Fatal Accident Case Study

23 April 2018

Client Situation

Senior Personal Injury Solicitor James Wormell recently concluded a claim in which, following a head on collision between two cars, all four people involved in the accident were instantly killed.

A tragic event like this is highly traumatic for the family of those that died. In this case, two of the deceased were dearly-loved grandparents, who had until then been enjoying their retirement together.

How We Helped

These two individuals were in no way at fault for the accident, and accordingly we brought a fatal accident claim on behalf of their Estate and their family or ‘dependants’.

Once liability (fault) for the accident was successfully agreed with the Defendant insurer, the matter of assessing the financial impact of the accident on the relatives and the deceased’s Estate still remained.

The couple that had been killed were very closely involved in the lives of their children and grandchildren, giving generously of their time and of themselves, as well as providing various forms of financial support to their family. For example, they would often give presents, pay for family treats, and contribute to the costs of shared holidays. 

Once they had passed away, their families felt their loss both emotionally as one would expect, but also in terms of the practical support and assistance they had provided whilst they were alive.

It was possible to bring a claim for ‘Service Dependency’ based on the childcare, dog walking, gardening, house sitting and other services that the grandparents naturally and voluntarily provided. They had also intended to help their grandchildren financially whilst at university, so future contributions in this way were accounted for too.

The Outcome

These losses were added to more standard claims for funeral expenses and damaged or lost property caused by the accident, such that although no compensation would ever replace the loss of two dearly loved grandparents, a compensation award was recovered on behalf of the children and grandchildren of the grandparents as well as on behalf of the Estate.

It is important to note that a fatal accident claim will not result in the award of damages for bereavement under the current law. As unjust as this may seem when considering the emotional impact of the loss of a loved one in this way, a final award in the amount of £57,500 was at least able to demonstrate some recognition through compensation of such a sudden, tragic and untimely loss.

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