Claiming Compensation For A Death By Careless Driving

By Danielle Nicholson. Last Updated 1st June 2023. Welcome to our guide on claiming for death by careless driving. Although there are fewer casualties on UK roads now than in 1979, there are still accidents on the road each year in which people sadly lose their lives. If you have suffered the loss of a family member or a loved one to dangerous driving, then you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Death by careless driving

Death by careless driving

We have written this page to inform people in your situation about making compensation claims for fatal car accidents. We understand that no amount of compensation can undo the grief you are feeling at the loss of your loved one. However, the compensation available could help you deal with some aspects of losing a loved one that you may not have anticipated.

There generally is a three-year time limit to start legal proceedings for these kinds of claims. There are some exceptions to this which our team will be happy to go over with you. However, it’s never advised to wait until the last minute to start your claim for compensation. We recommend that you get the process started as soon as possible.

If you would like to find out more about claiming compensation for the death of a loved one in a road traffic accident, we can help. Get in touch with us using our contact form, our pop-up messenger box, or by calling 0161 696 9685.

Select A Section

  1. The Criteria For Making A Claim For Death By Careless Driving
  2. Death By Careless Driving – How Much Could A Claim Be Worth?
  3. Types Of Damages Awarded For Fatal Accidents And Injuries
  4. What Is A Death By Careless Driving?
  5. Causing Death By Dangerous Driving- What Do You Need To Prove?
  6. Careless Driving Through Speeding
  7. Careless Driving Through Drink Or Drugs
  8. Accidents Caused By Texting Whilst Driving
  9. Dangerous Driving In Work Vehicles
  10. Make A No Win No Fee Claim For A Death By Careless Driving
  11. Speak To Our Specialist Team
  12. Related Road Accident Claims Guides

The Criteria For Making A Claim For Death By Careless Driving

If you lost a loved one due to death by careless driving, you might be eligible to claim compensation. Firstly, you will need to prove that your loved one’s death was a direct result of a breach in the duty of care they were owed while on the roads. Later in this guide, we examine this.

Only certain people can make a car accident claim on behalf of the deceased. For the first six months following their passing, the estate can claim for the deceased’s pain and suffering under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934.

After this point, under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, certain dependents could be eligible to claim death by careless driving compensation following the passing of a loved one.

Dependants under the Fatal Accidents Act include:

  • The current or former spouse or civil partner of the deceased.
  • A person living with the deceased as a spouse for at least two years before their death.
  • The parent, or someone treated as a parent, such as a stepparent or former step-parent as long as the deceased treated them as a parent.
  • A child of the deceased, or someone treated as a child by the deceased, such as a stepchild. Stepchildren from a previous marriage or civil partnership may also be able to claim as long as the deceased treated them as children.
  • Siblings of the deceased, or their aunt, uncle, or cousins.

If you have any questions about a compensation payout for a fatal accident, call our advisors. They provide free legal advice without an obligation to proceed with our services.

Is There A Time Limit For Fatal Car Accident Claims?

If you are making a fatal accident claim on behalf of a deceased loved one, you will need to ensure that you start your claim within the relevant time limit. A claim can be started within three years of the deceased’s date of death.

Alternatively, it can be started within three years of the date of knowledge. This is when their fatal injury was first connected with negligence and can be formed from the date of a postmortem or inquest.

It is important to note that for all fatal car accident claims, only the deceased’s estate can bring forward a claim for the first six months after their death. After this point, the deceased’s dependents can bring forward their own claim for how the death has impacted them.

For more information on fatal accident claims for death by dangerous driving, you can contact our advisors.

Death By Careless Driving – How Much Could A Claim Be Worth?

There are no fixed or set figures for compensation in a fatal accident claim. It will be calculated according to the specific details of your case and will be dependent on various different factors. These factors may include:

  • Whether you are claiming as the estate or a dependent of the deceased
  • Your financial needs, if you were financially dependent on the deceased
  • The circumstances surrounding their death
  • The suffering you experienced as a result of their passing

If you are claiming for injuries that your loved one had suffered before their death, then legal professionals will consult the figures in the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG).

We have included a table with some JCG listings for injuries resulting in, or prior to death. This is not a guarantee of what will be awarded in your claim, nor fully reflective of the injuries you are able to claim for but does show how compensation can be awarded in a death by careless driving claim.

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Injury Notes Compensation bracket
Death plus add-ons The deceased’s pain and suffering as well as the financial impacts on dependents could be considered. £550,000
Tetraplegia/Quadriplegia Compensation will be impacted by the deceased’s life expectancy and awareness. £324,600 to
£403,990
Paraplegia As with tetraplegia, pain, awareness and life expectancy as well as the mental impact will affect the award. £219,070 to
£284,260
Very severe brain damage When very severe, the deceased would have demonstrated very little response to their environment from the time of their fatal injury until their death. £282,010 to £403,990
Severe psychological damage From the time of their injury until their death, the deceased could not cope with personal relationships and life. £54,830 to £115,730
Death – full awareness There’s a short period of awareness following severe burns and lung damage before their death. £12,540 to £23,810

There are several types of financial losses and costs you could be able to claim compensation for. For example, in a claim for death through dangerous driving then the settlement could include compensation for:

  • Funeral costs
  • The deceased’s future loss of earnings
  • Childcare costs

If you would like to learn about what you could personally be able claim for, then please reach out to one of our advisers to discuss your claim and learn more about what you can do following a death by careless driving in the UK.

Types Of Damages Awarded For Fatal Accidents And Injuries

When you receive a compensation payment for death caused by dangerous driving, it will cover a number of different factors. For instance, as we have already touched upon, you could receive compensation for the pain and suffering that your loved one experienced before they passed away.

