Wrongful Death Or Fatal Accident Compensation Claim Guide – Who Can Claim Family Members? – How To Claim? Death Compensation Amounts

By Marianne Lovelace. Last Updated 12th March 2022. Welcome to our guide to making a wrongful death claim. In it, we look at fatal accident compensation in detail, explaining how family members could claim accidental death compensation if they’ve lost a loved one.

The death of a loved one is never going to be something that’s easy to deal with but when their life has been taken in a fatal accident or due to somebody else’s negligence, such as a motorcycle accident or assault, it could be even more difficult.

Getting Help With A Wrongful Death Claim

In either of these cases, there is a high probability that a compensation claim could be made by either a dependent of the deceased, a family member or the estate of the victim. In any of these cases, Advice can help to make a fatal accident compensation claim with you.

If you’d like to begin a claim today, please contact us on 0161 696 9685 so that one of our personal injury specialists can help you to begin a claim.

If you’d like to know more information first then please carry on reading this guide which will provide all the information that you may require prior to beginning your claim.

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A Guide To Wrongful Death And Fatal Accident Compensation Claims

The devastation of losing a loved one in a fatal accident or case of wrongful death is always going to be massive.  With no time to prepare for the death and little time to adjust to the new circumstances following the death, there is going to be a huge impact on the family and friends of the victim.

Of course, wrongful death compensation isn’t going to be the first thing on your mind following the death but at some point, as you begin to come to terms with everything that the death has caused, you may want to consider beginning a claim, especially if the victim was the main earner in the family.

Advice are personal injury specialists who are able to help you to begin a claim using a solicitor who’ll work on a No Win No Fee basis to make the claim a little bit less stressful for you.

This guide sets out to explain the definition of wrongful and fatal deaths, the accidents which commonly cause them, who can make claim, how much compensation for death can be claimed and what you can include in fatality claims.

We understand that making a claim is going to be a difficult process for you to go through so we won’t put any pressure on you and will always try to work at your pace at all times during the claim. We want to ensure that you receive the correct amount of compensation to enable you to cope a little better going forward.

What Is A Wrongful Death Or A Fatal Accident You Could Claim For?

This section looks at what fatal accidents are and how they differ from wrongful deaths. You can potentially claim for either if they were caused by the negligence of another. This could include fatalities caused by an employer, a motorist or your local council.

What Are Fatal Accidents?

A fatal accident is one where the victim is killed in an accident caused by a third party, with no fault on the part of the victim. This could be caused by a road traffic accident, a criminal act against the victim or an accident at work.

What Are Wrongful Deaths?

Wrongful deaths are slightly easier to define as they are caused by the negligence of another person and, again, there is no fault from the victim.

Examples of wrongful death include death during an operation or surgical procedure, which are examples of medical negligence, or death in a workplace where the machinery or equipment did not conform to regulations.

The difference is slight but in fatal accidents, it’s not always clear who is to blame for the accident whereas wrongful death it is much more clear that somebody is at fault for the fatality.

How Much Can I Claim For A Wrongful Death Or Fatal Accident?

You may have read about fatal accident compensation calculators on other sites but, in reality, the only way to get an accurate estimate is to speak with personal injury specialists who can assess your claim fully, which a calculator can’t do.

Every case is different and the impact on the claimant is unique in every case.  The table below outlines some of the bracketed compensation amounts that could be awarded for general damages (see the next section for more information). The figures below are from the Judicial College Guidelines, which legal professionals can use to help value claims. This is just one part of the claim and more parts may be included as well.

Reason for ClaimCompensation RangeFurther Notes
Death and financial loss£450,000+A payout like this would include dependency costs like loss of earnings and loss of pension, as well as an award for pain and suffering
Death (Full Awareness)£11,770 to £22,350Accident will be followed by full awareness for a short period. Death will occur within a couple of weeks to 3 months of the accident
Death (Followed by Unconsciousness)£9,870 to £10,010Short period of pain followed by unconsciousness after 3 hours and death after 2 weeks.
Death (Immediate Unconsciousness)£3,530 to £4,120Injury caused immediate unconsciousness, followed by death within 6 weeks.
Death (Immediate Unconsciousness)£1,290 to £2,620Injury caused immediate unconsciousness, followed by death within a week.
Mental Anguish£4,380Fear of impending death or a reduction in life expectation.

