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£1.2m secured for family of a motorcyclist involved in a fatal road traffic collision

Lawyer Profile

Mary Kay photo

Mary Kay

Complex Injury Litigator

Type: Fatal Accident
Final Settlement: £1,200,000

Background to the case and accident circumstances

In May 2008 Spencers Solicitors were instructed to act on behalf of a client who had lost her husband in a fatal road traffic collision whilst riding a motorbike.

The circumstances of the collision were that our client's husband was riding his motorcycle on an A road when he was involved in a collision with a van being driven by the Defendant.

The Defendant had pulled out of a side road directly into his path. While our client's husband reacted quickly to the emerging vehicle, applying the brakes which caused the motorcycle to skid, he ultimately collided with the defendant's vehicle and was killed instantly.

Our client instructed us to bring a civil claim on behalf of her and her three children as dependants of her late husband as well as a claim on behalf of the estate of the deceased. The grounds for the claim were that the Defendant had been negligent in pulling out of the side road.

Inquest and Criminal Proceedings

An inquest was held in November 2008 which we attended with our client. The judge recorded a verdict of accident death. Criminal proceedings were brought against the Defendant who subsequently pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention and was given a one year driving ban and a fine of £500.

Despite pleading guilty in the criminal proceedings; the Defendant's insurers disputed that the Defendant was at fault for the collision. They alleged that our client's husband had been speeding and that his speed had caused or contributed to the collision.

Establishing Liability

Our complex injury team carried out extensive liability investigations and obtained accident reconstruction evidence from an expert. The expert evidence established that our client's husband had been travelling within the speed limit and that the collision had been caused by the Defendant cutting the corner of the junction.

Give Way Road Sign

Court proceedings were then issued on completion of our investigations. The Defendant filed a defence admitting primary liability (fault) but maintaining that our client's husband had contributed to the collision by reason of his speed.

Following further negotiations carried out by our legal team; the Defendant admitted liability for the collision in full in April 2012.

Valuing the claim

Our client and her late husband owned a business together, and to support the claim Spencers Solicitors obtained expert forensic accounting evidence. This ensured that all potential future loss of earnings were adequately compensated in the final settlement.

Following negotiations and a roundtable meeting our client accepted an out of court settlement in the sum of £1.2m.

Breakdown of the compensation

  • Damages under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934
    • £9,500 - this amount included sums in respect of the funeral costs, the value of the motorcycle; personal items of our client's late husband and probate fees resulting from his death.

  • Damages under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976
    • Personal claim of our client: £1,151,000 - this included a bereavement claim award in the sum of £11,800
    • Personal claims on behalf of our client's three children: £39,000

The sum recovered on behalf of our client's youngest child was approved by the court and invested in their Special Account until she reached the age of 18.

Definitions and Legal Terminology

Fatal Accidents Act 1976
An Act of Parliament that allows relatives of people killed as a result of wrongdoing by others to recover damages.

Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934
An Act of Parliament that provides for the estate of a deceased party to bring an action.

Bereavement claim
A statutory award to recognise the grief and loss suffered by a certain class of dependant. As of April 2013, the amount of the award increased to £12,800.

Our role

At Spencers Solicitors we understand that making a fatal accident claim can be emotionally challenging.

Our specialist team can provide you with expert advice to help you overcome any difficulties you face resulting from the loss of a spouse, partner or other family member.

Contact our specialist team today by calling 08000 93 00 94 or if you prefer, complete our short online enquiry form for no obligation advice.

If you wish to view more information, please visit our Fatal Accidents Claims page.


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