the Live Support widget.

How To Get Further Help

If you have found this guide helpful, you may wish to learn more about making a personal injury claim. Please feel free to read the guide below.

Why Is It Important To Report Accidents In The Workplace?

How Do I Claim For Lost Wages Due To A Work Injury

Car Accident Compensation Claims For Crashes On A Public Road 

You may find these online resources helpful:

An NHS guide to coping with grief after losing a loved one.

Workplace fatal injury statistics.

THINK!, the government’s road safety campaign.

Thank you for reading our guide to claiming compensation for a fatal accident.

Article by AH

Publisher ET