Guide to Fatal Accident Compensation Claims
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one following an accident, we extend our most sincere condolences. Losing a family member or loved one following an avoidable fatal accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence is a devastating experience.
Dealing with the aftermath of a fatal accident can be both a very emotional time, and frustrating. You may have a lengthy and difficult process ahead, as you try to collect evidence and navigate complex legal issues while dealing with grief. Having an expert team of serious injury solicitors by your side can really make the difference, and ensure you are relieved of all unnecessary stress.
We understand that following a fatal accident involving a loved one you may not be considering starting a Fatal Accident Claim. No amount of compensation can make up for the pain and suffering you and the deceased’s family have been put through. However, there are many situations in which making a claim for compensation after a fatal accident can be a good idea. Our solicitors are always available to discuss your case with a sensitive and empathetic approach.
What is a Fatal Accident?
A Fatal Accident is an accident that has caused the death of a person or multiple people through no fault of their own. These accidents can be complex, as the blame in a Fatal Accident cannot usually be entirely attributed to one, sole party.
Making a Fatal Accident Claim can be complicated, and requires the support of an expert team of solicitors. The lack of a sole accountable party does not equal a lower compensation amount, as one or more guilty parties still exist and should compensate you for your suffering and losses.
What is a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death happens when the death of a party can be entirely blamed on one negligent third party. This can include accidents on the workplace caused by faulty equipment or improper training, or cases of fatalities caused by medical negligence.
Cases of Wrongful Death Compensation Claims are usually more straightforward when condemning evidence of fault can be produced. Careful planning is crucial, and our team at Sheldon Davidsons Solicitors can help you achieve the best possible outcome for a Wrongful Death Claim.
Am I eligible for a Fatal Accident Claim?
When our solicitors assess your case, they will consider a number of factors to determine whether you’re eligible to make a Fatal Accident Claim. These will include:
- The duty of care the guilty part owed to your loved one
- The negligence of the guilty party
- The direct causation of the death because of the party’s negligence
The legislation that regulates Fatal Accident Claims is the Fatal Accident Act 1976. The Act outlines what constitutes a wrongful fatal accident that makes a party liable for damages. If you have suffered because of the death of the loved one that has been caused by wrongdoing, you are likely entitled to make a claim for compensation. Contact us today to find out what your next steps are.
Who can make a Fatal Accident Claim?
The criteria contained in the Fatal Accident Act 1976 defines who is allowed to make a Fatal Accident Claim on behalf of the deceased. This will usually be a close, direct relative of the deceased, but the legislation also describes different eligible persons who are considered “dependants”. These include:
- Husband, wife, civil partner or ex-spouse of the deceased
- Siblings, cousins, nieces or nephews, aunts or uncles
- Parents, grandparents, step-parents, or those treated as such by the deceased
- Children, step-children, or those treated as such by the deceased
- A person living with the deceased for at least 2 years before their death, sharing the household as a spouse or civil partner would
This is not an entirely exhaustive list, and you could be entitled to make a compensation claim for a fatal accident if you can show you were, in some respect, dependent on the victim of the fatal accident.
How much compensation can I get for my Fatal Accident Claim?
The amount of compensation you could be awarded for your Fatal Accident Claim is complicated to predict without having an expert consultation with a specialist. Factors such as the salary of the deceased, your relationship with them, and who was dependent on them financially or through other means are all going to be considered.
A dependant will likely be compensated for their suffering and the loss of income and services. Other expenses to be compensated for include funeral and probate costs.
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one because of an accident caused by negligent or criminal behaviour, our team is here to help. We can value your Fatal Accident Claim and support you through the legal process, to ensure you achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.
What can cause a fatal accident?
It is impossible to produce an exhaustive list of all circumstances which may cause a fatality. Most accidents that can cause moderate or serious injuries can unfortunately become fatal on occasions. Below is a list of some of the most common causes of fatal accidents in the UK.
Road Traffic Accidents
Road traffic accidents are, unfortunately, one of the most common causes of fatal accidents in the UK and globally. Fatalities caused by road accidents are the 8th most common cause of death worldwide, causing almost 1.5 million deaths annually.
In 2021, 1,608 people were killed in motoring accidents in the UK. This is a 15% increase on 2020, which brought a decrease in fatalities because of the nationwide lockdown. Fatal road accidents can be complex to navigate, but Fatal Accident Claims can be successful if you have lost a loved one in a traffic accident.
Accidents at Work
Work accidents can occasionally become fatal, with many professions involving the use of heavy machinery, high voltage equipment, unwieldy tools, high temperatures, toxic substances, and many more hazards.
123 workers have lost their lives in the workplace in 2021 according to the HSE. We all have a right to feel safe on the job, and accidents at work are largely avoidable. Lack of proper training and unsafe equipment are common causes of fatalities, and a clear indicator of an employer’s fault in the accident.
Deaths caused by medical negligence are not common, but often represent some of the most upsetting cases of wrongful deaths. Doctors and medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care, and failure to uphold this can have devastating consequences.
Errors which may have severe effects on patients include surgical errors, medication prescription errors, and misdiagnosis. With the current critical situation of the NHS, the number of mistakes committed by the overworked personnel are not projected to decrease in the next few years.
How do I start a Fatal Accident Claim?