You may also be able to claim compensation for future loss of earnings if you were financially dependent on the person who passed away. If they experienced a loss of earnings between the accident and their death, you could claim this on their behalf. You may also be able to claim compensation for care costs or the cost of arranging a funeral.

The process of working out damages following a fatal accident can be daunting. We would recommend that you get in touch with our team to see how much you could be owed.

What Is A Death By Careless Driving?

If your loved one has been killed because of the careless driving of another road user, then you could be entitled to claim compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance. As we’ve already touched upon, this compensation could cover you for the pain and suffering of the victim. Your own mental state in the aftermath of the accident and any funeral expenses you have had to pay will be taken into consideration, too.

Death caused by driving consists of four different offences. These are causing death by dangerous driving, causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drugs or while drunk, causing death by inconsiderate or careless driving and causing death while driving disqualified, unlicensed or uninsured.

When a driver causes death by dangerous driving, it means that their driving was so bad that it created a clear risk of danger. The level of responsibility for careless driving can vary greatly, however. Careless driving can be something as seemingly innocuous as turning on the radio.

Causing Death By Dangerous Driving – What Do You Need To Prove?

If your loved one died due to another driver’s dangerous driving, you might be able to make a fatal accident claim. However, you will be expected to prove that your loved one was owed a duty of care under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and it was a breach of this that caused their fatal injuries.

Evidence that could be used for a death caused by dangerous driving claim could include:

  • Police records.
  • Medical records.
  • Witness contact details.
  • CCTV, dashcam and mobile phone footage.
  • Statements from other emergency responders.

You may wish to contact a lawyer to help you gather the evidence that proves your loved one’s death caused by the dangerous driving of another party.

Call our advisors to discuss what evidence could be submitted in a death caused by dangerous driving claim.

Careless Driving Through Speeding

In 2019, there were 1,421 fatal accidents with a contributory factor assigned on roads in Great Britain. Of these, 215 (or 15%) were caused, at least in part, by a driver exceeding the speed limit.

Drivers are expected to adhere to the speed limit of the road they are on. This is outlined in the Highway Code. The national speed limit of 30mph applies to all single and dual carriageways with street lights at the side. This applies unless there are signs to indicate otherwise.

If your loved one has been killed on the road by a driver exceeding the speed limit, you may be able to claim. Get in touch with our team today for more information.

Careless Driving Through Drink Or Drugs

It is against the law to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These can be illegal drugs such as cannabis and cocaine. It may also include some prescription drugs that impair your ability to drive, like strong painkillers such as codeine.

If you are prescribed medication by your doctor, you should speak to them and see whether your ability to drive will be affected by it. Never drive if you are under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

This is because the effects of being intoxicated or high on drugs can impair the ability to drive safely. Driving under the influence could result in a fine, suspension of a driver’s licence, or arrest. If someone has caused the death of your loved one through careless driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you could claim compensation.

Accidents Caused By Texting Whilst Driving

It is unlawful to use a mobile phone while driving for anything other than calling 999 or 112 in an emergency when it’s unsafe or not practical to stop. This could cause a distraction that stops a driver from paying attention to the road around them. In turn, this could result in a road traffic accident.

For example, an HGV accident could be caused by the driver looking at their phone, meaning they fail to see traffic slowing ahead. In a vehicle of such size, even minor bumps can cause serious injuries.

A driver could be stopped by the police and given a fine or points on their licence for using their mobile phone while driving. Causing a fatal accident by using their phone while driving could result in them being given a prison sentence of up to five years. You could be entitled to make a claim if another driver’s use of a mobile phone while driving caused the fatal accident in which your loved one passed away.

Dangerous Driving In Work Vehicles

If your loved one was killed while driving at work or in a work vehicle, their employer could be liable. This would be the case if the accident was caused by the employer providing them with a faulty vehicle. It may also be because the employer did not provide them with the training they required in order to be able to drive the vehicle safely.

If your loved one was killed in an accident with a vehicle used by another business, then that employer could be liable for the accident. They would face liability if the accident was caused by an unsafe vehicle. They could also be liable if the accident was caused by a lack of training of the person driving the vehicle.

The use of vehicles while working would fall under their responsibilities under the Health And Safety At Work Act 1974. This act states that it’s an employer’s responsibility to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the safety of their employees. They should do this by ensuring that all equipment and vehicles provided to the employees are safe to use and well-maintained. Failure to do so, resulting in a fatal car accident, could result in a compensation claim against the employer.

Make A No Win No Fee Claim For A Death By Careless Driving

Making a claim following a fatal accident can be an upsetting and distressing time. As a result, you may want to have a personal injury solicitor to help you process your claim, although this isn’t a legal requirement. 

With a No Win No Fee agreement, you won’t be asked to pay your solicitor anything in order for them to start your claim, or while it’s ongoing. You also won’t be asked to pay them if you don’t win your claim.

The only time you will be asked to cover your solicitor’s costs is if your claim succeeds. In this event, a small success fee would be deducted from your compensation amount. This is agreed upon beforehand and legally capped. As a result, you will always receive the majority of the compensation awarded to you.

Speak To Our Specialist Team

If you would like to know more about making a claim for compensation following a fatal accident that caused the death of a loved one, we could help. Simply get in touch with our team today for free legal advice on claiming. If they feel your claim has a good chance of success, they may be able to connect you with a personal injury lawyer from our panel.

Related Road Accident Claims Guides

Advice about making car accident claims for accidents caused by mud

How to prove your car accident injuries

Advice on making car accident claims

Website of the Motor Insurance Bureau

The Highway code

Thank you for reading our guide on claiming compensation for death by careless driving.

Guide by KT

Published by NS