This is a guide to how to make a fatal car accident claim. We explain when you could be entitled to claim compensation for your loved one’s wrongful death.
Drivers owe each other and other road users a duty of care under the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA). In addition to the RTA, the Highway Code sets out rules and guidelines for all road users. Some of these are backed by legislation. To make a fatal accident claim, you must be able to prove that your loved one was owed a duty of care and a breach in it caused their fatal injuries.
This guide covers who can pursue a wrongful death claim. We investigate the legislation that relates to fatal injury claims. There are various factors that can impact a fatal injury claim, so we cannot provide you with exact award figures. However, we do examine what some of these factors are.
If you decide to make a claim for your loved one’s fatal road traffic accident, you may find the process easier with a personal injury solicitor. We explain No Win No Fee arrangements. Our road traffic accident claims team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; contact us if your loved one suffered a road death due to another road user’s negligence.
To speak to the Advice team about starting a fatal car accident claim:
Select A Section
- What Is A Fatal Car Accident Claim?
- Who Is At The Highest Risk Of A Road Fatality?
- Deaths Caused By Hit And Run Accidents
- Calculating Settlements For A Fatal Car Accident Claim
- What Further Damages Could Be Claimed?
- Contact Us About Fatal Road Traffic Accident Claims
In addition to proving your loved one died as a result of another road user’s negligence, you must be a certain qualifying relative of the deceased to make a claim. This is set out under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. Qualifying relatives include:
- The deceased’s spouse, either current or former.
- A person who lived with the deceased as a spouse for at least two years prior to their death.
- The deceased’s parent, or a person who the deceased treated like their parent, such as a step-parent.
- The deceased’s child or a person treated as if they were a child by the deceased, such as step-children or step-children from a previous marriage.
- Siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins
Additionally, the estate of the deceased may be able to claim for their pain and suffering. Factors that might impact the value of the claim could include the amount of pain and suffering and the level of awareness of the deceased.
Our road traffic accident claims team can answer questions about making a fatal car accident claim.
Under Rule 204 of the Highway Code, road users with a higher potential to cause harm should take extra care regarding the most vulnerable categories of road users. According to Rule 204, pedestrians face the most risks of being injured in road traffic accidents.
Pedestrians are not the only categories of road users that should be subject to additional care. Categories of road users such as horse riders, cyclists and motorcyclists are all considered more vulnerable than those driving in cars, vans and lorries, for example. If a motorcycle accident were to occur, a rider could be badly injured as they don’t have the protection that a vehicle like a car offers.
If your loved one died in a car accident, you might be able to make a fatal car accident claim. Contact our road traffic claims team to get started.
How Many Fatal Car Accidents Are There Per Day In The UK?
While there are no specific statistics related to daily fatality rates on the roads, we can provide reported fatalities broken down by categories of road users in Great Britain in 2020. The Department for Transport provides these statistics. They were last updated on 30th September 2021.
A hit-and-run accident is an accident in which the driver responsible fails to stop. It could be caused by careless driving. If a loved one died in a hit-and-run accident where the driver cannot be identified, you could still make a fatal car accident claim. The Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) can payout compensation in a car accident claim if the driver is untraceable or lacks insurance.
Causes of a road traffic accident could include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Speeding, including going too fast around a corner.
- Failing to stop at a red light or a give way sign.
Not all incidents of a fatal road traffic accident will form a valid claim. You must be able to prove negligence in order for compensation to be awarded.
Our car accident claims team can advise on whether you have a valid claim. If so, they may be able to connect you with a lawyer from our panel.
As part of a fatal car accident claim, the pain and suffering experienced by your loved one before they passed can be considered. The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) is used to help work out this head of a fatal accident claim, which is known as general damages. The JCG provides a list of injuries with compensation brackets. Legal professionals use this list when assigning value to injuries.
The figures below come from the latest edition of the JCG, which was published in 2022.
|Fatality add-on claims||Up to £550,000||This could include the deceased's pain and suffering, plus losses impacting the dependent's, such as lost income.|
|Quadriplegia/Tetraplegia||£324,600 - £403,990||The award depends on factors including the deceased's awareness, life expectancy and pain levels.|
|Paraplegia||£219,070 - £284,260||The award depends on factors experienced by the deceased including their pain level, age, life expectancy and psychological impact.|
|Very severe brain damage||£282,010 - £403,990||The deceased will lack meaningful responses to their environment before they pass.|
|Very severe mental harm||£54,830 - £115,730||Before they pass the deceased would not have been able to cope with life or their relationships.|
Dependants in fatal accident claims can be awarded compensation for:
- Funeral costs.
- Loss of services. This could include DIY costs if the deceased fixed items around the house, childcare costs if the deceased helped with children, or transport, amongst other losses.
- Financial dependency. This could include loss of the deceased’s income if reliant upon it. It could also cover loss of their future income.
- Loss of a special person. This could cover loss of companionship or the impact on the family relationship.
Additionally, a bereavement award of £15,120 could be awarded; this is set out in Section 1A of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. If more than one person claims the bereavement award, then it will be split. Only certain relatives can claim this award:
- A husband, wife or civil partner.
- A person who cohabited with the deceased as if they were married for at least 2 years prior to their death.
- The parents of an unmarried minor, or if the deceased is the child of an unmarried mother, then the mother.
Our fatal accident claims team could offer further advice on who could make a fatal car accident claim.
When making a fatal car accident claim, you might find the process easier with the support of a solicitor. You could hire a No Win No Fee solicitor. A No Win No Fee solicitor may offer you a form of agreement called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).
With this agreement in place, you are not charged an upfront solicitor’s fee. Under this type of funding agreement, a success fee is taken from the awards of successful fatal accident claims. The law caps the amount that can be taken. If the claim does not succeed, however, you will generally not be asked to pay a solicitor’s fee.
Our fatal injury claims team can help start your claim today. If it seems like you have a valid claim, you could be passed onto our panel of solicitors.
To speak to the Advice team about starting a fatal car accident claim:
Guides Related To A Fatal Car Accident Claim
- Applying for Probate Guide from the Government
- Grief Loss and Bereavement Guide from the NHS
- Brake Road Safety Charity
Additional guides from Advice:
- Symptoms To Watch Out For After A Car Accident
- Car Accident Injury Claim Solicitors
- How To Claim As A Passenger In A Car Accident
- How To Make A Taxi Passenger Accident Claim
- How To Claim For A Hit And Run Car Accident
- How Long Do Car Accident Personal Injury Claims Take?
- How To Claim For A Back Injury In A Car Accident
- How Are MIB Claim Amounts Calculated?
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