This guide will provide you with information about claiming for a fatal car accident. In England and Wales, the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 outlines what dependants can do to claim compensation because of a loved one’s wrongful death. In this guide, we will outline key aspects of how this works.
If you have any queries about claiming compensation for a fatal road accident, please contact our advisors for completely free legal advice. You can contact them at any time because they’re available 24/7. They can inform you if you can claim and provide you with a compensation estimate.
Furthermore, they could connect you with our panel of No Win No Fee solicitors who specialise in fatal accident compensation claims. Their expertise and experience could help you build your case.
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Please read on to learn more about claiming for the death of a loved one.
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- Who Can Make Fatal Car Accident Claims?
- Statutory Bereavement Awards
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This section will clarify what is meant by a wrongful death in relation to accidents like a car crash. Every road user has a duty of care to each other, as detailed in The Highway Code. You can find out more about the 8 Highway Code changes that take effect from 29th January 2022 by visiting the Government website.
To claim compensation for a fatal car accident, you need to prove that another road user’s negligence caused the accident and your injuries. Negligence concerning a fatal road traffic accident would involve the other road user not adhering to the duty of care. Therefore, you may be able to claim if the death was caused by another driver’s careless driving or dangerous driving.
Dependents As Defined Under The Law
Under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 the executor of the estate could claim for the deceased’s fatal accident. However, if they don’t do so within 6 months, dependents of the deceased could claim under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
To claim compensation for the death of a loved one under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, you would have to be:
- The spouse or former spouse of the deceased
- Their civil partner or former civil partner
- Anyone living as the spouse or civil partner with the deceased for at least two years before their death
- Any parent or other ascendant
- Anyone treated by the deceased as their parent
- Any descendant of the deceased, including a child
- Anyone who, due to the deceased’s civil partnership or marriage, was treated as a child of the family by them.
- An uncle, aunt, sister or brother of the deceased.
You have a specific limitation period to claim. In fatal car accident claims, you usually have three years from the date of death to begin claims proceedings. In England and Wales, the Limitation Act 1980 outlines this.
To learn more about claiming for a fatal car accident, please contact our advisors at a time that works for you. You can contact them using the above details.
The next two sections will clarify what you could receive when claiming for the death of a loved one. There is a bereavement award you could receive if you claim successfully. You could receive the statutory amount of £15,120 when claiming damages for the fatal injury of a loved one. You would need to be:
- The spouse or civil partner
- Cohabiting partner of the deceased who had lived with them for at least 2 years before they passed away
- Parents of the deceased, if the deceased was a minor who never married and was a legitimate child.
- Mother of the deceased if the deceased was an illegitimate child.
In this context, cohabiting partner refers to anyone that lived with the deceased immediately before their death and for at least two years before the death occurred. If multiple people want to claim for the same bereavement award, the amount will be divided between them if the claim is successful.
Furthermore, you may be able to claim compensation through a dependency claim if you’re one of the dependants of the deceased and you’re able to prove that another road user’s negligence caused the fatal injury. This is an additional compensation amount you could receive for the same fatal car accident claim.
Examples of losses you may be able to claim include:
- Loss of financial dependency – You could suffer financial losses due to the deceased’s absence. For example, you could be in debt because the utility bill payment is usually made through the deceased’s account.
- Loss of services – This could include the loss of care that the person had provided to an elderly relative, loss of help with household chores, and loss of help gardening, for example.
Importantly, you would need financial documentation, such as bank statements or invoices, to show how you were financially dependent on the deceased.
Another important aspect to remember is that, upon the loved one’s death, under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934, the estate or executors have six months to begin a bereavement claim. However, if the executors do not begin claims proceedings within that time period, the dependants of the deceased can pursue their compensation claim.
Fatal accident claims will usually encompass compensation pursued under both pieces of legislation rather than separately.
A loved one could suffer a car crash while not inside a vehicle. Fatal injury claims could be made for situations where:
- A motorcyclist hit a car due to the car driver losing control of the vehicle because they were under the influence.
- A cyclist collided with a car because the driver was distracted while on the phone.
- Someone was hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian if, for instance, the collision was caused by the driver going above the speed limit.
