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Wrongful death claims

Wrongful death claims

Death is never a pleasant thing to think about, and it can be very difficult to get on with your life after someone you love has died, even if a person close to you has suffered a long illness before passing away.

Losing someone suddenly and in circumstances that may have been perhaps avoided can bring up a slew of emotions such as anger as well as grief and it is only natural to want to redress the balance in some way. Whether someone has been involved in an accident at work or on premises owned by another person, if the entity responsible for that property or that person is seen to have been at fault, then the persons left behind may be able to launch a wrongful death accident claim or fatal accident compensation claim.

Although a compensation award is little comfort for those persons, whether dependents, members of the deceased’s family or the deceased’s estate, it may go somewhere towards helping people to build a life after their loved one’s death and could perhaps ensure that the same sort of accident does not happen again. Here, we go through what’s involved in fatal accident compensation claims, the wrongful death lawsuit definition and how to launch a wrongful death claim, as well as advising typical award settlements in various situations. Read on for our fatal accident claims guide.

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Our guide to Fatal Accident Claims for Compensation

At Accident Claims, we work hard to offer a sympathetic and friendly service to those persons whose loved ones have passed away in circumstances that may lead to a wrongful death claim or fatal accident compensation claim. Our free legal consultation services mean we can offer good solid advise on whether potential clients would have a claim, and we do not ask for any money up front as part of our compensation advice helpline. We know what you have more than likely experienced has taken a tremendous toll on you and we will never rush you into taking action before you are ready. Instead, we are here to listen and advise and help you if you decide to eventually go forward and put a claim in for wrongful death compensation.

In most cases, after the initial consultation, your claim will be taken on, with no fees due unless your case is successful. This is call ‘No Win No Fee’ and allows you to forgo any further financial burden while you pursue your case, as well as having professional experienced people in your corned who will take on all the hard work for you. Read on to find the answers to questions you are likely to have about the process and how to begin a fatal accident or wrongful death claim.

What is a fatal accident compensation situation?

Fatal accident compensation claims usually come about as the result of an accident caused by someone else. The fault of the accident does not lie with the deceased person, but the other party cannot be blamed in their entirety. Some examples of fatal accidents are RTAs (Road traffic accident) was well as an accident at work causing death, along with a death caused by the effects of certain criminal activity.

What is a wrongful death compensation situation?

The wrongful death definition is as follows. Wrongful death compensation claims usually happen as a result of another person/s being negligent, either in the duty of care to a person or by their dangerous actions, again, with the deceased being not to blame for the incident that caused their death. The difference between wrongful death and fatal accident claims is only small but significant. In wrongful death, the blame for the accident happening is clear as well as the reason behind the accident. Some examples of wrongful death cases include those that cover medical negligence, and also those accidents at work leading to death where equipment has been provided to the deceased that was not up to safety standards.

What does making No Win No Fee Fatal Accident claims involve?

At a time when perhaps the main breadwinner in a family has passed away in tragic circumstances, the last thing a family needs is a legal bill. However, this financial situation should not preclude anyone who has a valid claim for wrongful death from launching that claim. This is why, at Accident Claims, we work on a no win, no fee structure that means the only time a legal bill will be due is as part of the compensation awarded to that client.

If the case, for whatever reason, does not reach a satisfactory conclusion (a compensation payout), then there will be no legal fees for the person/s lodging the claim to pay. You may have heard the term before, but this can also be called a CFA, or Conditional Fee Agreement. We will be happy to talk you through what this involved in more detail should you have some more questions about this. We are always transparent about our fee structure in order to offer our clients the best quality service.

Who is allowed to make a wrongful death/ fatal accident claim?

Many people believe that only spouses of deceased persons can make wrongful death/ fatal accident claims but this is not the case. There are three categories of claimants, which we outline below:

  • Family

A deceased person’s family will more than likely have endured undue hardship caused by the person’s passing. They might not have depended on the deceased financially, but it may be possible for them to pursue a claim for such hardship.

  • Dependents

This is usually who people consider first when a loved one passes away, spouses, and children of the deceased who have had financial provision from the deceased person will likely be able to make a claim. These are the people who are usually most badly affected by their passing away.

  • Estate

This section is a little more complicated but covers situations such as small businesses suffering hardship due to the small business owner’s passing away.

How are wrongful deaths caused?

You may not be aware of it, but there are a great number of circumstances that can warrant a wrongful death compensation claim. Some examples are provided below, but it is important to understand that we could not list every circumstance here. If you are wondering whether you may have a valid wrongful death claim, then simply call us and we will carefully listen to what has happened in order to determine whether you have cause to take a wrongful death/ fatal accident claim forward.

