How to claim compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act guide
How to claim compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act guide

This guide will look at the process of claiming compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (FAA). We will also look at who can make these kinds of claims and what damages these settlements could consist of.

You might already be aware that in instances where you have been harmed by negligence, you can make a compensation claim. However, if someone has lost their life as the result of a breach of duty of care, then they are not able to pursue their own compensation.

Our team are available to offer you free legal advice about the process of making a fatal accident claim. They may also be able to connect you with one of our solicitors to work on your claim. You can:

  • Call us on the number at the top of the page
  • Send us a message using our contact form
  • Use the live chat at the bottom of this screen

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A Guide On How To Claim Compensation Under The Fatal Accidents Act 1976

We hope that this guide will equip you with the information you require about claiming compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act. To begin with, we will address the kinds of fatal accidents that could entitle you to make a compensation claim on behalf of the deceased.

In addition to this, we will look at two pieces of legislation that are relevant in making a fatal accident claim. This guide will look at the roles that each of these plays in the claims process.

Furthermore, the guide will address the kinds of qualifying relatives who are able to make a fatal accident claim. We’ll also address what a bereavement payment is and who can be entitled to this.

You may be wondering how compensation claims of this nature are valued. This guide will address this, as well as give some example guideline compensation brackets for illustrative purposes.

Finally, you may be considering making a fatal accident claim for a death caused by negligence but be worried about running up large bills by hiring a solicitor to work on the claim. If this is the case, you might benefit from a No Win No Fee agreement; this guide explains what this means and the benefits it can offer you when seeking a lawyer to work on your claim.

If you have any more questions about anything that we have covered in this guide, please do not hesitate to get in touch. As well as answering your questions, one of our advisors might be able to connect you with a solicitor if they feel you have a valid claim.

What Are Fatal Accidents?

A fatal accident is any accident that results in the death of one or more of the people involved in the incident. However, in order to be able to claim compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act, you would need to prove that the accident was caused by the negligence of a third party.

In order for someone to be considered negligent, they will need to have owed a duty of care to the person who has died. There are a number of different scenarios in which someone could owe someone else a duty of care that could result in different types of fatal accident, including:

  • At work. When you’re in the workplace, your employer owes you a duty of care. This means that they need to take all reasonably practicable steps to keep you safe from an accident at work. Failure to do so could result in a fatal accident at work.
  • On the road. All road users owe one another a duty of care according to the Road Traffic Act 1988 and this is outlined in the Highway Code. If this duty of care is breached, for example a road user engages in dangerous driving, a fatal road traffic accident could occur.
  • In a public place. Those in control of public spaces have a duty of care according to the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. They need to ensure that the space is appropriate for use.
  • When seeking medical care. You can receive a minimum standard of care when you seek medical attention. If this standard is deviated from and you’re harmed as a result, you could make a medical negligence claim. This could cover different areas of medicine such as GP negligence, surgical negligence and negligence in a pharmacy.

What Is The Significance Of The Fatal Accidents Act 1976?

The FAA is a piece of legislation that allows certain qualifying relatives to receive compensation if their loved one has passed away as a result of negligence.

When you make a fatal accident claim, there are several different heads of loss. These are:

  • Compensation for the suffering of the deceased
  • Funeral costs (if these have not already been claimed under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934); this can include the cost of a memorial and of a headstone, for example
  • Bereavement award; and
  • Loss of income or services dependency

Throughout this guide, we will look at the bereavement award and loss of dependency payments in closer detail, including what they can cover and who can be eligible to receive them.

If you have any more questions about claiming compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act, speak with an advisor today.

Who Could Make A Dependency Claim?

Not everyone is eligible to claim compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act. Only certain relatives can make this kind of claim. They must be considered a dependent according to the Act.

The FAA defines a dependant as:

  • The spouse or former spouse of the person who died
  • Anyone who was living with the deceased immediately before their death, and who had been living with them in the same household for at least 2 years prior as spouses
  • A parent or other ascendant of the deceased
  • Anyone who was treated as a parent by the deceased
  • The child or descendant of the deceased
  • Anyone who was treated as a child by the deceased in relation to marriage at any time (for example, a step-child of the deceased from a previous marriage who the deceased considered their child)
  • A brother, sister, aunt or uncle of the deceased, or the issue of any of these relatives.

If you are unsure whether you are eligible to claim under this law, you can call and speak to our personal injury claim advisors. Explain your situation to them, and they will let you know if you are eligible to claim compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act.

Time Limits For Claiming Compensation Under The Fatal Accident Act?

If you intend to try and claim compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act, you must do so within the applicable time limit. There is a general claims time limit in the UK of three years. You must start your claim within this time limit. It will not matter how long your claim takes to reach a resolution once started.

In the case of fatal accidents, the three-year time limit runs from the date of death, or from the date that the death was connected with negligence. The latter may be the date of a post mortem or inquiry.

However, there may be other exceptions and external factors that can have an impact on this time limit. Get in touch with our team today to see if you’re within the time limit for claiming.

What Is The Effect Of The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act?

The FAA is one of the pieces of legislation that allows certain family members of the deceased to make a claim on their behalf. There is another piece of legislation called the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 (LRMPA) that outlines the eligibility for the deceased’s estate to make a claim on their behalf.

A claim can only be made by relatives under the FAA if a claim is not launched under the LRMPA within the first six months of the deceased’s passing. However, the estate of the deceased can make a claim under both of these pieces of legislation for the estate and any qualifying relatives.

If you believe that you may be in a position to make a compensation claim on behalf of the deceased estate, we may be able to help you with this. Please call and explain your needs to our advisors, and they will help you from there.