As you can see, there can be a lot of variance between cases, so to get a better estimate of what you may be able to claim, please call one of our team.

What Can My Fatal Accident Or Wrongful Death Claim Include?

Wrongful death compensation is made up of a number of different elements that can vary from case to case. A personal injury lawyer will assess the claim and decide which of these elements is relevant to the claim.

General Damages

This element is for the pain and suffering part of a claim. It is not for the pain suffered during the accident but the pain and suffering that the death has caused the claimant.

Special Damages

Special damages aims to compensate you for specific financial losses that you may have incurred as a result of your loved one’s wrongful death or fatal accident. This could include:

  • Loss of earnings – if you have needed to take time away from work.
  • Travel costs – such as for taxis to and from the hospital.
  • Care costs – for any care the deceased may have needed before their passing.

For fatal accidents, you may also be able to claim the following.

Funeral Costs

Funerals are not cheap, and, in the case of fatal accident compensation claims, they are completely unexpected costs which you may try to claim back following the accident.

Bereavement Award

We cover this in more detail in its own section later in this guide.

What Else Can You Be Compensated For After A Fatal Accident Or Wrongful Death?

As well as the damages that are listed above there are additional losses that can be claimed for when making wrongful death compensation claims including:

  • Emotional pain and mental anguish that is encountered by the claimant and the adverse effect on their day to day life.
  • Future lost earnings can also be claimed based on what the victim contributed towards the family income.
  • Loss of benefits can be claimed if any have stopped because of the death and the claimant would’ve benefited from them prior to the accident.
  • Long-term adverse effects that the accident has caused for the claimant such as loss of protection, loss of care and lost future inheritance.

As you can see, these types of claims have a lot of complex elements which need to be proven before they are paid out which is why we recommend you use a personal injury specialist like Advice when making a claim as we understand all of the supporting legislation and only use specialist personal injury solicitors to make the claim.

The Law And Wrongful Death Or Fatal Accident Claims

There is special legislation supporting fatal accident compensation claims, namely the Fatal Accident Act 1976, which details who may seek compensation following a fatality that was caused by somebody else.

Essentially it states that if a death is caused by any negligent reason where the victim would’ve been able to make a compensation claim themselves, had they not died, then the person responsible can still be liable for damages claimed by relatives of the victim.

Who Is Eligible To Make A Wrongful Death Compensation Claim?

The parties that can make a wrongful death compensation claim are:

  • The spouse (or ex-spouse) of the victim
  • Children including blood relatives, adoptees, stepchildren (through marriage or civil partnerships)
  • A partner who has been co-habiting with the victim (effectively as their husband or wife) for over 2 years before the death.
  • Parents, grandparents, great grandparents and anybody else who was treated as a parent by the victim
  • Other relatives including siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces.

If you’re in any doubt about whether you’re eligible to make a fatal injury claim, please get in touch and we’ll assess your claim with you.

Can I Make A Bereavement Award Claim?

A bereavement award is separate to the compensation for death claimed for as described above. It is a set amount of £15,120.

As per the Fatal Accident Act 1976, bereavement awards may be payable to:

  • Wife, husband or civil partner of the deceased
  • Cohabiting partner of the deceased
  • Parents of the deceased

Common Accidents In Which A Fatal Accident Can Happen

Over the next few sections, we’re going to cover the most common fatal accidents that lead to compensation claims. We understand that other accidents happen, so don’t worry if the accident you want to claim for isn’t listed as we can help with any claim, so long as there was somebody else responsible.

