Could I Claim Compensation For The Death Of A Family Member?

By Jo Anderson. Last Updated 4th October 2023. This guide will discuss when you could claim compensation for the death of a family member. If a loved one suffered a fatal injury due to a relevant third party breaching their duty of care, a fatal accident claim could be made.

Within this guide, we will discuss the eligibility criteria that must be met to be able to make a fatal accident claim. We will also discuss who qualifies to make a claim for compensation, and the different types of compensation that could be awarded. This guide will also explore the various benefits of making a fatal injury claim with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors.

Two destroyed cars in the middle of a road

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Claiming Compensation For The Death Of A Family Member – What Is A Fatal Accident Claim?

Before we explain how much compensation for a death in the UK you could potentially receive, we’ll discuss when you could be eligible to claim. The first step is establishing whether someone else owed your loved one a duty of care. This is a legal responsibility for their health and safety, and can change depending on the situation. For example:

  • In the workplace: Per the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, employers have a duty of care to take all reasonably practicable steps to keep their employees safe while working.
  • In a public place: The controller of the space has a duty of care to visitors under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. This means they must take steps to ensure their reasonable safety.
  • On the roads: Each road user has a duty of care to navigate the roads in a way that prevents injury or damage to themselves and others To do this, they must follow the rules outlined in the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Highway Code.

These are just a few examples of duties of care that may have been owed to your loved one. Should a death by accident occur because a third party failed to uphold their duty of care, then you may be able to make a claim.

Our advisors can offer more information on compensation for fatal accidents, and whether one of our solicitors could help you when you get in touch.

Fatal Accident Claim – Who Can Claim?

Not every death from an accident could lead to a fatal accident claim. Sometimes, people lose their lives in tragic accidents, and no one is to blame. However, if a third party breached the duty of care they owed leading to a fatal injury, a claim could be made.

Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, dependents can make a claim for the impact the death has had on them. This includes:

  • A current or former wife, husband or civil partner
  • Someone who was living with the deceased for two years as spouses
  • A parent or other ascendant of the deceased or someone who was treated as a parent
  • A child or other descendant of the deceased or someone who was treated as a child
  • Brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts of the deceased or any of their children

Should you wish to check your eligibility to make a fatal accident claim on behalf of a loved one, we could help. We could answer some questions about the claims process, and check whether one of our No Win No Fee solicitors could assist you with a claim. All advice we give over the phone is free, and it costs nothing to find out where you stand.

Where Could A Fatal Accident Occur?

There are numerous different circumstances that can lead to some suffering a fatal accident or a wrongful death. We have created a list below of just some of these. Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive, but that these are the most common ways in which they can happen.

Road Traffic And Car Accidents

You can claim for the wrongful death of a loved one who died in motorcycling and bicycle accidents as well as accidents which result in the death of a pedestrian. You can also claim compensation for the death of a driver or passenger in a vehicle, such as claiming death compensation for death by careless driving.

Fatal Accident Claims In The Workplace

Accidental death compensation claims could be made if fatal accidents occur in the work place. These may involve vehicle use. Additionally, slip, trip, and fall accidents could be fatal. Other fatal workplace accidents are deaths caused by faulty machinery, roofing accidents, industrial diseases such as workplace cancers and those contracted by exposure to harmful substances, such as asbestos.

Medical Negligence Fatal Accident Claim

Medical negligence can be serious and prove to be fatal in some circumstances. Doctors, GPs, and other medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients to provide a minimum standard of care. If they fail to do this, and this leads to the loss of a loved one, a compensation claim could be made.

Some examples of medical negligence that could lead to a fatality include:

  • Misdiagnosis: The misdiagnosis of serious diseases, such as cancer, can result in the disease progressing to a stage in which it is no longer treatable.
  • Surgical error: Serious surgical errors can cause serious injuries, such as internal bleeding and infections, which can lead to death.
  • Infections: Poor hygiene in a hospital or medical setting can lead to infection, which can lead to other serious diseases such as sepsis. This can then result in death.

