Fatal Accident Claims
Fatal Accident Lawyers London
Osbornes specialise in helping the families of individuals who have tragically passed away following an accident. This page will guide you through the process and answer many of your questions. You will find out more about our expert lawyers and hear from clients we have helped.
Sophie Davies Partner
“A niche firm that punches well above its weight in the catastrophic injury sector, borne out by the quality of work they obtain.”
“They have quality and depth and provide an excellent service.”
Sensitive advice following the loss of a loved one
Our solicitors have decades of experience in working with bereaved family members. Our lawyers specialise in representing individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased.
We know that compensation will be the last thing on your mind when a loved one dies, however, there may be a financial impact on your family’s life. Compensation can help ease the financial burden and give you a sense of justice at this difficult time.
Under the provisions of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, the dependants of someone killed in an accident that was not their fault can make a claim for compensation. We will explain everything you need to know, at a pace and in a way that’s right for you.
Our serious injury team have helped families of individuals who have lost their lives in many accidents. Sadly, many of our clients have lost a loved one after:
- A road collision
- A cycling crash
- An accident on a construction site
- Not being provided the correct safety equipment at work
- Insufficient training of handling heavy machinery
Tragically, fatalities also occur due to poor medical and surgical treatment. We have a specialist team of lawyers who advise on deaths caused by medical negligence. You will find out more about our fatal medical negligence claims experience here.
When you are ready to begin your case, our lawyers will be happy to help answer all of your questions.
Contact our Personal Injury Solicitors
For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811
Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you
Fatal Accident Claims FAQs
What happens when I make a fatal accident claim?
Fatal accidents leave behind devastated family members and loved ones. No amount of money can properly compensate them and at such an emotional time the idea of a compensation claim may not be the first consideration.
The help of supportive specialist fatal accident solicitors can however at least ease the financial burden that often follows the death of a loved one and can aid in starting to rebuild the lives of those who were financially dependent on the deceased.
Making a claim for compensation at what will be a highly emotional time will obviously not be the first thing loved ones think about or even at all. But in many cases compensation will be financially essential for the family to make ends meet after the death, and we will try to understand the needs of the family and to secure an early interim payment where possible.
Admitting liability and obtaining an interim payment
Interim payments will readily be agreed upon by the opponent’s insurers if they admit liability, and they will admit liability where the case is clear cut and there is compelling evidence that their insured was negligent and caused the accident. But unfortunately, the evidence is rarely so clear cut and because of the amount of money at stake in many fatal accident cases, the insurers are likely to fight the claim if they believe there is a chance of avoiding liability or achieving an apportionment of liability.
A liability apportionment occurs when fault lies with more than one party, for instance the defendant, a second defendant and possibly the claimant as well. So if, for instance, a passenger in a car is fatally injured when the car collides with a lorry, the claim may be directed to the insurers of the lorry and the car, and both may blame each other whilst arguing that the deceased passenger was partly to blame for not wearing a seat belt. In that scenario an interim payment would be likely because it is clear that there will be some liability on the part of the two drivers and any ‘contributory negligence’ will be a percentage reduction (25% or 15% depending on whether the wearing of a seat belt would have made a real difference in that particular case).
To take another example, if a worker if fatally injured in a construction site accident when he falls from an unsecured ladder on a scaffold, liability will need to be proved, by evidence, against the main site contractors or sub-contractors responsible for the scaffold. They in turn may bring in another party and may allege negligence against the deceased for failing to ensure the ladder was properly tied or footed.
Evidence will usually be available already in these cases because the police and in some cases the Health & Safety Executive would have carried out detailed investigations. We would obtain our own eye witness and expert evidence where necessary, and this may include expert accident reconstruction evidence.
Holding an inquest to establish cause of death
In cases of sudden, violent or unexplained death there will also be an Inquest before a coroner. A coroner is a doctor or lawyer (often both) appointed by the local council to investigate deaths in the local area. The Inquest is a fact finding legal hearing arranged by the coroner to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death. The coroner will not apportion blame (that is the role of the criminal court and the civil court) but will try to establish the cause of death. He has considerable freedom in terms of the evidence he allows and the questioning of witnesses, but the family’s representative will usually be allowed to put questions to witnesses on their behalf. The coroner will return a verdict using a common form of words such as death by natural causes, accidental death, industrial disease, and where the case is more complicated will give a narrative verdict.
The bereaved family will often want to attend and be represented at the coronor’s inquest. Osbornes’ Stuart Kightley is experienced in attending inquests and is happy to discuss acting in any case with the family. Funding for inquests is not covered under a No Win No Fee agreement but it may be that there is cover under a legal expenses insurance policy.
From the point of view of liability in the civil claim it is very useful for the family’s lawyer to attend the inquest, because it will be an opportunity to get advanced sight of the police evidence and to assess and question the witnesses. The defendant will usually be represented as well, and so they too will be able to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of the civil claim.
How much compensation will I receive from a fatal accident claim?
Fatal accident cases & claims can be complicated and the law in this area is gradually evolving but does not always recognise the trauma and financial hardship caused by the death of a family member.
For instance, there is a statutory fixed sum (of £12,980) for bereavement which is payable by the person who negligently caused the death (or his insurer), but only to fixed classes of the claimant, including husbands, wives and children.
Children of a deceased parent, the parents of a deceased adult and more distant relatives are not currently entitled to recover compensation, however close in reality their relationship was with the deceased.
The Law Commission has recommended reform in this area, and whilst the last Government consulted on widening the category of claimants they did not go ahead and change the law.
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"Solid personal injury practice well equipped to advise on high-value and high-profile claims arising from fatalities and severe head and spinal injuries."
"Stuart is also very experienced in advising on fatal accidents and workplace accidents."
"Stephanie Prior... manages a varied caseload, including obstetric claims, child and adult brain injury cases and fatal and non-fatal spinal cord injury cases."
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.
Osbornes Law can make a difference
For over 40 years, Osbornes have been helping relatives make fatal accident claims following the death of a loved one. We have a huge amount of experience dealing with cases similar to yours and can help get you the compensation you deserve at this difficult time. The reasons families choose to work with us include:
- Extensive track record of winning high-value fatal accident claims
- Proud partner of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and share their commitment to lobbying for higher statutory bereavement payments following a fatal accident
- We’re authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, so you can rest assured that we adhere to a strict code of professional conduct
- Consistently rated by independent legal directories The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners for our reputation as specialists in the field of fatal accident claims
- No win, no fee agreements mean that in the unlikely event your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay anything at all.
Personal Injury Accreditations
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Our Personal Injury Team View the whole team
Rob Aylott Partner
Sam Collard Partner
Sophie Davies Partner
Nicola Hall Associate Solicitor
Andrew Middlehurst Associate Solicitor
Laura Swaine Associate Solicitor
Personal Injury Expertise
- Cycling Accident Claims
- Accident at Work Claims
- Road Traffic Accident Claims
- Holiday Accident Claims
- Slips, trips & public liability
- Sports Injury Claims
- Criminal Injury Claims
- Child Injury Claims