Fatal Accident Claims Explained

If a loved one has suffered fatal injuries as a result of a third party breaching their duty of care, you may be eligible to claim compensation on their behalf. This guide will examine fatal accident claims, including the eligibility criteria that need to be met to have valid grounds to pursue a claim on behalf of the deceased.

We will also cover the relevant legislation that governs such a claim. You will also see information on how compensation for wrongful death is calculated.

Additionally, we provide examples of how wrongful death could occur following a breach of duty by a relevant third party, such as an employer, occupier, or road user.

Our guide finishes with a discussion of the No Win No Fee Agreement offered by our expert panel of solicitors, and how you can benefit by starting a potential fatal accident compensation claim under such terms.

For free and confidential advice regarding the claims process for fatal accidents, talk to one of our dedicated advisors today. As well as providing further guidance on any of the information in this guide, our team can assess your eligibility to claim for a loved one’s death. Get in touch today via:

A person lying on the ground unresponsive with blood pouring from their head being attended to by a first aid trained person after a fatal accident.

Browse This Guide

  1. What Are Fatal Accident Claims?
  2. When Can Negligence Lead To Potential Fatal Accident Claims?
  3. Evidence That Can Help In Fatal Accident Claims
  4. How Much Fatal Accident Compensation Could You Receive?
  5. Claim A Fatal Accident Compensation Amount Using A No Win No Fee Solicitor
  6. Read More About Claiming Compensation For A Wrongful Death

What Are Fatal Accident Claims?

Fatal accident claims are a type of claim made on behalf of someone who has died. However, in order to have valid grounds to pursue fatal accident compensation, a case needs to show that a third party breached the duty of care they owed leading to a fatal injury. This is known as negligence in tort law and needs to be proven for a claim to be eligible.

When Can I Make A Fatal Accident Claim On Someone Else’s Behalf?

The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 states that the estate of the deceased person may begin a claim for the pain and suffering of their loved one. The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 allows dependents to claim for the impact the death of the deceased has had on them. 

Under the Act 1976, a dependent is classed as:

  • Children or other descendants of the deceased, including stepchildren from current and previous legal partnerships, who were treated as the child of the deceased.
  • Parents or other ascendants of the deceased as all as any person who was treated as the parents of the deceased.
  • A person who was living with the deceased in the same household immediately before the death, lived with the deceased individual for a minimum of two years prior to their death, and was living during the whole of that period as husband or wife or a civil partner of the deceased.
  • The wife or husband or former wife or husband of the deceased.
  • The current or former civil partner of the deceased.

Our advisory team are available 24 hours a day to address any questions you may have regarding the fatal accident claims process. They can also assess your eligibility to claim compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 for the impact your loved one’s death has had on you. Speak to an advisor today via the contact details provided above.

When Can Negligence Lead To Potential Fatal Accident Claims?

In this section, we look at the different scenarios where a third party could fail to uphold their duty of care and cause a fatal accident. Below you will see examples of accidents in the workplace, in public and on the road that could result in a fatality. 

Accidents At Work

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, all employers owe a duty of care to their employees in that they must take reasonable steps to ensure their employees are safe whilst working. How this duty can be met will vary depending on the type of workplace. For example, those working in construction may require hard hats and protective shoes, but office staff more than likely will not.

Britain’s independent workplace health and safety regulatory body, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), publish detailed guidance on an employer’s responsibilities and how they can adhere to health and safety legislation. Failure to do so could lead to fatal workplace accidents. 

An example of an employer failing to uphold their duty of care and causing a fatal work accident would be:

  • An employer failed to provide their employee with personal protective equipment, such as a hard hat, to reduce the risk of injury. As a result, the employee suffered a fatal head injury after being hit on the head by a heavy object.

A man in a high-vis jacket and hard hat lying on the ground in a construction site. Another worker is running towards him

Accidents In Public Places

The occupier of a public place owes a duty of care to all visitors to the premises as established by the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. An occupier must take steps to ensure the reasonable safety of those visitors using the space for its intended purpose. An example scenario where the occupier has failed in this duty and caused a fatal accident is:

  • A restaurant manager had neglected to carry out maintenance checks and repairs on their facilities, meaning a fault with the bathroom light switch went unrepaired, despite reports having been made. As a result, an elderly customer went to use the bathroom and received a fatal electric shock.

Road Traffic Accidents

Road users are obligated to navigate the roads in a way that prevents each other from experiencing harm or damage. This is their duty of care and means they must obey the Highway Code and Road Traffic Act 1988. Failure to do so could lead to a fatal road traffic accident. 

A scenario where a road user could cause a fatal car accident due to their own negligence would be:

  • The driver of a lorry pulled onto a main road without adequate observation. The lorry hit a car coming from the right, pushing that vehicle off the road. The driver of the car was killed when their vehicle collided with a tree. 

A bicycle helmet and bicycle laying on the road in front of a car

Medical Misdiagnosis

All medical professionals, in both private and public healthcare have a duty of care to their patients to provide medical care at the correct standard. Medical negligence is defined as causing avoidable harm to patients through failure to meet this correct standard.

A misdiagnosis could be an example of this. For instance, a doctor misdiagnosed symptoms of a stroke as a migraine, and consequently, the patient did not receive blood thinning medication. The untreated blood clot later proved fatal.

You can find out more about the circumstances where fatal accidents could occur by speaking to our advisors. In addition to explaining the fatal accident claims process in more detail, they can offer a free assessment of your eligibility to claim compensation on behalf of a loved one.

