Fatal Accident Claims
Losing a loved one is a tragic situation which is both emotionally stressful and upsetting. At this time no amount of money can compensate you for your loss, but it can help to ease the financial burden which arises from this unexpected situation.
A civil claim may be brought against a third party who was responsible for the cause of death of a loved one as a result of their negligence or a wrongful act. This type of claim is separate to criminal proceedings, which do not aim to provide compensation. Civil claims arise from all types of situations; for example from road traffic accidents, work place accidents, and accidents on holiday.
Claims may include:
- A compensation claim for the pain and suffering of the deceased from the date of injury up to the date of death. This can include damages for financial losses which are incurred between the date of injury and death, plus medical expenses. It can also cover funeral and probate costs incurred.
- A dependency claim which focuses on the dependants of the deceased who are left to cope after the death. ‘Dependants’ covers a range of relations, such as spouses, children of the family (whether over 18 or not), parents, grandparents, grandchildren and cohabitees for 2 yrs + before death. Compensation can be awarded for the loss of the deceased’s support to the dependant, both in terms of his or her earnings, but also the loss of services he or she may have provided such as child care, DIY or gardening.
- Bereavement damages of a set amount to certain categories of claimant, most usually spouses or civil partners.
Often there will be an inquest, where a Coroner will investigate the circumstances of the death (without looking to apportion blame). This is usually a very important, pre-litigation stage, at which the family should be represented by a solicitor and/or barrister. Often this can be dealt with on a “no win no fee” basis, prior to starting work on any civil claims that may be brought by family members later on.
Thereafter further investigation and negotiation usually take place. It may then be necessary to enter into litigation, if the third party who has caused the death does not admit liability. Different funding options are available for these stages of any case, including “no win no fee” agreements in suitable cases.
Should you wish to discuss the options available to you, please contact Miss Rachel Stewart who will be happy to discuss the legal process with you and assist you to consider the appropriate route for you, depending on your individual circumstances. Charities which may also be of some assistance include:
Brake - www.brake.org.uk A road safety charity with a support helpline for those bereaved by traffic accidents.
Cruse - www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk Cruse Bereavement Care which provides support for bereaved children and adults.
Compassionate Friends - www.tcf.org.uk The Compassionate Friends (TCF) which provides support to bereaved parents.