Information about Fatal Accident Claims

Losing a loved one is always very painful and sometimes financial disaster is for those who depended on the deceased for subsistence. It can be of some small consolation to know that dependents may be entitled to financial compensation under a certain set of circumstances. This post will therefore explain the conditions under which you are entitled to make a fatal accident claim.

In 1846, the Fatal Accidents Act first recognised the right of dependents to bring fatal accident claims. This has since been consolidated by the Fatal Accidents Act of 1976 and the Administration of Justice Act of 1982. It is now understood that an estate’s executor may be compensated for losses suffered on behalf of the state. These may relate to funeral costs, the deceased’s pain or distress before death, or any financial losses suffered by the deceased before death (as a result of the accident).

To be considered a dependent you will need to satisfy the definition of a dependent laid out in the relevant statute or law. Furthermore, the claimant must be deemed to have had a reasonable expectation of financial benefit from the deceased in order to be a dependent.

Unfortunately, there are a number of categories of people who might consider themselves to be dependents, but who under the current law are not able to make any claim for compensation following such a fatal accident. Indeed, the Law Commission, in considering whether or not to extend the definition of dependent, acknowledges that there were a number of people who were suffering financially through not being able to make a claim, including:

• Co-habitants who lived together as husband and wife but did not satisfy the “two year rule”

• Non relatives who were living together in a non-marriage-like relationship

• Children who were not of the deceased but relied upon the deceased’s support during a marriage like relationship between their parent and the deceased

• Children, such as a friend’s children, who were otherwise supported by the deceased

Our personal injury team actually specialise in fatal injury claims and inquests – amongst the team’s accreditations are that we are one of only 15 solicitors’ practices in England and Wales appearing on the specialist AVMA Inquest Legal Services Panel. [AVMA, or Action against Medical Accidents, is the leading UK patient justice charity].

For a free initial phone call, and a free first appointment, contact our specialist Personal injury solicitors today – wherever you live in England and Wales.