You would only be able to claim if you can prove that the collision was caused by negligence. It’s important to note that you aren’t technically claiming because the fatal car accident happened in and of itself but because the death was caused by negligence.
Fatal Road Accident Statistics
The Department for Transport provides fatal accident statistics for road users in Great Britain. In the year ending June 2021, there were 1,390 estimated fatalities due to accidents on the road. Furthermore, there were also 23,140 people seriously injured and 95,320 people slightly injured.
To discover if you’re able to claim due to a loved one suffering a fatal car accident, please contact our team for legal advice that is completely free. You can contact them at any time that works for you using the above details.
There are different types of compensation you could receive for a fatal car accident. This section will detail general damages. General damages relate to the nature of the death and the pain and suffering caused by it.
Effectively, the amount of compensation you could receive for the untimely passing of a loved one can be determined by the trauma and pain they experienced leading to their death.
The Judicial College can provide you with a better understanding of what you could receive for general damages. They analyse previous payouts relating to fatal injury claims, comparing them to the pain and suffering caused to the victim before their death. By doing this, they’ve created compensation brackets which you can see illustrated below.
|Injury Type||Notes||Compensation Amount||Description|
|Death and losses||In excess of £500,000||Financial losses can include loss of earnings and loss of pension, as well as pain and suffering|
|Fatal||Immediate Unconsciousness/Death after Six Weeks||£3,530 to £4,120||This bracket is for immediate unconsciousness suffered after the injury. Death would then occur after six weeks.|
|Fatal||Immediate Unconsciousness/Death within One Week||£1,290 to £2,620||This bracket is for immediate unconsciousness, or unconsciousness following shortly after the injury, with death occurring within one week.|
|Mental Anguish||Fear of Impending Death||£4,380||This bracket is for mental anguish caused by the injured person's fear of their impending death.|
|Fatal||Followed by Unconsciousness||£9,870 to £10,010||This bracket is for injuries causing pain of an excruciating level followed by unconsciousness after three hours. Furthermore, after two weeks, death would take place.|
|Fatal||Full Awareness||£11,770 to £22,350||This bracket is for if the injured person is fully aware before their death, which takes between a couple of weeks to three months. For example, this could include lung damage and severe burns leading to fluctuating levels of consciousness and intrusive treatment for between four to five weeks.|
Another type of compensation you could claim relates to funeral expenses. As with receiving any redress through a fatal car accident compensation claim, you would need to prove that the incident resulted in the wrongful death of a loved one.
You would also need to provide evidence showing the value of the funeral costs. However, this isn’t the only loss you may be able to claim.
You may be able to receive the statutory £15,120 bereavement award by claiming. Furthermore, dependency claims could also contribute to the overall compensation amount. This involves proving that you were financially dependent on the deceased, meaning their death has caused you financial loss.
Examples of instances where you could make dependency claims have been provided above.
You may be wondering about the advantages of using No Win No Fee fatal accident claim solicitors from our panel. Benefits include not having to pay the solicitor’s legal costs until a settlement has been reached and these costs being paid through a small, legally capped success fee. This amount will be taken out of your compensation.
Additionally, there will also be no hidden fees. If you want to claim for a fatal road traffic accident, they will explain any potential costs of the claims process before you agree to use their services.
If you have any queries about fatal injury claims, please contact us using the above details. Our team of advisors are available 24/7 and can tell you quickly and easily if you’re eligible to claim. Furthermore, they can also connect you with a solicitor from our panel who could help you build your case and collect evidence.
Contact us on a no-obligation basis using the details below.
Fatal Accident Claim Resources
Please find more useful links below.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provide fatal injury statistics for workplaces across Great Britain. Click on their website to learn more.
For services that could help you, please refer to Cruse Bereavement Support.
The NHS also provide bereavement services. You can find out more about what they offer on their website.
As local councils control many public roads, you may want to know more about claiming against them. Please read this article on our website to learn more.
Would you like to know more about road traffic accident claims? If so, please read this legal advice on our website.
Read this to learn more about hit and run claims.
Do you have further queries about claiming for a fatal car accident? If so, please contact our advisors for legal advice that is completely free at a time that works for you.
Article by AU