Fatal Accident Claims

Fatal Accident Lawyers

Our Fatal Accident Lawyers have been supporting bereaved families for over five decades. If you have lost a loved one in a fatal accident, we can help you seek the justice and claims the compensation you deserve.

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  • “This is an excellent PI team, who are highly respected in the PI sector. Their team includes bright, hard-working solicitors dedicated to achieving successful outcomes for their clients”

  • “Osbornes is a well-regarded personal injury practice well equipped to advise on high-value and high-profile claims.”


Claiming Compensation for a Fatal Accident

No amount of money can ever make up for the sudden loss of a loved one. But when you’re facing the unthinkable, fatal accident compensation can provide essential financial support in these difficult times. Holding those responsible to account can also bring a sense of closure and justice to grieving families.

At Osbornes Law, we have a compassionate team of expert fatal injury lawyers who specialise in helping those who were financially dependent on the deceased. With our help, you can be confident of making ends meet after the death of your loved one and get access to compensation as soon as possible.

We understand that you are in an emotionally distressing situation. We go beyond legal advice to support your family through your changing circumstances.

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Specialist Fatal Accident Lawyers

Fatal accident compensation claims can be complicated, so it’s important to have an experienced and knowledgeable team on your side.

For over 50 years, our serious injury claims team has been helping relatives make fatal accident claims, in situations just like yours. Our expertise stands out for several reasons:

  • We only ever act for the relatives and dependants following a fatal accident, not those who caused the death of a loved one.
  • We have an extensive track record of winning high-value fatal accident claims.
  • We are a proud partner of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and support their campaign to lobby for higher statutory bereavement support payments following a fatal accident, as we believe reform of this system is overdue.
  • We are authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, so you can rest assured that we adhere to a strict code of professional conduct.
  • We are consistently top rated by independent legal directories for our reputation as specialists in the field of fatal accident claims.
  • We seek interim payments for grieving families, bringing financial security to the family as soon as possible.
  • No win, no fee funding options mean that you won’t have to pay anything in the unlikely event your claim is unsuccessful.

How do fatal accident claims work?

We know that money cannot replace the loss of a loved one. However, we can help ensure that you are not worse off financially by getting you the compensation you deserve.

What is the process for making a fatal accident claim?

While the exact process depends on the type of claim, you can expect the following steps:

  1. A free consultation or home visit

The first step towards making a fatal accident claim is to get in touch with us. Your first consultation is free. We use this time to listen to your story, understand what type of support you need from us, and decide which is the best route for you to pursue compensation.

You are under no obligation to make a fatal accident claim with us. Should you choose to do so, we will guide you step-by-step through the claims process in plain English.

2. Holistic support

While building your legal claim, we’re here to support you beyond legal advice. We can arrange bereavement counselling, financial guidance, or connect you to the many excellent charities we partner with.

3. Interim payments

If the person or organisation responsible for the accident accepts liability, we can apply for early payments to help you cover urgent costs, instead of waiting until the end of your case.

4. Negotiating your compensation

We work hard to negotiate a fair settlement for you. Most claims resolve without going to court, but we’re ready to represent you in trial if needed.

How much compensation can I receive for a fatal claim?

Fatal accident compensation can be confusing because there are various statutory awards and compensation claims that can be made. Some of the main types of compensation are listed below. Our lawyers will take into account your exact circumstances to ensure you receive the amount of compensation you are eligible for.

Bereavement support payment

Bereavement support payment is a fixed sum of £15,120. The payment is only available to the spouse or civil partner of the deceased, as well as parents if their child aged under 18 died. The sum is split equally between multiple claimants.

You do not get this payment automatically and it must be claimed for. Many relatives use a lawyer to claim bereavement damages on their behalf.

Dependency compensation

Dependency compensation is usually the largest part of a fatal accident claim. The aim is to give the dependants enough money that they will enjoy roughly the same standard of living as they would have enjoyed if the deceased had not died.

While there is no exact science for calculating the compensation amount, your solicitor and the court will apply the following tests:

  1. Add up the income of the deceased, or the income they would have had if they had survived. All income sources are taken into account including salary, bonuses, share schemes, investments and pension. The court will deduct a percentage (e.g. 30%) that the deceased would have spent on themselves. What’s left is the net loss to the family.
  2. Multiply the above figure by a “multiplier.” This figure is based on various factors including the deceased’s age at death, expected retirement age, life expectancy and how long the claimant would have been financially dependent on the deceased. For example, if a dependant child will attend university they may have been financially dependent until age 25.
  3. Adjust up or down based on the family’s circumstances. For example, if the children are very young when their parent dies, the court may include the value of services that the deceased would have provided which now need to be paid for, such as childcare, food shopping or car maintenance.