Fatal Road Traffic Accidents Claims

Road traffic accidents happen every day in the UK but, in the most serious cases, they can lead to fatalities of one or more people in the car, pedestrians or cyclists.

Due to the nature of the accident, the police will investigate the accident but as with any road traffic accident, ensure that you obtain as many contact details from the other driver as possible.

If the other driver caused the accident, then a fatal accident compensation claim can be made by the people listed in the previous section.

Fatal Accident At Work Claims – Could You Claim Workplace Death Compensation

Not every accident at work would be eligible for a compensation payment but cases where it can be clearly proven that a colleague or your employer were negligent in some way would be eligible.

Examples of how an employer could be negligent include:

  • No, or inappropriate, personal protective equipment (PPE) was provided when the accident occurred.
  • Staff had inadequate training or were not made aware of the risks involved.
  • Machinery or tools were damaged, faulty or poorly maintained.
  • If risk assessments had not been conducted prior to the task being undertaken.

Some examples of accidents at work that could lead to fatalities include:

  • Work vehicle accidents where a passenger, driver or bystander are fatally wounded.
  • Roofing or scaffolding falls.
  • Machinery related deaths.
  • Slips or trips that result in a fatality.
  • Asbestos-related cancer

Health and safety investigations and coroners reports should identify how the fatal accident occurred but if you are in any doubt or suspect the employer was negligent then please contact one of our team to discuss your options.

Medical Negligence Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death compensation claims due to medical negligence can be complex cases to prove which will usually require specialist medical advice to support the claim.

Examples of cases where fatalities can be caused by negligence include:

  • Death at a care home where negligence was the cause
  • Childbirth fatalities caused by negligence to either the mother or baby
  • Misdiagnosis or late diagnosis of a condition such as cancer
  • Surgical negligence during an operation
  • Death during cosmetic surgery

Other examples of medical negligence exist so please get in touch if you believe you have a valid claim for wrongful death compensation due to clinical negligence.

Fatal Accident Claims Against A Local Authority Or Council

As with other claims for fatal accident compensation, if the local authority or council caused the accident in some way, then you would be entitled to claim against them as well.

For the council to be held responsible, it would have to be proven that the cause of the accident was something which they should’ve been aware of or taken steps to prevent it from causing an accident.

Examples include:

  • Uneven pavements that cause the victim to fall and be fatally injured
  • Trees or branches falling on the victim as trees should be assessed by the council
  • An accident in a council run park or community area which was caused by damaged equipment.

To prove the council liable may be difficult but a coroner’s report may already indicate that they were to blame. To check if your claim is valid, then please contact one of our advisers today.

Fatal Accident Compensation Claim Time Limits

All personal injury claims in the UK are subject to strict time limits which means you must submit your claim on time otherwise it will be automatically rejected.

The current time limits in the UK are:

Accident TypeTime limit
Fatal Accident3 years
Wrongful Death3 years

However, we recommend starting your claim as soon as possible after the death. If you would like to make a claim with us, the solicitors on our panel can help guide you through the claims process and work hard to ensure you get as much compensation as may be possible.

How To Begin A Fatal Accident Or Wrongful Death Claim

Wrongful Death Claim

Fatal Accident Claims Guide

To begin your claim, the first step is to call us and discuss what happened and how it has affected you. We know that it will be difficult for you to recall the details surrounding the death of your loved one all over again, so we’ll work at your pace to ensure you don’t feel pressured at any point.

We offer free legal advice, so even if you’re not sure if you want to begin a claim yet or have concerns about how the claim works, you should still get in touch so we can point you in the right direction.

We’ll ascertain the key parts of what happened including who was fatally injured, where the accident happened, where it happened, who you believe caused the accident and then we’ll discern whether you’re an eligible person to be making the claim.

Once we’ve gathered all of the information, we’ll assess everything thoroughly and advise you if you have a valid claim for compensation or not. We don’t want to mislead you at this traumatic time so will always assess claims honestly and let you know what we think you should do next.