Evidence That Can Help In Fatal Accident Claims

When making fatal accident claims, sufficient evidence will need to be collected to prove the fatal injury was caused by third-party negligence. What evidence is needed will depend on the circumstances of the fatal injury but we have collated this list of possible examples here:

  • CCTV or dashcam footage of the accident. Photographs of the accident scene or the cause of the accident can also be used as evidence.
  • Medical records, such as copies of MRIs, X-rays or other tests that were performed, can be used to show the extent of the injuries that led to the person’s death.
  • Potential witnesses to the accident could be called upon to provide a statement during the claims process. Obtain the relevant contact information of these possible witnesses. 
  • For a workplace accident, you could acquire a copy of the report from the accident book. An accident book is a record of workplace incidents employers with more than 10 employees are required to keep.

If you are eligible to begin a claim, one of the fatal accident solicitors from our panel could support you with acquiring evidence. Working with a solicitor will benefit you in a number of ways. As well as assistance with gathering a strong body of evidence, a solicitor will also make sure you are claiming within the relevant time limit.

Time Limits In Fatal Accident Claims

The standard time limit in fatal accident claims is 3 years from the date of death. It could also begin from the date of knowledge which can include the date of an inquest or post-mortem. 

Other exceptions could apply to the three year time limit. For further guidance on the relevant time limit to your potential fatal accident claim, speak to an advisor today. 

How Much Fatal Accident Compensation Could You Receive?

In fatal accident claims, compensation can be awarded to address the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased prior to their death. The legal team assigned to your case can refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help assign a value to this aspect of the claim as well as any medical reports.

The JCG is a publication that lists descriptions of various injuries and guideline award brackets for each. You can see some of these brackets in the table below. 

Compensation Table

As the JCG figures are guideline amounts, this table is likewise intended as a guideline only. The first figure is not from the JCG.

Type of InjurySeverityGuideline AmountNotes
Death As Well As Additional ClaimsVery SeriousUp to £550,000 +Compensation for the deceased's pain and suffering as well as dependency payments such as loss of income and services.
Injuries Involving ParalysisTetraplegia (a)£396,140 to £493,000Upper and lower body paralysis. At the top of this bracket are cases where the injured person has suffered physical pain, a significant effect on their senses and ability to communicate.
Paraplegia (b)£267,340 to £346,890Lower body paralysis. Factors influencing awards for paraplegia are: life expectancy and age, the extent of pain, psychological effects and the level of independence.
Brain DamageVery Severe (a)£344,150 to £493,150At the top of this bracket the injured person will have very little environmental response or communicative ability and require full time nursing care.
DeathFull Awareness (a)£15,300 to £29,060Full awareness for a short period followed by fluctuating levels of consciousness for around 4-5 weeks. Death will occur within a couple of weeks up to 3 months.

Other Financial Losses After a Bereavement

There are some other costs that could be compensated as part of the payout for successful fatal accident claims. Examples can include funeral expenses alongside:

  • Loss of services: This can include childcare and other household tasks. A solicitor will need to quantify the value of these services, and can include both past and future losses.
  • Loss of Consortium: This is also known as loss of a special person. It’s a payment that accounts for the loss of companionship and impact on familial relationships, something that cannot be quantified elsewhere.
  • Financial dependency: The loss of the income brought in by the deceased can have a considerable impact on anyone financially dependent on the deceased. A financial dependency payment can account for both past and future losses. 

What Is A Bereavement Award In Fatal Injury Claims?

In successful fatal injury claims, certain qualifying relatives could receive a bereavement award which is a fixed sum. The amount is set at £15,120 as per Section 1A of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. It is split equally between eligible relatives if more than one person claims. Eligible relatives are:

  • The wife, husband, or civil partner of the deceased.
  • The parents, if the deceased individual was an unmarried minor. Only the mother can claim if the unmarried minor was born out of wedlock.
  • A cohabiting partner of the deceased who was living with them in the same household immediately before the death, was living with them for at least two years before the death, and lived during this whole period as wife, husband, or civil partner. 

We understand that losing a loved one can cause considerable distress in addition to potential financial concerns. Our advisors have experience in assessing fatal accident compensation claims. To get a more detailed estimate of what compensation could be awarded for a successful claim, contact our advisors today using the contact information given below.

Claim A Fatal Accident Compensation Amount Using A No Win No Fee Solicitor

Our advisory team can provide a no-obligation assessment of your eligibility to start a claim on behalf of a deceased loved one free of charge. If eligible, an experienced fatal accident claims solicitor from our panel of experts could offer their services under a Conditional Fee Agreement.

A Conditional Fee Agreement or “CFA” is a No Win No Fee contract that stipulates you will not be charged fees for a solicitor’s work in most circumstances, including upfront and as the claim proceeds. There will also be no fee taken for an unsuccessful claim. 

Compensation will be paid out upon the success of a fatal accident claim. The solicitor will subtract a share of this compensation as a success fee before transferring the rest to you. The Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013 limits the percentage that can be charged as a success fee. What this means is the majority of any compensation awarded is yours to keep. 

For free and confidential advice regarding the claims process for a fatal accident, talk to one of our dedicated advisors today. As well as providing further guidance on any of the information in this guide, our team can assess your eligibility to claim for a loved one’s death free of charge. Get in touch today via:

A fatal accident solicitor working at their desk on a laptop with a gavel hammer and set of scales.

Read More About Claiming Compensation For A Wrongful Death

You can read some of our other compensation claims guides by following these links:

We have also provided these additional resources:

Thank you for reading our guide on fatal accident claims. You can learn more about the claims process, or find out if you could claim for the death of a loved one by speaking to our advisors today. Our team is available 24/7 via the contact details given above.