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When a person is killed as a result of the negligent act of a person or organisation, such as a road traffic accident, an accident at work or from sub-standard medical care, a claim for compensation may be brought on behalf of their estate and also on behalf of their dependents.

The person or people who bring the action are legally called the Claimant or Claimants and to succeed they have to prove that the opponent (the Defendant) legally caused the death or materially contributed to it.

What Happens After a Fatal Accident?

An inquest can be an intimidating place for families and loved ones of the deceased. There are several reasons the coroner may call for an inquest into the cause of death; the most common being if a death cannot be explained following a post mortem, is sudden, violent or the deceased was in the care or custody of the state at the time of death. Inquests can be an opportunity for families and loved ones to seek answers and they are often quite informal and relaxed.

If it seems that representation is required at the inquest, we can assist you with this, or we can simply attend to provide support. We can guide you through the process both before and after the inquest. We will obtain all documents in the possession of the coroner prior to the inquest in order to help you prepare. We will work alongside you before and during the inquest to assist you in getting the answers that you deserve about how and why your loved one died.

Please get in touch to speak with one of our experts.

Who or What Is the Deceased’s Estate?

The executors under a will or the personal representatives of a deceased person may bring a claim for limited damages on behalf of those who are entitled to share the estate under a will or the intestacy laws. The claims normally include the bereavement sum, funeral expenses, compensation suffered by the deceased prior to death, damage to the deceased’s property and other items.

Who Is A Dependant?

The category of people who qualify is wide and varied and includes:

  • A spouses or ex-spouse
  • A person who had been co-habiting with the deceased as husband or wife or civil partners or former civil partners, people who lived with the deceased for 2 years prior to the death
  • Children
  • Siblings
  • Step-children
  • Parents or those who were treated by the deceased as a parent
  • Grandparents

The dependents must show they have suffered a financial loss due to the person’s death or had reasonable expectations of receiving a future benefit from the deceased.


Our team of specialist Fatal Claims solicitors have encountered many different family set ups and have experience advising clients on this dependency criterion.

What Can You Claim For In A Fatal Accident Case?

Every case is different. The exact compensation you can claim for will depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident and other factors. Generally, in case of fatal accident, you would be able to claim compensation for the following

Pain, suffering and loss of amenity of the deceased – these awards relate to the length of time and level of pain suffered by the deceased prior to death. The sum varies and can be significant in cases where the deceased had suffered for a long time prior to their death such as asbestos related disease and can be much lower in cases of sudden deaths.

  • Actual losses – this claim provides for actual expenditures incurred in caring for the injured person as well as any administrative expenses involved in dealing with their demise or their estate. This covers costs incurred such as hospital expenses, ongoing nursing care, medicines, housing adaptations and the cost of travelling to medical appointments. Funeral expenses are also included.
  • Loss of earnings – if the case was not immediate, loss of earnings during the time the deceased was alive but unable to work can also be claimed for.
  • Loss of dependency – this is often the largest part of most fatal compensation claims. If the deceased is survived by dependents who depended on his or her income, for example a spouse, minor children or aged parents. The amount will vary depending on the deceased’s income. The sum may also take into account loss of pension, bonuses and allowances such as healthcare benefits, use of a company car and mobile phone usage.
  • Loss of services – a claim can be made to compensate for the loss of services that the deceased provided such as childcare, housework, DIY and gardening. If the deceased was caring for another sick person in the family, the cost of hiring a replacement carer may also be considered.

In addition to the above categories there is also the potential for recovering a nominal amount of £15,120 in the form of a Statutory Award for Bereavement. To qualify for this award you must be either a spouse, civil partner of the person who died or parent of a child under 18. Unmarried couples who have been together for at least two years are now also included.

Time Limits for Bringing a Fatal Accident Claim

There is a three year statute of limitations for filing fatal accident compensation claims. This 3 year limitation commences from the date of death or from the date the death was linked to the accident or exposure.

Contact one of our Specialist Solicitors

To discuss your fatal accident or injury compensation claim, call us now on 0161 399 1231.

By Emma Pearce, Solicitor

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