If we approve of your claim, and you’re happy to continue, we’ll connect you with a personal injury solicitor who will work with you on a no win no fee basis.

No Win No Fee Fatal Accident And Wrongful Death Claims

Following the death of a loved one, the last thing you’ll want is a large legal bill for making a compensation claim. This is why we only work with solicitors who offer a No Win No Fee service.

When you sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA – or No Win No Fee agreement), it will specify a success fee which is a percentage of any compensation that will be given to the solicitor if they win the case. This is limited to a maximum of 25%.

If they lose the case, you don’t pay them anything at all for their service, but if they win the compensation for you then they retain their success fee and then send the rest of the compensation straight to you.

Other alternatives to No Win No Fee include agreements where you pay the solicitor for their service and time yourself and you keep 100% of any compensation. However, if they lose the case, you still have to pay their fees, which can mount up to large amounts in wrongful death compensation claims.

We only work on a No Win No Fee basis as we believe it is the most risk-free and stress-free way to make a claim.

Why Make A Wrongful Death Claim With Advice?

Our team are specially trained in helping with personal injury claims and understand what information is, and isn’t, required when assessing a claim – so they won’t waste your time with pointless questions.

We understand how difficult a time it must be when making a compensation claim following the death of a family member so will always work at a pace that is comfortable to you and in a friendly but professional manner.

When you contact us, we’ll work through the following process:

  • You make contact with us following the fatal accident.
  • One of our advisors will assess the potential success of your claim after you’ve provided the relevant details.
  • If you could be eligible, and once you’re ready, our advisors will connect you with a solicitor from our panel.

Our team are dedicated to getting you the correct amount of compensation for you and will work tirelessly to help you throughout the case. We’ll be available throughout to answer any questions and to provide free legal advice should you need it.

Calling Our Advisors About Accidental Death Compensation

Hopefully, now you’ve read this entire guide, you’re happy to choose Advice to help begin your compensation claim.  If so, you can contact us in any of these ways:

Advice are personal injury specialists and can help with fatal accident claims anywhere in the UK. We only work with solicitors who offer No Win No Fee services so you can be sure you’re not going to end up with a large legal bill if your claim fails.

When you contact us, we’ll start by offering a free initial consultation to assess your claim and provide you with honest advice about whether you have a good chance of successfully being awarded compensation for a death.

Related Guides And Information To Fatal Accident Compensation Claims

Finally, we’ve provided some further articles that you may find helpful while deciding if you’re going to make a claim or not.

Bereavement Guide – A guide from the charity MIND, about the effects of bereavement and the effects it has on us.

FAQ On Accidental Death Compensation

How common are claims for accidental death compensation made for road traffic accidents?

If you’re looking to claim accidental death compensation for the loss of a loved one in a road traffic accident, you might be wondering how common such claims could be. We could not give you accurate statistics on this, but we can offer some statistics relating to the number of fatal accidents on Great Britain’s roads in 2020-21. These provisional figures released by the Department for Transport for the period ending June 2021 are replicated below.

Road Casualties Chart

Road Casualties Chart

How is workplace death compensation calculated?

If you’re looking to claim accidental death compensation for a fatal workplace accident, you might be wondering how to calculate compensation. Fatal accident compensation settlements depend on the facts surrounding the case. In some cases, you could claim for your bereavement and the loss of financial support you would have received had your loved one not passed away.

This is because the main principle of such claims is to return claimants to the position they would have been in should the breach of duty not have caused the person’s death. If you would like to discuss the compensation you could claim in detail, we would be happy to talk to you.

Can you claim compensation for grief?

If you’re grieving after the loss of a loved one and looking to make a wrongful death claim, we should remind you that it could be possible to claim a bereavement award. If you witnessed the accident that killed your loved one, you could also be suffering from psychological damage. Please speak to our team if this is the case to see if you could claim.

We hope you found this fatal accident claims guide helpful. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any further queries about how to make a wrongful death claim.