Fatal Road Accidents and Traffic Incidents that can include:

  • Cycle accidents leading to death of a cyclist or a pedestrian
  • Pedestrian deaths caused by vehicles
  • Fatal vehicle collisions leading to death of a passenger or death of a driver
  • Motorbike accidents causing fatality to pedestrian or rider

If you would like to know how much compensation for the death of a family member or compensation for a death in a car accident of someone you depend on financially, then we can provide you with typical award amounts.

Fatal Accidents at work that can include:

  • Trip or slip or fall accidents leading to death
  • Machinery operation leading to fatality
  • Commercial motor vehicle accidents at work leading to death (either death of driver, pedestrian or a person on commercial premises)
  • Roofing work accidents/Falls from height leading to death
  • Asbestos exposure at the workplace leading to cancer or mesothelioma

If you would like to know how much compensation for death at work caused by someone else, then why not take a look further down in this guide. Alternatively, you could call our team to find out more.

Medical negligence causing death which can include:

  • Botched cosmetic surgery causing death
  • Misdiagnosis of cancer leading to death
  • Misdiagnosis of other illnesses causing death
  • Negligent conduct in an operation which leads to patient death
  • Negligent conduct in childbirth, leading to death of child or mother
  • Negligence in a care home leading to death of care home resident

If you would like to know how much compensation for death by medical negligence, then our advisors will be able to provide you with examples of typical amounts awarded, or you could take a look at the table further down in this guide.

Public accident deaths, which can include:

  • Accidents that occur in the street
  • Accidents that occur in other public spaces
  • Accidents in retail premises such as shopping centres, supermarkets and shops
  • Leisure venue accidents, such as theme park deaths, or fun fair accidents, as well as accidents in water parks
  • Holiday park accidents
  • Camping ground accidents
  • Leisure centre accidents – these can include gym accidents, swimming pool deaths, golf course fatalities and more.

As mentioned, this is by no means a full list of all the circumstances that could result in a wrongful death claim. Call our caring team if you would like more information on whether your loved one’s passing could be part of a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful death case studies

Fatal Accident & Wrongful Death Case Study

Fatal Accident & Wrongful Death Case Study

There have been several wrongful death case studies referenced in the UK press, with even high-profile celebrities involved in some way. In late 2017, a wrongful death compensation claim against Porsche was settled with actor Paul Walker’s daughter Meadow, after it was alleged the actor may have escaped from his burning vehicle but for a faulty seatbelt.

In mid 2017, the tragic overdose of Cathriona White, actor Jim Carrey’s ex-girlfriend hit the headlines when it was revealed her mother and her ex-husband had launched a wrongful death claim against Carrey, who they allege provided the drugs the young woman used in her suicide.

Obviously, these are just two high-profile examples, but there are wrongful death claims in the UK that are launched by people who have suffered the loss of a loved one in many different circumstances. If you would like to know if you have a case for compensation, then we will be able to advise you on this.

How do I go about making a wrongful death claim?

Launching a fatal accident claim or a wrongful death compensation action can be a difficult decision to make. Whether you want advice on whether you are likely to have a valid claim, want to know more about wrongful death vs manslaughter, would like to learn more about wrongful death tort, or are ready to take the first step to making a wrongful death claim, we will deal with your query sensitively and with the utmost care. We know it can be an extremely difficult time for you, so we work hard to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible.

Initially, when you call Accident claims regarding a wrongful death case, we will be likely to ask you several questions to get to grips with the tragedy that has occurred. We will be asking how the accident occurred, where is happened, who you are in relation to the deceased person and also who you think may be at fault for the incident. It is a good idea to have all the details written down before you call but if you find this difficult do not worry, our fully trained staff will lead you through the questions in a sensitive manner.

Once we have gone through the questions we need to ask you, we will be in a good place to advise you whether you have a valid claim and will explain what happens next. We will take you through the details of the agreement that means you won’t pay legal fees if your case isn’t successful and you can ask any other questions you might have.

What costs and expenses are covered and what will I be compensated for in fatal accident claims?

There is no ‘on size fits all’ answer to this question. However, how much can you sue for wrongful death is a question we are often asked. Each and every wrongful death/ fatal accident claim we assist with is different, and it can be difficult to put a figure on a claim without knowing all the ins and outs of the case. However, compensation for wrongful death claims can be broken down into the following awards;

Punitive – This sort of damages award acts as a type of punishment for the responsible party for the incident that caused your loved one’s death.

Funeral – Whether cremation or burial is decided upon, the funeral costs should be covered

Medical – Expenses such as treatment costs that the deceased person incurred as a result of the incident before they passed away and those relating to family members’ (such as counselling) as a result of their loved one’s death.

Bereavement compensation award -This should cover suffering and pain the family of the loved one. In Wales and England, this is capped at £12,980 currently.

General -Loss of income to the family, both actual and future potential earnings of the deceased, as well as suffering and pain and negative effects on the future life of the claimant.

Are funeral expenses covered in a fatal accident claim?