You may be able to claim if you have lost a loved one due to medical negligence when seeking private treatment or NHS negligence. Payouts for deaths caused by medical negligence are determined on a case-by-case basis. Contact our team today to learn more about making a fatal accident claim, or read on for more information on fatal accident compensation.

Fatal Accidents In Public Places

Fatal accidents in public places can also include accidents in leisure centres, theme parks, and other recreational areas. They also include accidents taking place in holiday parks and other private leisure or recreational venues, such as a sports stadium.

Time Limits For Claiming Compensation For The Death Of A Family Member

Whilst there are some specific instances in which this is not the case, such as extra time allowed for children to bring a claim for accidental death compensation, there is a three year period in which fatal accident claims must be filed. This time limit begins either from the date of death or from the date on which the deceased’s cause of death was determined to have been caused by the fatal accident or exposure to a hazardous substance.

For some, the deceased will have already been in the process of making some form of a compensation claim for the initial injury or illness at the time of their death. If this was the case, the three-year time limit will restart at this new date. This means that the family or partner of the deceased has a full three-year period in which to make their compensation claim.

Compensation For The Death Of A Family Member – What Can Be Claimed?

You may be wondering what can be claimed in compensation for the death of a family member. After making a successful claim, compensation could be awarded for the pain and suffering of the deceased.

Other compensation that could be awarded in fatal accident claims settlements might include:

  • Funeral costs: This can include the cost of a head stone or the funeral service.
  • Loss of services: This could compensate for a wide variety of services. For example, if, because of a fatal accident, a carer needs to be hired to care for children, this could be considered claimable. 
  • Financial dependency: This could include loss of earnings of the person who died if the family was dependent on their income.
  • Bereavement award: This is a set amount of £15,120 which is outlined in Section 1A of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. However, only certain qualifying relatives are eligible to receive this.

To obtain further guidance on compensation for the death of a family member, please call us. We could talk you through what you could be eligible to claim on their behalf.

Fatal Accident CompensationDeath Compensation Calculation UK

There isn’t a fixed death compensation calculation in the UK as every claim is calculated based on it’s unique circumstances.

However, compensation can be awarded for the pain and suffering of the deceased. To calculate this amount, solicitors can use a document called the Judicial College guidelines (JCG). This contains compensation brackets that relate to different types of harm. The figures should only be used as a guide though and it should be noted that the JCG only applies to claims made in England and Wales.

Injury Type Bracket Compensation Award Further Details
Fatality including add on claims Up to £550,000 and over The award might include compensation for the deceased’s pain and suffering. Also, any losses suffered by dependents such as loss of income might be included.
Quadraplegia £324,600 to £403,990 Different factors will be considered to determine the bracket of compensation that will be awarded. For instance, life expectancy, age, awareness of disability and level of pain.
Paraplegia £219,070 to £284,260 Different factors will be considered to determine the bracket of compensation that will be awarded. These factors might include the extent of any pain, the level of independence the injured person has and any psychological effects.
Brain damage £282,010 to £403,990 Ver severe brain damage that results in a lack of awareness of surroundings.
Psychiatric Damage £54,830 to £115,730 (a) The injured person may experience difficulty coping with life and may experience an impact on their relationships. The award will vary depending on the extent to which different factors have impacted their life.
Injuries resulting in death £12,540 to £23,810 A Full awareness following injuries such as severe burns with lung damage, plus intrusive treatment.

Contact us for more information about fatal accident compensation.

No Win No Fee Compensation For Death Of A Family Member

If you would like legal representation when claiming compensation for the death of a family member, you could hire a No Win No Fee lawyer to handle your claim. Accidental death compensation claims can be funded under the terms of a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This is a type of No Win No Fee funding arrangement.

If you are seeking compensation for the death of a family member under a CFA, your solicitor will not usually ask for an upfront solicitors fee. When a death compensation claim is successful, a success fee is taken from the award. The law caps the amount that can be taken. However, if the fatal accident claim is not successful, you will not have to pay your solicitor for their work.

Free legal advice on claiming compensation for the death of a family member is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from our advisors. If the death compensation claim seems eligible, you could be connected to our solicitors. To get in touch:

Thank you for reading out guide on claiming compensation for the death of a loved one in a fatal accident.