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A fatal accident is a catastrophic event altering the lives of the victim's families forever. Most families not only suffer emotionally as a result of the loss of a loved one but their financial circumstances may change considerably resulting in unexpected hardship. Our fatal accident solicitors can help you to alleviate the financial stress by dealing with a compensation claim on your behalf. Our specialist personal injury solicitors are members of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts and your claim will be made using the risk free no win no fee* scheme.

The calculation of a fatal accident compensation claim is complex, especially where it involves the self-employed, directors of owner managed businesses and professional persons. The value of dependency claims can be substantial and each must be considered individually. Our fatal accident solicitors have detailed experience in preparing claims and they also call upon the services of forensic accountants who have specialist knowledge in identifying the contentious issues to prepare reasoned reports to assist in bringing and substantiating a claim.

Our fatal accident solicitors deal with compensation claims using the no win no fee* scheme. We operate the no win no fee* scheme otherwise known as a conditional fee agreement. No legal charge is payable unless the legal case is won and the client obtains an award of compensation. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client. Our lawyers take care of everything on your behalf and will not ask you to finance the claim as it proceeds. Our claims are totally risk free. For free advice from a fatal accident solicitor with no further obligation just complete the contact form or use the helpline.

Car Accidents & Workplace Injury

A fall from height is the most common cause of a fatal accident compensation claim while the next most frequent is involvement in a road traffic accident. Statistics show that the majority of fatalities occur in the workplace; especially within the construction and agriculture industries.

Compensation Claim Categories

Compensation that can be recovered by a fatal accident solicitor includes the statutory payment for bereavement which is a fixed sum together with funeral expenses and associated expenses. If the deceased had dependents a claim can also be made to cover loss of services and financial support including the former contribution to family income that the dependent parties relied on. In addition compensation may also be claimed for the deceaseds pain and suffering as a result of the accident and certain other losses associated with the death. A `dependent' is anyone who has evidence that they relied on the deceased for financial support that would have continued if the deceased was still alive which can include a spouse, a civil partner, a cohabiting person, parents and both ligitimate and illigitimate children.

    Victims Claim

    The first part of the fatal accident compensation claim is the victim's own claim. This includes compensation for the physical and emotional pain, incapacity and distress that the victim suffered. Where the victim died immediately or never regained consciousness, little or no compensation will be awarded as pain and suffering will have been minimal. This part of the fatal accident claim also includes damages for the victim's financial losses between the date of injury and the date of death, together with the funeral expenses.

    Anyone who is injured in an accident caused by the negligence of a third party is entitled to bring a claim for compensation for pain and suffering and the situation is no different following a fatality except that the claim for the deceaseds pain and suffering is instigated by the beneficiaries of the estate who are usually represented by a solicitor acting on behalf of the executor (if there is a will) or the administrator (if there is no will or if the will did not appoint an executor) of the estate. The calculation of damages for pain and suffering in a fatal accident claim follows the same course as it would have had the deceased survived and a judge considers matters and is guided in assessment of the award by personal experience, by the amount of awards in similar cases and by government guidelines published by The Judicial Studies Board. The judge will also consider representations put forward by lawyers acting on behalf of both the deceased's estate and the negligent third party. Fatal accident solicitors frequently refer to an authoritive publication that outlines recent damages awards which is available in most public libraries called Kemp & Kemp: The Quantum of Damages?. If the victim died instantaneously without regaining consciousness then there will be minimal compensation awarded for pain and suffering. The victims own claim for fatal accident compensation also includes any other financial losses effectively sustained by the victim between the date of the accident and the date of death. Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 as amended by section 3(1) of the Administration of Justice Act 1982 the representatives of the deceased can also claim reasonable funeral expenses.

