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Fatal Accident Claims

If a loved one has been involved in a fatal accident you may be able to claim compensation. Your case will be reviewed by our panel of legal firms who will be able to tell you how much you could be owed.

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An overview of fatal accidents

All motor vehicle collisions are terrible experiences. Victims often suffer severe and catastrophic injuries following such crashes. Unfortunately, many fatal accidents occur in the UK, resulting in several deaths. For example, in 2021, 1,558 people died on UK roads.

Losing a loved one in a road crash is a painful experience, and it’ll take time to recover. Unfortunately, specific issues can worsen all you have to deal with within this period. A typical example is the funeral and burial expenses you’ll incur for your deceased relative.

You may even have to settle hospital bills if the person passed away while receiving medical treatment. That’s why filing a compensation claim is best after any fatal UK road collision.

Causes of fatal accidents in the UK

Several factors are responsible for fatal vehicle collisions on UK roads. Some of them are man-made, such as over-speeding, while others are artificial factors over which the parties had no control. Below are the causes of fatal crashes on UK roads.

Disobeying Traffic Rules

Many fatal car accidents occur because drivers disregard traffic laws. For example, some drivers ignore traffic signs, crashing into vehicles with the right of way. In addition, exceeding road speed limits can also cause fatal collisions. Speeding increases the force of the accident impact. Therefore, the result is often worse than when a vehicle wasn’t speeding.

Drunk Driving

In 2020, 200 to 240 people died in Great Britain in crashes where at least one driver exceeded the drink-drive limit. Essentially, intoxication reduces a driver’s alertness. It also makes them slower when reacting to emergencies that occur while driving, such as a vehicle darting out of nowhere. Such reduced impulses thus increase the possibility of fatal crashes.

Bad Roads

Not all fatal collisions happen because of terrible drivers. Instead, bad roads can also cause these crashes. The government may be liable to the deceased’s dependents in such cases.

Adverse Weather Conditions

Bad weather conditions can also cause fatal accidents. For example, when heavy rains fall, they can flood the roads, reducing traction, and increasing the chances of collisions. Similarly, snow and rain can make the roads slippery, which can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle.

Did you know?

In 2020, 200 to 240 people died in Great Britain in crashes where at least one driver exceeded the drink-drive limit.

Can you sue after a fatal accident?

Yes, you can sue when someone’s wrongful action, neglect, or default kills your loved one. However, not every fatal collision will give a relative the right to sue.

Instead, you can only approach the court where the deceased party would have been to do so if they hadn’t died.

In addition, a fatal accident lawsuit is for the benefit of the dependents of the deceased victim.

    The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 external link icon dark blue also defines a dependent to include:

    • Surviving spouse of the deceased
    • Parents and grandparents of the deceased
    • Children or grandchildren of the accident victim
    • Nieces and nephews of the car accident victim

    Any compensation the court awards for wrongful death claims will be for only this class of people above.

    Who can sue for a fatal accident?

    Not everyone can file a fatal accident claim following a car crash death. Instead, the Fatal Accidents Act specifies the class of people who can approach the court. The law states that fatal accident actions must be instituted by or in the name of the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate.

    So, even the dependents cannot bring claims in their names, except in a few cases.

    Such exceptions include where:

    • There is no executor or administrator for the deceased
    • The executors or administrators don’t bring any action in their name within six months of the accident victim’s death

    In any of these instances, any or all of the dependents can commence the action in their names.

    What is the average settlement for a UK fatal accident claim?

    If your fatal accident claim succeeds in the UK, you can recover significant compensation. However, remember that you can only get a settlement if the deceased would have received the same payment had they lived.

    Furthermore, several factors can affect your settlement which we’ve given below.

    However, there is no definite amount you can get from a fatal accident settlement. The money you get often depends on the nature of the injury that resulted in the death.

    The type of damages you’re entitled to also influences the amount of money you can receive. So, let’s look at the class of damages in a fatal accident claim.

    Medical Bills

    Not all fatal accident victims die at the crash site. Instead, some of them make it to the hospital, where they succumb to their injuries. However, at this point, they must have racked up significant medical bills.

    Fortunately, you can recover all these sums in a successful fatal accident claim. If the accident victim didn’t die, the at-fault party would have still paid the medical bills. So, the court will make them pay even though the victim didn’t survive.

    Funeral Expenses

    After the deceased’s death, families usually hold funerals for them. But burying their dead will also increase their financial losses. From getting a casket to paying to use a cemetery, the bills keep growing. Whatever funeral option you choose will cost some money. Therefore, courts will generally grant compensation for the funds expended on the deceased’s funeral.

    Loss of Payment

    A fatal accident victim may have provided some financial assistance to their dependents. So, their death will dry up that source of income for the dependents. Thankfully, UK law doesn’t let the dependents go empty-handed without an alternative.

    You can thus recover financial compensation for any such losses occasioned by the victim’s death. The court will consider the deceased’s income and the amount of money he gave to the dependents when making an award. Such payments can apply to:

    • Medical bills for a family member
    • Periodic financial upkeep
    • School fees and other educational bills
    • The money provided for specific purposes

    Bereavement Damages

    The dependents of a fatal accident victim can also claim bereavement damages. This money is for the pain and suffering you endured following your loved one’s death. Therefore, only close family members can recover this class of damages. This is because only a few people can be close enough to the deceased to suffer after their death.

    Eligible dependents for the bereavement damages claim include:

    • The surviving spouse or civil partner
    • Parents of children under 18 years
    • Mothers of illegitimate children

    Bereavement claims have a fixed amount. So, courts cannot award compensation beyond these sums. In England and Wales, you can get £15,120 as bereavement damages external link icon white. In Northern Ireland, you’ll get £15,100.

    However, there’s no fixed amount for Scotland. Instead, the money for your bereavement damages depends on several factors, and the courts decide cases individually.

    Other benefits to consider

    Fatal accident victims may leave other financial benefits for their survivors. For example life insurance, social security benefits, pension, or gratuity payments. Therefore, the deceased victim’s dependents and other beneficiaries can claim this money upon their death.

    Luckily, courts or insurance agents cannot consider these sums when calculating fatal accident settlements. In addition, the Fatal Accidents Act expressly prohibits including these benefits when assessing damages for dependents. So, you can get accident compensation alongside these benefits.

    Remarriage and Fatal Accidents Compensation

    The surviving spouse is a significant dependent in a fatal accident claim. However, such a spouse may remarry before the suit concludes. If this happens, you may worry that remarrying will affect your compensation.
    However, this isn’t the case in the UK. Courts will not consider a widow’s remarriage or marriage prospects when calculating a fatal accident compensation claim. So, you wouldn’t get less money simply because you remarried.

    Contributory Negligence and Your Settlement

    Sometimes, the deceased may have been partly responsible for the fatal accident. However, collisions aren’t always the fault of one party. Therefore, the contributory negligence rule will apply where the accident victim contributed to the collision.

    This principle merely reduces the amount of compensation the dependents can recover. It diminishes the claim amount depending on the percentage of the deceased’s contribution. So, suppose the victim was 40% responsible for the fatal collision. Then, the dependents can only recover 60% of the damages they’re entitled to.

    Don’t Delay. Check Now.

    Don’t miss out on £100’s or even £1,000’s in compensation you could be entitled to. Starting a claim only takes 5 minutes, so why not do it now?