Losing a loved one in a fatal accident is an utterly devastating event that can come suddenly and without warning. There are likely to be many unanswered questions about how the death occurred and it can be difficult to know where to turn or what to do next.
This is where we can help you. Our Personal Injury Solicitors are here to provide legal advice and support following a fatal accident. We can talk you through the Fatal Accident Claims process, conduct a free assessment of your claim and help you to take that first step.
For free legal advice call our Fatal Accident Solicitors on 0330 606 9587 or contact us online and we will help you.
Fatal Accident Claim Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is a Fatal Accident Claim?
- Who Can Make a Fatal Accident Claim?
- How Much Compensation is a Fatal Accident Claim Worth?
- Time Limit for Fatal Accident Claims
- Will the Coroner Be Involved?
- What is a Fatal Medical Negligence Claim?
- How to Make a Fatal Accident Claim
At Co-op Legal Services most claims can be dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis.
What is a Fatal Accident Claim?
When someone dies from injuries caused by an accident, and that accident was caused by the actions or negligence of someone else, it may be possible for their loved ones to make a Fatal Accident Claim. A Fatal Accident Claim allows the family and/or dependents of the person who died to seek justice for their loss, to hold those responsible to account for their actions, and to claim compensation.
While it can never make up for the devastating loss of a loved one, the compensation received from a Fatal Accident Claim can help to alleviate the financial burden that this loss has placed on the family.
Fatal Accident Claims can apply in a number of situations, including accidents at work, road traffic accidents, accidents in a public place, slips, trips and falls, industrial disease and medical negligence.
A Fatal Accident Claim sets out to:
- determine who is responsible for the fatal accident/injury and hold them to account for their actions
- establish what measures are required to reduce the risk of a similar accident occurring again
- alleviate any financial pressures the deceased's family might suffer because of their loss, such as funeral costs and expenses
- compensate the family for the trauma that they've suffered, and minimise the financial impact of their loss as much as possible
Who Can Make a Fatal Accident Claim?
The Executors or Administrators of the deceased person's Estate can bring a Fatal Accident Claim on behalf of the deceased. The Executor or Administrator is the person responsible for dealing with the deceased's assets, property and money, and this includes any legal claims.
The Executor or Administrator can bring a Fatal Accident Claim for:
- the pain and suffering the deceased may have suffered before their death
- expenses incurred by the Estate, such as the funeral costs and related expenses
- any of the deceased's property that was damaged in the accident
- if there was a protracted period after the accident, a claim can be made for losses suffered by the deceased before they died, such as a loss of income
In addition, there are certain other individuals who are entitled to make a claim for loss of services or financial dependency.
These individuals include:
- the deceased's current or former spouse or civil partner
- the deceased's cohabiting partner (providing they'd been living together for at least 2 years)
- the deceased's parent or grandparent, or someone they treated as a parent
- the deceased's child, stepchild or other descendant
- the deceased's brother, sister, aunt or uncle (or their children)
Any claims by either the Executors / Administrators or the deceased's relatives should all be made at the same time.
For more information, see Who Can Claim Compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act?
For free legal advice call our Fatal Accident Solicitors on 0330 606 9587 or contact us online and we will call you.
How Much Compensation is a Fatal Accident Claim Worth?
The value of a Fatal Accident Claim will be dependent on the individual circumstances of the claim, and can vary dramatically as a result. There are a number of factors that need to be considered when calculating compensation in a Fatal Accident Claim.
If any family members were financially dependent on the deceased, or relied on them for certain services that they are now without, then this will be taken into account. Examples could include childcare, DIY, gardening, shopping or dog walking.
A claim can also be brought for less tangible benefits lost as a result of the death, like the loss of companionship.
Expenses, such as the cost of the funeral, can also be included in the Fatal Accident Claim.
In addition, the spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner of the deceased may also be entitled to claim for a Bereavement Award. Previously this award was only available to the deceased's spouse or civil partner, but recently the Court of Appeal ruled that cohabiting partners should also be entitled to claim Bereavement Awards. This ruling was on the basis that failing to entitle cohabiting partners to this award this was is in breach of their Human Rights. The parents of a child who dies while under the age of 18 may also be entitled to claim the Bereavement Award. The Bereavement Award is a fixed payment, currently set at just £12,980.
So, as you can see, there's a lot that needs to be considered when calculating the value of compensation. When you make a Fatal Accident Claim, your Serious Injury Solicitor will calculate the right and fair amount of compensation on your behalf, taking all these factors into account. They will also carry out all negotiations with the other side, and commence litigation if needed.
