Fatal Accident Compensation
Fatal accident claims are emotionally difficult for the family and friends that are left behind to contemplate making. We understand how difficult making a fatal accident compensation claim can be and we are ready to help take you through the process.
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However, making a fatal accident compensation claim can be essential to ensure financial stability, moving forwards, for dependents.
Left bearing the grief of a tragic event, some people feel uneasy about or reluctant to consider making a compensation claim and we understand that. But we can assure you that making a claim following a fatal accident is appropriate and indeed, important. With the right firm of solicitors at your side, the process of making a claim can be made much less stressful and upsetting.
Fatal accident compensation can help to reduce the financial strain that results from the loss of a spouse or partner who contributed to the household bills or was the main or only breadwinner in the family, giving you one less thing to worry about while you adjust to your situation.
Who can make a Fatal Accident Claim?
There are restrictions on who can make a fatal accident compensation claim on behalf of the deceased. Generally a fatal accident claim can be made by close family members who were in some way dependant on the deceased prior to and at the time of death.
The law is specific about eligible relationships. Broadly, this will include:
- A spouse or civil partner (including those situations where the marriage or partnership has been annulled or dissolved)
- A person that had been living with the deceased
- Children and stepchildren
- Parents and siblings of the deceased
In some cases, where the deceased would have been entitled to make a claim themselves at the time of death, an accident claim can be made
Fatal Accident claims aren't just about money
Often the most important aspect of fatal accident claims is getting to the truth, finding out what happened and why. There's a sense that justice needs to be done, and as a leading firm of personal injury solicitors we understand that for many bereaved people, this aspect of making a claim following the death of a loved one, can bring some form of closure for them too.
In fatal accident claims we're not sure it's ever possible to obtain true justice, but we'll work hard to bring you as close to that as you can get. If it's appropriate we can help you take legal action against the person responsible for the accident and represent you or your family at an inquest where the cause of death may be investigated.
Time Limits for Fatal Accident Claims
In fatal injury cases the dependant (next of kin etc.) has three years from the date of death to make a compensation claim. An exception to this may be where the death was linked to a previous unknown incident.
For example in cases of industrial disease such as Mesothelioma, it may not have been known that a person had died due to their previous asbestos exposure until the post mortem was carried out. In this scenario the three year limitation period (time limit) may start from the date of the post mortem.
Compensation after Death
If the deceased was the main breadwinner for the family the impact of their loss will be significant, but even if they were not the primary income provider for the household there may still be serious financial consequences, as a result of their death.
When dealing with fatal cases the courts look very closely at what the financial impact will be and award fatal accident compensation that is balanced against the financial consequences of your loss. A compensation claim may therefore include elements such as:
- Compensation for the injuries of the person who has died
- Statutory Bereavement Award (currently a fixed sum of £11,800)
- Future loss of earnings
- Future pension and state benefits
- Compensation to take into account their previous financial contribution to the household
- Funeral expenses
- Probate costs (expenses involved with dealing with the estate, Will etc.)
A Fatal Accident at Work
Following a fatality in the workplace, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will usually conduct a full investigation into the circumstances of the accident. This can take some time. However, it will result in a comprehensive report being made into the accident and give an indication of who may have been responsible for causing the death and how they were negligent.
The HSE investigation may be used as evidence at a full inquest, to start a criminal prosecution, or to support a civil compensation claim by the dependants.
A Fatal Road Accident
The police will start an investigation following the death of a road user or pedestrian which will take several weeks or even months to conclude, as evidence and statements will be collected from all relevant parties.
A police liaison officer will usually be assigned to the investigation and they will keep the family informed of their progress. If the incident leads to criminal charges being brought against a party (i.e. if they intended to formally charge the other party with dangerous driving etc.), the family of the deceased will be the first to know.
If it is believed that the fatal accident was caused by the negligence of another motorist, then a civil compensation claim may be possible.
Our Experience with Fatal Accident Claims
Spencers have secured millions of pounds worth of compensation on behalf of the dependants and relatives of those killed in fatal accidents, including a settlement of a total of £1.2 million in compensation for a client who had lost her husband in a fatal road traffic collision whilst riding a motorcycle.
In that case, our client instructed Spencers on the grounds that the Defendant had been negligent when pulling out of a side road. Following extensive liability investigations, our complex legal team were able to ensure liability was admitted by the driver at fault and that all potential future loss of earnings would be sufficiently covered.
A court will consider many things in relation to a fatal accident claim and we understand the factors they take into account and how they will make their calculations for deciding upon the amount of fatal accident compensation.
We make it our priority to explore all of the possibilities, and to include everything that dependants are entitled to claim for.
Sensitive and Professional Advice
You will find us supportive and unobtrusive as we work to secure the fatal accident compensation and reparation that you and your family need.
We'll give you any immediate advice we can, tell you about our no win no fee arrangements and suggest a way forward. If you are unsure as to whether you can make a fatal accident claim, or you would like to know if your relationship to the deceased entitles you to make a claim, please contact us.
We'll help establish whether the accident circumstances allow you to make a successful fatal accident claim and we'll answer any questions you have about the process.
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Why Choose Spencers Solicitors?
At Spencers Solicitors, we are fearlessly committed to our clients and ensuring that their best interests are central to everything we do.
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