Funeral expenses cover a variety of different costs. These can include sending out of funeral invitations before the service, as well as the wake, wreaths and flowers, the hearse and other vehicles that may be required, the undertaker’s fees, the purchase of burial plots, coffins and caskets, urns for cremation, crematorium fees, the funeral service, the wake and food served within the funeral.

Currently, the smallest award for funeral expenses is three thousand pounds. The maximum is said to be ten thousand pounds, but more has been awarded in some cases.

How much would a fatal accident compensation payout be?

Compensation TypeDescriptionTypical Amount
Death (Baseline amount)The value awarded for the types of death mentioned earlier in the guide previously.£12,500 - £300,000
Death (A brief time of awareness followed by becoming unconscious)An example would be lung damage or burns causing extreme pain, then the person becoming unconscious after a period of three hours. Death within the time period of two weeks. Another example - Orthopaedic or chest damage, with complications causing death.£8,000 - £10,650
Death (unconsciousness - with person becoming deceased within a time period of 6 weeks)Person becomes unconscious after injury and passes away within a time period of 6 weeks£6,400
Death (unconsciousness - with person becoming deceased within a time period of 1 week)Person becomes unconscious after injury and passes away within a time period of 1 week£1,050 - £2,125
Death (with full awareness)Lung damage or serious burns causing extreme pain, while the person was aware. Brief period of consciousness and unconsciousness with death within 4-5 weeks £15,950 - £18,100
Anguish - MentalThe fear of impending death and the expectation of the end of the person's life.£3,550
Funeral ExpensesAs explained previously, covering the service, the wake, the burial or cremation costs and invitations, transport and food£3,000 - £10,000
Damages, PunitiveCould be more than the maximum stated here depending on how complex the claim is.£1,000 - £275,000
Suffering and PainDepending on how much suffering and pain was present£1,000 - £200,000
Benefit LossesThis concerns the income (actual) lost as a result£5,000 - £500,000
Anticipated earning lossesThis concerns the perceived lost income and is worked out based on future potential earnings should the incident not have happened.£10,000 - £400,000
Protection, companionship and care for family lossThe level of loss is taken into account here.£2,000 - £100,000

As previously mentioned, each award is different and specific to the details of its own case. This is why a fatal accident compensation amount can differ from case to case. However, we can provide somewhat of a wrongful death compensation calculator, which outlines some of the awards you may be expecting to receive. It is vital to remember that these are guide amounts only, however and the amount of compensation awarded will be unique to your case.

Why choose Accident claims for your fatal accident or wrongful death claim?

Beginning a wrongful death compensation claim can be difficult, especially at what is likely an extremely emotional time. You are likely to feel anger towards who you believe to be the responsible party, as well as some confusion over where to go for assistance. At Accident Claims we have assisted a large number of clients with wrongful death/ fatal accident compensation claims, with sympathy and tact. We are very careful to ask the right questions to ascertain all the facts surrounding your case in order that we can help you quickly and efficiently. However, we will always take the time to explain anything you may not be clear on with regards to the process of making wrongful death UK claims.

We will also strive to ensure you receive the maximum amount of case possible for your claim. We know how much hardship can be caused by the death of a loved one, especially if they were the main financial provider in the home, which is why we ensure your case is dealt with, with no fees payable unless the claim is successful.

Ready to make a claim for wrongful death/ fatal accident? Call today

We know you may have questions regarding this guide and its contents, and this is completely natural. We offer free, no obligation advice on your possible case and will be glad to take your call to answer any issues that may still remain after you have been through this guide. Whether you want to know more about death compensation calculation and how it is done, or you want to know how common death by negligence cases are, or want to know more about wrongful death examples we have dealt with we will be happy to help.

Alternatively, if you are ready to begin a claim today, then simply call us on 0800 073 8801 today. Our trained and experienced team will be on hand to answer your questions and begin the process of making a claim for you, minimising stress at what can only be described at a traumatic time for you.

Helpful links

Bereavement Strategies – NHS

The NHS has produced a page on coping with the loss of someone close to you. This may offer some advice that will help you try and work through your grief.

Bereavement Charity Site – Cruse

Cruse is a charity that aims to help people suffering after a bereavement. There is plenty of material on their site that you may find helpful after a bereavement.

CAB – What you should do after someone has passed away

The Citizens Advice website shows what might need to be done in practical terms after someone has passed away.

Law reform Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1934

This piece of legislation covers fatal accidents. You may want to familiarise yourself with some of the content if it has been mentioned to you.

Fatal Accidents Act Bereavement Award

This outlines some legislation covering how much can be awarded as a bereavement award, whether awarded as part of compensation for death by careless driving or any other accident.

Fatal Accidents Act 1976 Limitation

This piece of legislation covers the right of action for wrongful death cases. It may be useful reading if you would like to find more about the legal side of cases such as yours.