These calculations are complex, and every detail of your personal circumstances can significantly impact the final sum. Working with a specialist fatal accidents solicitor can increase your chances of securing a sum that reflects your full situation and needs.

Funeral costs and financial losses

If your loved one did not pass away instantly following the accident, the estate can make a claim for the pain and suffering they had to experience before they died.

The estate can also claim for the financial expenses they suffered between the injury and death such as travel expenses, damage to their vehicle and lost wages.

Compensation paid under this category will form part of the deceased’s estate. This means that it will be distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with the deceased’s will or the rules of intestacy if there is no will.

Funeral costs

Funeral expenses can impose a significant financial burden on the family as the cost of a burial plot, gravestone, flowers and a wake can soon add up.

Many families pay these costs up front and then reclaim the money as part of a fatal accident claim.If the person responsible for the death of your loved one admits responsibility, then we can request that they pay you some of the compensation early to help you meet these costs.

How long do I have to file a fatal accident claim?

The usual time limit for making a fatal accident claim is three years from the date of death. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as:

  • If the deceased was under 18 at the time of their death, the three-year period may start from their 18th birthday.
  • If you were not aware that your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may have three years from the date you found out that their death was not a result of natural causes. This is often relevant in industrial diseases claims, where it may be some time before you connect your loved one’s death by COPD, for example, with the conditions of their employment.

It is important to speak to a specialist fatal accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you do not miss any deadlines.

What’s the Law Relating Fatal Accident Claims?

Fatal accident claims differ from other types of personal injury claims because there are two separate routes to compensation:

  • Claims brought by the dependants of the deceased under the Fatal Accident Act 1976.
  • Claims made by deceased’s estate under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934.

Often, these groups of claimants are the same people. For example, it is common for the executors and beneficiaries of a deceased’s estate to also be the spouse or children of the deceased.

Most fatal injury claims are made under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. However, you do not have to select one route or the other. In many cases, it will be possible to pursue both avenues to compensation at the same time.

The Fatal Accident Act 1976

Following a fatal accident, the dependents of the deceased can make a claim for compensation. The amount is not for the death of the deceased person themself, but for the financial losses of those who were financially dependent on them. Dependants can include:

  • Husband or wife of the deceased.
  • Former husband/wife of the deceased.
  • Civil partner/ former civil partner to be of the deceased.
  • Cohabiting partner living with the deceased for more than two years.
  • Child, grandchild or step-child/grandchild of the deceased.
  • Person who was treated as a child of the deceased’s marriage, even if they were not biologically related.
  • Parent or grandparent of the deceased.
  • Sibling, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece or cousin of the deceased.

Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934

Fatal accident claims made under Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 are often called victim claims, as you will be claiming compensation on behalf of the person who died. It is an amount which, if your loved one had survived their injuries, they would have been able to claim in their own right.

Suppose, for example, that your loved one did not die straight away in the accident. You may be able to claim for lost wages and medical expenses between the time of their injury and their death.

Claims by the estate are determined in the same way as other types of personal injury claims. This means the estate must prove that:

  • The accident was caused by someone else’s negligence
  • The accident caused the injury the deceased died from, and
  • The deceased would have been able to make a personal injury claim if they had survived.

What happens at an inquest?

Whenever there is a sudden, violent or unexplained death, the incident is reported to the coroner. The coroner is a doctor or a lawyer who is appointed by the local authority to investigate the cause of death.

The inquest is a fact-finding inquiry into how the person died. The coroner will look at all the evidence, which might include medical reports, post-mortem reports, police reports and witness testimony. Based on this information, the coroner will return a verdict such as death by natural causes, accidental death or industrial disease.

The inquest does not seek to blame anyone for the death and it does not award personal injury compensation. However, the coroner may criticise a person or organisation if they believe it is necessary. The verdict can often help with proving liability in a fatal accident claim.

The important thing to know about inquests is that family members are permitted to attend and ask questions of the witnesses. Most families prefer to have their legal team attend the inquest as the evidence can be upsetting.