Fatal Road Traffic Accident Statistics

As part of this fatal accident claims guide, we want to show you how prevalent fatal accidents are. However, we don’t have data related to all fatal accidents in the UK. However, we do have information on how many fatal road traffic accidents there were in Great Britain for the year ending June 2021, based on statistics from the Department of Transport.

This year, the DoT reported 1,390 road deaths, a decrease of 11% from the previous year.

Overall, there were 119,850 casualties of all severities on the road. This was also a reduction from the previous year; there was a 9% fall.

It’s important to note that these statistics relate to accidents overall and not ones caused by negligence. For this reason, we cannot say how many of them could form the grounds of a claim for compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act.

Calculating Compensation For A Fatal Accident

When you make a claim for the death of a loved one via negligence, the compensation will include compensation to cover the pain and suffering of the deceased.

This head of the claim is worked out with the help of guidelines provided by the Judicial College. The legal system uses these in court to place a value on claims. They’re based on previous compensation awards.

Below, we have included some figures from these guidelines that are relevant to these kinds of claims:

InjuryGuideline BracketMore Info
Death- Full awareness£11,770 to £22,350Full awareness for a short period and then consciousness will fluctuate fir four to five weeks before death within two weeks to six months
Death- Followed by unconsciousness£9,870 to £10,010Excruciating pain and unconsciousness within 3 hours. Death will occur within 2 weeks
Tetraplegia£304,630 to £379,100The settlement within this bracket will depend on considerations like the level of awareness and life expectancy
Paraplegia£205,580 to £266,740Age and life expectancy will be considered when valuing settlements in this bracket
Very severe brain damage£264,650 to £379,100The injured person will require full time care and will have little or no meaningful interaction with their environment
Moderately severe brain damage£205,580 to £264,650The injured person will be very seriously disabled and their life expectancy may be lowered
Mental anguish£4,380Where the injured person fears that they will die or that their life expectancy will be reduced
Death including add on claimsUp to £550,000 and overThe pain and suffering of the deceased as well as any losses that dependents incur, such as lost income, may be included.

If you would like an assessment of how much compensation under the Fatal Accident Act you could receive, speak with one of our advisors. They will be happy to offer you free legal advice and value your claim. If appropriate, they could also provide you with one of our solicitors to work on your claim.

What Is The Current Bereavement Award?

Section 1A of the FAA allows the payment of an amount of £15,120 to eligible dependents of a deceased party. This is a bereavement award.

This award compensates the qualifying relative for their bereavement after the loss of a loved one. Only certain relatives can receive this, and they are:

  • The spouse of the deceased
  • The cohabiting partner of the deceased, where they lived together as spouses for at least 2 years before the death
  • If the deceased was an unmarried minor, their parents (if legitimate) or mother (if illegitimate)

It’s important to note that if more than one relative applies for this payment, then each of them doesn’t receive the payment. Instead, the amount divides appropriately.

Can I Claim Any Other Types Of Compensation?

There are other kinds of damages to include when you claim compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act. As we have already mentioned, you could possibly claim funeral expenses.

You could also claim back something called a “loss of services” payment. This can cover the value of any services that the deceased would have performed if they were still alive, for example, taking children to and from sports activities or performing DIY around the house.

Someone who was financially dependent on the deceased might also be able to claim a dependency payment. This compensation will take into consideration the loss of earnings of the deceased, as well as savings, alternative incomes and pension.

If you want to find out what types of damages might be applicable in your own case, then please call and talk to an advisor. If you explain your circumstances, once they know a little about your claim they can help.

No Win No Fee Fatal Accident Compensation Claims

If you want to try and claim compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act, you may wish to use a solicitor. However, you might worry about the costs that you can incur as a result.

If this is the case, you might be able to fund legal representation under a No Win No Fee agreement. If your lawyer is working under a No Win No Fee agreement, you will not need to pay them anything upfront or as they work on your claim.

Additionally, no matter how long it takes to resolve the claim, you don’t have to pay them any ongoing fees. If your claim is not a success, your lawyer will not ask you to pay them any fee at all.

Should the claim be successful, your lawyer will deduct a success fee from your compensation. Furthermore, the amount for this fee has a legal limit. And you would agree upon the amount with your solicitor when the claim begins.

For additional information about how a No Win No Fee agreement works, please call and discuss this with our advisors.

Why Choose Us To Help You Claim Compensation Under The Fatal Accidents Act 1976?

If you want to claim compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act, we may be able to help you. So, our solicitors have years of experience in helping claimants.

Our team of advisors are on hand to take your query and answer any questions you have about the process of claiming. They can also speak with you about the circumstances surrounding your claim and tell you whether your case is valid.

If it is, and you’d like to proceed, we’ll connect you to a No Win No Fee solicitor. We understand that this is a distressing time. So, they will handle your claim sensitively at each stage.

Get in touch with us for more information using the contact details below.

Start Your Claim

You can use the contact details below to get in touch with our team of advisors today:

  • Call us on the number at the top of the page
  • Send us a message using our contact form
  • Use the live chat at the bottom of this screen

Related Fatal Accident Claims Guides

Here are some links to other websites that have some useful information for you.

Brake has provided UK road fatal accident statistics.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provide statistics on work-related fatal injuries In Great Britain.

A government guide on applying for probate.

Check out more of our guides below:

FAQs About Fatal Accident Claims

Here are some simple answers to commonly asked questions about fatal injury claims.

Can you claim compensation for accidental death?

You may be able to claim compensation for an accidental death because of the negligence of someone who owed the deceased a duty of care.

What can you claim under the Fatal Accidents Act?

Under the FAA, you can claim compensation for the pain and suffering of the deceased, a bereavement award and dependency payment, among other things.

For more information on claiming compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, get in touch with our team today.

Guide by MW

Edited by FS