Deaths caused by negligence

Posted on 29th June 2017

No amount of money can compensate for the death of a loved one, following a fatal accident. Compensation can often however help and make a difference to a bereaved family, so that they are able to cope financially following the death of their loved one.

The aim of my blog is to set out examples of the types of compensation that can be claimed from a defendant.

I know from my work as a PI solicitor that fatal accidents can sadly occur anywhere, at any time. Sadly, the types of accidents which can result in death include:

Claims can be brought either on behalf of the person that has died (the deceased’s estate) or by an individual in their own right (a dependent). The individual must have been reliant on the person that died and includes close relatives such as spouses, civil partners, parents and children.

Claims that can be made on behalf of the deceased’s estate

The deceased’s estate can claim for the compensation that the deceased would have been entitled to had they survived, under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. The types of compensation that can be claimed include:

  • General damages for pain suffering and loss of amenity – providing that it can be shown that there was a period of survival between the accident and death, where the deceased was conscious and was suffering.
  • Financial losses incurred by the deceased prior to death – including past loss of earnings, travel expenses, past care costs and medical expenses.
  • Funeral expenses – only reasonable funeral expenses will be recoverable.

Claims that can be made by dependents

Dependents of the deceased can claim for their loss of financial support, that they would have received from the deceased’s earnings or pension, under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. The dependent must show that had a reasonable expectation of financial benefit from the deceased and that the chance of receiving the benefit was substantial.

A claim may also be made for loss of the deceased’s services such as gardening, DIY and housework. The cost of replacing the deceased’s services can also be claimed.

A limited number of close relatives of the deceased can make a claim for the bereavement that they have suffered in accordance with the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. The current value of this award is £12,980, for deaths occurring after the 1 April 2013. This award can be claimed by parents of a deceased child under the age of 18 or, by the spouse or civil partner of the deceased.

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