Our fatal accidents lawyers are happy to attend inquests on your behalf and raise any questions that may later assist in a fatal accident compensation claim. While it is not essential for us to attend inquests, it is very useful to do so as they allow an early insight into the possible strengths and weaknesses of your case.

What types of fatal accident claim can you help with?

Fatal accidents are sadly very common. By the latest data from the Department of TransportHealth & Safety ExecutiveBritish Safety Council and Office of National Statistics, each year there are an estimated:

Mistakes made by doctors also cause a significant number of deaths each year. While there is no official data on the number of medical negligence fatalities, some reports warn that mistakes may contribute to 22,000 deaths a year. Medication errors alone may be responsible for about 1,700 deaths annually.

Some fatal accidents are just that: tragic accidents where no one is to blame. However, where negligence is involved, you may be eligible for compensation.

Do I need a fatal injury solicitor near me?

No, we make claims for clients from all over the UK. Take a look at our client stories to get a better feel for fatal injury claims we handle. If you aren’t sure whether we can help then, please, just give us a call on 020 7485 8811 or fill in the contact form below.

Questions about Fatal Accident Claims

Who can make a fatal accident claim?

Husbands, wives and children who have lost their spouse/parent in an accident that was someone else’s fault may be able to claim fatal accident compensation. Other relatives, including ex-partners and non-biological dependants may also be able to claim if they were financially dependent on the deceased.

We can provide free legal advice and let you know if you have a case – contact us.

What types of accidents can be claimed for?

Any accident that results in a fatality and was caused by someone else’s negligence can potentially be claimed for. This includes:

It is important to seek legal advice to determine if you have a valid claim for fatal accident compensation. Our team of experienced solicitors can quickly assess your situation and advise if you have a claim.

Is there a time limit to claim for a fatal accident?

You usually have three years from the date of death to make a claim.

The months following the passing of a loved one can be a busy and emotionally draining time. However, we recommend that you contact us as soon as you can so that we can begin working on your case before the deadline.

What factors affect compensation amounts?

Financial dependency claims try to make sure that you are not in a worse financial position than when your loved one was still alive. As such, compensation amounts can vary greatly depending on individual circumstances including:

  • Age of the deceased
  • Their job, salary and wealth
  • Average life expectancy (including any existing medical conditions)
  • Projected retirement age
  • Age of children

Our solicitors will work closely with you to understand your unique situation and fight for the maximum compensation amount on your behalf.

How are funeral expenses handled?

The average basic funeral in the United Kingdom is estimated to cost around £4,000 and costs can easily rise to £10,000 when a headstone, flowers, memorials and catering for the wake are included. In the vast majority of cases, you will be able to reclaim these expenses from the party responsible for the death of your loved one.

Funeral costs are normally included as part of a wider claim, rather than being launched independently.

Who is eligible for financial dependency claims?

Usually the spouse, civil partner, unmarried cohabiting partner and children of the deceased can make a financial dependency claim.

In some cases, it is possible that ex-spouses, grandchildren, elderly parents, brothers, sisters and other relatives may have a claim if they were dependent on the deceased in some way.

Families can be complicated, especially when they are blended or the deceased was caring for disabled adult children or parents with dementia. Please get in touch and we will be able to advise you on your specific situation.

How do I pay for a fatal accident claim?

Most fatal Claims are funded through a No Win No Fee Agreement or legal expenses Insurance.

Speak to our team and we can advise you on your funding options.

Speak to a Fatal Accident Solicitor

For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811

Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you

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    • Ben Posford leads the catastrophic injury team and regularly represents claimants in neurological injury and fatal accident claims. He also has a niche specialism in claims involving cauda equina syndrome.

      Chambers UK 2023

    • Stephanie Prior is head of the clinical negligence department at Osbornes Law. She acts on a wide range of issues, including claims for brain injuries sustained at birth and delays in diagnosis. She frequently represents clients in fatal claims involving surgical error.

      Chambers UK 2023

    • "Solid personal injury practice well equipped to advise on high-value and high-profile claims arising from fatalities and severe head and spinal injuries."

      Chambers UK

    • "Stuart is also very experienced in advising on fatal accidents and workplace accidents."

      Chambers UK

    • "Stephanie Prior... manages a varied caseload, including obstetric claims, child and adult brain injury cases and fatal and non-fatal spinal cord injury cases."

      Chambers UK

    • Stuart Kightley is praised for his expertise in catastrophic and fatal claims. Clients say he is very impressive, in terms of both his experience and his management of the personal injury team.

      Chambers UK

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