If you have lost a loved one because of an accident that could be avoided, and was caused by another party’s negligent behaviour, you could be entitled to start a Fatal Accident Claim.
Your first step is to contact our expert team of serious injury solicitors at Sheldon Davidsons Solicitors. We can assess your situation, and determine:
- The circumstances of the accident
- Who you believe should be held accountable
- The place the accident took place in
- Your relationship with the deceased
- Whether you are subject to time limits
We will be able to inform you precisely and timely once we have heard from you. Our solicitors will be able to determine whether you are eligible to make a Fatal Accident Claim, what compensation you can expect, and what your next steps are. Get in touch with our team today to begin your Fatal Accident Claim.
No Win No Fee Fatal Accident Claims
Going through the loss of a loved one because of a fatal accident is an extremely upsetting experience, and you may be conscious of additional elements of stress added by the legal process of a Fatal Accident Claim. To best support our clients in these traumatic circumstances, Sheldon Davidson Solicitors offers No Win No Fee Fatal Accident Claims.
When you instruct one of our experts on a No Win No Fee basis, you don’t need to worry about the financial expenses of your claim. We will only support your claim if we believe we can be successful, based on our extensive track record in these types of claims.
Offering our legal advice in this manner is our way to guarantee support for you, and show our confidence when fighting for the best possible outcome for your Fatal Accident Claim.
How do I prove a fatal accident?
In the process of a Fatal Accident Claim, the collection of evidence is a vital part of proving the fault or negligence of the guilty party. The success of your claim will depend on whether or not we can prove the other party was at fault, so collecting as much evidence as possible is going to make the difference.
Some of the most common types of evidence you can use to support your Fatal Accident Claim and prove the other party was at fault include:
- Visual Evidence: this may include photographs, videos, CCTV footage and other types of digital media evidence. Hazards could also still be present at the scene, and you could inspect and document these.
- Statements from witnesses: Collecting contact information for people who have witnessed the accident, or have experienced the risks and hazards that have caused it, can be crucial.
- Medical Records: particularly important for cases of fatalities following medical negligence, these can also include records of existing medical conditions and post-mortems.
Keeping an up-to-date and precise record of events, injuries, and people involved will be crucial during your claim process. Our team of solicitors can help you collect and present the best kind of evidence for your fatal accident compensation claim, improving your chances of success.
What can be included in my Fatal Accident Claim?
Your Fatal Accident Claim can vary greatly in amounts, depending on the type of accident, the deceased life expectancy and income, and your association with them. Generally, we can divide the losses you can be compensated for in categories such as:
This part of the compensation amount is designed to compensate you for the pain, suffering, and loss of amenity you have suffered as a result of the death of your family member or loved one. General damages will compensate you for the accident and its direct consequences only.
The Fatal Accident Act 1976 outlines a part of the compensation you could be awarded in a Fatal Accident Claim if you were dependent on the deceased. This is calculated starting from their income salary, but will also include additional employment benefits they would have obtained. It can only be claimed by a spouse, civil or cohabiting partner, or parent.
Financial Losses & Support
You may incur costs as a result of the loss of a loved one. These can include medical expenses before the death, funeral expenses, loss of benefits, and financial damages because of the loss of earnings. This will be especially appreciated if the deceased was the main income earner for a family, and far from the expected age of retirement.
The government has introduced a statutory amount of bereavement damages which can be claimed separately from your Fatal Accident Claim. This amount has been increased in 2020, and currently sits at £15,120. It can only be claimed by a spouse, civil or cohabiting partner, or parent.
Punitive damages are paid by the guilty party as a form of punishment, and can be calculated depending on the gravity and type of accident that has occurred as a result of their negligence.
Do I have a time limit for Fatal Accident Claims?
Depending on your circumstances and when the accident has happened, you may be subject to time limits for your injury claim. In England and Wales, you will usually need to start your claim within 3 years from the date of death.
You could be able to start a Fatal Accident Claim later than 3 years in some occasions. For example, if you only find out the fatal injuries suffered by a loved one were caused by someone’s negligence some time after the accident, your 3 year limit will begin from the “date of discovery”.
There are other circumstances in which your time limit could be either extended or reduced. It’s always advisable to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible following a fatal accident involving the negligence of a third party.
Why choose us?
Established in Whitefield, Manchester in 1997, we are a leading specialist personal injury, accident and medical negligence law firm acting for claimants who are victims of non-fault incidents.
At Sheldon Davidson Solicitors we also help our clients obtain the rehabilitation care they need without financial outlay.
Our personal injury solicitors Manchester act for clients on Fatal Injury Claims across the Greater Manchester area including Ashton, Bury, Bolton, Radcliffe, Prestwich, Middleton, Failsworth, Rochdale, Oldham and Whitefield.
Our team of recognised Serious Injury Claims Solicitors can support your needs wherever you live in Wales, England & Northern Ireland. We serve clients across the UK.
We specialise in no win no fee personal injury claims, which means you won't need any financial investment unless your claim is successful.
Call us for free now using the number at the top of the page or complete the online contact form and a member of our team will get back to you.
Sheldon Davidson Solicitors are a Lexcel accredited law firm. The Lexcel standard is only awarded by the Law Society to firms who meet the highest standards of practice management and customer service. With Sheldon Davidson Solicitors in Whitefield, Manchester you can be confident that your claim is in safe hands.