This guide will explore the steps that can be taken if a fatal accident occurs at work. We will explore the procedure for reporting this type of incident and who the incident should be reported to.
Additionally, we will look at the duty of care an employer has to keep their employees safe in the workplace and the accidents that could occur if they fail to do so.
Furthermore, we will look at when a claim could be made on behalf of a loved one who has suffered a fatality in the workplace.
This guide will also look at how legal representation could be beneficial for those looking to seek compensation on behalf of the deceased.
Whilst we have aimed to provide the information needed to put forward a fatal accident claim in our guide, we understand that you may still have questions after reading. If so, you can get in touch with our team of advisors. They are available 24/7 to offer free legal advice. To get in touch, you can:
Select A Section
- How A Fatal Accident Could Occur At Work?
- When A Fatal Accident Occurs At Work, Who Is Informed?
- How To Report A Fatal Accident In The Workplace
- Who Could Claim If A Fatal Accident Occurs At work?
- How Much Could You Claim When A Fatal Accident Occurs At Work?
- Talk To Our Specialist Team Today
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 outlines an employer’s duty of care to take reasonable steps to either completely remove any known hazards that pose a risk of harm in the workplace, or reduce the risk they pose. The specific responsibilities they have will vary depending on the workplace. Generally, though, an employer is responsible for:
- Providing adequate training to employees. This can include training for using specialised equipment or machinery.
- Providing personal protective equipment (PPE), where necessary. This can include goggles, ear defenders, gloves, hard hats, and steel-toe cap boots.
- Carrying out regular risk assessments on the workspace and equipment and addressing any risks they become aware of.
A failure to uphold these responsibilities could result in employees sustaining harm at work. Examples of fatal accidents could include:
- An employee may have fallen from a height whilst working on scaffolding because an employer failed to carry out the necessary risk assessments.
- An employee may have been hit by a falling object on a construction site causing them to sustain a fatal injury to the head because they weren’t provided with a hard hat.
- An employee may have been fatally injured while operating a forklift truck they were not trained to use.
It’s important to note that not all incidents of employees sustaining an injury at work will form the basis of a valid claim. It must be proven that an employer breached their duty of care and caused their employee to sustain harm as a result of the breach.
For more information on when a wrongful death claim could be made after a fatal accident occurs at work, please get in touch with our team.
Fatal Accidents At Work
According to employer reports made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013, there were a total of 123 fatal injuries to workers in 2021/22.
The HSE collates employer reports into useful workplace accident statistics. As such, it was found that falls from height were the most common fatal accident kind during 2021/22 with 29 fatal injuries to workers.
Employers have a responsibility to report certain incidents and injuries under RIDDOR to the HSE. This can include the death of workers and non-workers that have arisen from a work-related accident.
According to HSE, a responsible person must submit the report under RIDDOR. This can include employers, self-employed persons, and people who have control over the work premises.
For more information about who should be informed if a fatal accident occurs at work, get in touch with our team.
A responsible person can make the report via the HSE website. Additionally, a report can be filed in the workplace accident book. A copy of this can be obtained at a later date to support a claim if one is made.
Other evidence could be collected to help support a potential claim, such as:
- Witness contact details
- Medical records, such as a post-mortem report
- Pictures of the scene of the accident
Additionally, it may be beneficial to seek legal representation. A solicitor can help with different aspects of the claims process such as collecting relevant evidence.
For more information on the steps that could be taken after a fatal accident occurs at work, please get in touch on the number above.
Under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 the estate of the deceased is able to bring forward a claim on behalf of the deceased for the deceased’s pain and suffering. The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (FAA) allows dependents to claim for the impact the death has had on them. The FAA defines a dependent as:
- A current or former wife, husband or civil partner
- Someone who lived with the deceased as a spouse for two years before their death
- A parent, another ascendant of the deceased or anyone who was treated as their parent
- A child, another descendant of the deceased or someone who was treated as their child
- The brother, sister, aunt or uncle of the deceased or any of their children
Additionally, certain dependents could be eligible to receive a bereavement award if they qualify. Qualifying relatives can include:
- A husband, wife or civil partner
- Someone who lived with the deceased as a spouse for two years before their death
- The parents of the deceased if they were a minor and unmarried
- The mother of the deceased if they were a minor, unmarried and born outside of wedlock.
Please continue reading to learn more about what could be awarded in a successful fatal accident claim. Alternatively, please get in touch with our team for more information on who could claim on behalf of the deceased after a fatal accident occurs at work.
After a successful fatal accident claim, compensation could be awarded for the pain and suffering of the deceased. This can be calculated by legal professionals using guidelines from the Judicial College. We have included figures from these guidelines in the table below.
|Fatality and Add-On Claims
|Up to and over £500,000
|Settlements can include compensation for the pain and suffering of the deceased. They can also include losses that affect dependents.
|£324,600 to £403,990
|(a) Award bracket acknowledges various factors such as life expectancy, awareness of disability and pain level.
|£219,070 to £284,260
|(b) The award given reflects factors such as the psychological impact and level of dependence on others.
|General Psychiatric Damage
|£54,830 to £115,730
|(a) Severe: The prognosis is very poor in these cases.
|£282,010 to £403,990
|(a) Very severe: The level of award given will depend on factors such as life expectancy, physical limitations and ability to communicate.
|£12,540 to £23,810
|(a) Full awareness: The person has full awareness for a short period after which there are fluctuating levels of consciousness for up to 5 weeks with death following up to 3 months after.
In addition, other forms of compensation can be claimed, such as:
- Bereavement award: This is an amount of £15,120 which can be awarded to certain qualifying relatives under Section 1A of the FAA.
- Financial dependency: This can cover loss of earnings both future and past if the family was dependent on the deceased’s income.
- Funeral expenses: This can include payment for a headstone.
For more information about the fatal accident compensation that could be awarded following a successful claim, please get in touch with an advisor.
You may benefit from working with a solicitor from our panel. They can offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis. They usually work under a Conditional Fee Agreement which means you typically won’t pay for their services if the claim fails. If the claim succeeds, your solicitor will take a success fee from your compensation. This fee is legally capped.
To learn more about working with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel, please get in touch with an advisor from our team. They can also provide further guidance on the steps that can be taken after a fatal accident occurs at work. For more information, you can:
Learn More About What To Do If A Fatal Accident Occurs At Work
Below, we have included links to some of our other guides as well as additional external resources that you may find beneficial:
- Do I Need A Lawyer If I Get Hurt At Work?
- I Had An Accident At Work, What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities?
- How Long After A Workplace Injury Can You Make A Claim?
- NHS- Grief after bereavement or loss
- GOV – Applying for probate
- HSE – Employer’s Responsibilities
For more information on the steps that can be taken after a fatal accident occurs at work, get in touch using the details provided.
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