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Fatal Accident Compensation Claims Explained

When someone dies in an accident, the very last thing that a loved one or family member wants to think about is starting a compensation claim if someone was at fault for the accident.

But sometimes this will follow such a terrible event and it is then for the Personal Injury Solicitors to handle the case sensitively, with the deep respect that a fatal accident case deserves; whilst they work to secure compensation for those left behind.

The first step in any fatal accident claim is to prove what Personal Injury Solicitors call “liability”; in other words that someone was at fault for the accident. For example, in a road traffic accident, an accident at work or medical negligence. If there is a dispute about liability then witness statements would need to be gathered and the issues set out and discussed between the different parties involved in the case.

However, assuming that liability can be established, then the other issue to look at is the types of loss which can be claimed for in a fatal accident legal action. Perhaps the best starting point there is the right of legal action or claim which can be brought on behalf of the deceased’s persons’ estate.

This is dealt with by The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. It includes any claim for the deceased’s pain, suffering and loss of amenity along with any expenses and possibly loss of earnings the deceased may have suffered before he or she was killed in the accident.

The other type of fatal accident compensation claim is on behalf of certain people who relied upon the person who was killed in one form or another. These people are called “dependants” and the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (as amended) allows for certain categories of people to be able to make a claim for compensation. These people include husbands, wives and civil partners and some people who might have been living with the deceased along with various other categories set out in detail in the Fatal Accidents Act.

In order to establish a claim the dependant needs to show not only that they were dependant on the deceased but also that the claim for compensation arose out of the dependency. A fatal accident claim can also be made for reasonable funeral expenses along with a sum for bereavement damages by a very limited category of people which is again set out in the Fatal Accidents Act.

There are quite complicated rules in assessing exactly how to calculate a dependency compensation claim, and great care needs to be taken in making sure that everything that needs to be is taken into account, whilst also making sure that those benefits and issues which should be excluded (such as a widow’s prospects of re-marriage) are left out.

Having secured compensation in hundreds of fatal accident compensation cases, Slater and Gordon’s team of Serious Injury Solicitors know that fatal accident cases are often highly emotional, and need to be managed sensitively, both with and for the people who are grieving.

Slater and Gordon offer a free consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer that specialises in fatal accident compensation cases. Even if you think the person who was killed could have been partly responsible for the accident; call us if only to put your mind at ease and we’ll be happy to help you.

Call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online. Our contact centre is open 24 hours 365 days a year.

Slater and Gordon are a leading personal injury law firm with 1,450 staff and offices in London, Cardiff, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Milton Keynes, Merseyside, Bristol, Newcastle, Halifax, Wakefield, Derby, Cambridge & meeting rooms in Hull & in Bramhall, Cheshire.