    Dependants Claim

    The second part of the fatal accident claim is that brought under the provisions of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 as amended by section 3(1) of the Administration of Justice Act 1982, which allows claims to be brought by the dependants of an individual who dies as a result of any wrongful act, negligence or default by another party, for the loss of financial support. Dependants are specifically defined by the 1976 Act, and they include the surviving spouse or co-habitee of the opposite sex who has lived with the victim for more than 2 years, children or parents, persons treated as children or parents, grandchildren or grandparents. Compensation is awarded for the loss of the victim's support since his or her death which consists of that portion of the deceased's contribution to the family earnings which he would not have spent exclusively on himself, together with compensation for any services that the victim provided, such as childcare, domestic assistance, gardening or DIY. In addition to the dependency claim a statutory sum for bereavement is payable to the spouse of the deceased or to the parents of a deceased minor.

    Statutory Award For Bereavement

    The bereavement award made under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 as amended by s.3 of the Administration of Justice Act 1982 is a statutory lump sum payable by a negligent third party (in the event of a successful claim) to the family of the deceased including a partner, children or spouse. It is intended by government that the sum payable be linked to the Retail Prices Index. The amount determined by law that can be currently recovered as the bereavement award in a fatal accident compensation claim is £12,980.

Forensic Accountants

Our fatal accident solicitors are experienced in dealing with complex compensation claims however they may find it necessary to call upon the expertise of specialist forensic accountants to prove actual financial losses and to assess the extent of dependency to assist the claim for compensation on behalf of the dependents. Forensic accounting is the combination of a specialist accountants knowledge with investigative skills that have been gained from years of practical experience to estimate financial losses that would otherwise be difficult to determine.

Coroners Inquest

A Coroners Inquest is an enquiry into the cause of death and is carried out in the event of a violent or unnatural death or sudden death or death by an unknown cause or in the case of a person who dies in prison. The purpose is to establish how, when and where the deceased died rather than to determine blame. The Coroner usually sits alone however a jury is also involved if death occurs in prison or Police custody or where it has resulted from an accident, poisoning or disease. The hearing tales place in open court and the usual rules of evidence apply, witnesses may be called and the family may be represented by an advocate. The outcome of a Coroners Inquest in a fatal accident case is usually determined as accident or misadventure or in unusual cases is an open verdict. The verdict can be financially important to surviving family members such as in the case of a deceased whose life was insured if there is some question of whether the death was caused by suicide or accident and in those cases consideration should be given to legal representation at the Coroners Inquest by a specialist fatal accident solicitor.

Selecting the Right Fatal Accident Solicitor

A claimant who is looking for a fatal accident solicitor to deal with a compensation claim should ensure that the firm chosen has substantial experience and detailed knowledge in this particular field. A cursory look in Yellow Pages will show that there is an abundance of choices available when it comes to personal injury solicitors who will take on accident work. There are also numerous unqualified claims management companies adverting on TV and radio. With so many potential representatives it becomes difficult for a claimant to be sure that they are making the right choice of firm to deal properly with a fatal accident compensation claim. There is a growing divide between legal firms who casually work on personal injury claims as part of a very wide practice and those who have built their firms from the ground up specifically to service clients who have been involved in accidents. There are even fewer firms of solicitors who deal with fatal accident compensation claims that have the experience and expertise required to ensure an award of maximum compensation.

Solicitors Regulation Authority Panel of Personal Injury Experts

Don't be fooled into thinking that a firms size and the number of staff working on injury claims is enough proof to show that they are experts in this particular area of the law. Legal firms that have made it a policy to handle a large number of injury claims do risk employing incompetent staff, who could be unqualified for the job and to make matters worse supervision may be inadequate. Factory style lawyers operating on slim margins can be risky and often make clients feel like they are not being given the care and attention they deserve. Small specialist personal injury firms, on the other hand are often staffed with highly qualified, motivated, competent individuals. If you are looking for an experienced fatal accident solicitor we offer you lawyers who are members of both the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts and of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. Our risk free claims are dealt with using the no win no fee* scheme. To obtain free advice from a specialist personal injury solicitor, without further obligation, just complete the contact form or phone us on our helpline.

Fatal Accident Solicitor

Our fatal accident solicitors operate the no win no fee* scheme otherwise known as a conditional fee agreement. No legal charge is payable unless the legal case is won and the client obtains an award of compensation. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client. If you would like free advice on compensation claims just use the helpline or complete the contact form and a member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts will speak to you on the telephone with no further obligation.



*Legal Information

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here