While a Fatal Accident Claim is ongoing, it is often possible to secure interim payments to help cover funeral costs and related expenses, which can help to alleviate immediate financial stress on the family.
Time Limit for Fatal Accident Claims
In the UK here is a strict time limit for making a Fatal Accident Claim. This deadline is three years from the date of death.
The deadline for making a claim is called 'statutory limitation' and legal proceedings in Court must be started before this deadline is reached. If the deadline is missed then it will not be possible to make a Fatal Accident Claim (except in exceptional circumstances).
Will the Coroner Be Involved?
When someone has died as a result of a fatal accident, their death will be referred to the Coroner. We understand that it can be unnerving when the Coroner becomes involved, but it's actually more common than you might think. In the UK, currently around 45% of all deaths are reported to the Coroner.
As long as you understand the process and what you need to do, then there's really no reason to be concerned.
The role of the Coroner is to establish the facts of the death. This includes who has died, when and where they died, and how they died. The Coroner's role is not to apportion blame for the death.
To establish the facts of the death, the Coroner may decide to conduct a post-mortem. In some cases a Coroner's Inquest Hearing will also need to be held before the Coroner can reach their conclusion. The purpose of the Inquest Hearing is to hear evidence and give the family (and other interested parties) the opportunity to ask questions.
If you need support, guidance or representation during the Coroner and Inquest process, our Coroner and Inquest Solicitors are on hand to help you. We can provide you with comprehensive advice and guidance, as well as providing you with representation at the hearing itself.
For Coroner & inquest advice call our No Win No Fee Solicitors on 0330 606 9587 or contact us online and we will call you.
What is a Fatal Medical Negligence Claim?
In some cases, medical negligence can be a contributing factor to the death. If negligent or poor medical treatment may have been a contributing factor, the first step is to report the matter to the Coroner. The Coroner will review the circumstances and decide whether the Coronor's Court should open an inquest. Once the inquest is opened the Coroner will investigate the full circumstances surrounding the death of the patient.
The Coroner has a range of verdicts but if they believe that medical negligence did occur, a claim can then be made against the hospital for compensation. A claim for financial losses can also be made if the family were dependent too.
No Win No Fee Fatal Accident Claims
When researching Personal Injury and Medical Negligence Solicitors, it's important to establish the fees that they will charge along with how and when you will be required to pay these. Some Solicitors may bill throughout the claim, while others will not request payment until the claim has been settled. While fees should not be the only factor taken into account, it is an important consideration to bear in mind.
We understand that uncertainty around costs can often be a barrier for people when seeking legal services. This is why we offer complete transparency around our fees, and with our no win no fee service, there are no upfront costs to pay.
We may also recommend you take out After the Event Insurance, to protect your financial position from the other side's costs or your own legal expenses. We will of course discuss the appropriate options that are available to you.
With a no win no fee agreement, if your claim is unsuccessful, then there will be no fee to pay. It's as simple as that.
If your claim is successful, then we will deduct our success fee from the final settlement of compensation once this has been received from the other side. We will already have agreed the fee rate with you before beginning work on your claim, so there will be no unexpected surprises.
How to Make a Fatal Accident Claim
We understand that following the loss of a loved one, making a Fatal Accident Claim may not be the first thing on your mind. When you are ready to take that first step, we're here to guide and support you through every step of the way. Our Personal Injury Solicitors can help you to better understand the process, talk you through your options and explain what might be involved.
If you do choose to instruct us to take, your claim will be assigned to a dedicated Solicitor, experienced in Fatal Accident and Serious Injury Claims. Your Solicitor will support you through the process, from start to finish and act on your behalf. This includes gathering evidence to support your claim and negotiating with the other side to achieve a fair compensation settlement. If the other side denies responsibility for the accident, then your Solicitor will consider commencing Court proceedings.
Your Solicitor will take the time to fully understand the circumstances surrounding the claim and the impact that the death has had on loved ones. They will calculate the value of compensation based on a number of factors, including:
- Whether anyone was financially dependent on the deceased
- Whether anyone depended on the deceased for services (this could be anything from dog walking to DIY)
- The cost of the funeral
- Any intangible benefits that have been lost (such as companionship or love)
Your Solicitor will then negotiate with the other side and work hard to achieve a full and fair compensation settlement for you.
During Fatal Accident Claims we are often able to secure interim payments before the case has settled, to help ease the financial burden. We can also take on most Fatal Accident Claims on a no win no fee basis.
For free initial advice call our Fatal Accident Solicitors on 0330 606 9587 or contact us online and we will call you.