Who can claim compensation following a fatal accident?
Compensation may be recovered on behalf of the estate of the accident victim for:
-The pain and distress suffered by the person who has died.
-Financial losses between the date of the accident and their death
-Funeral and other expenses.
A very substantial claim can often be made (under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976) by the dependants of the person who has been killed.
These cases are normally brought by the wife, husband, co-habitee, or dependent childrenof the person involved in the accident.
Our solicitors have years of experience in preparing fatal accident claims, and we also work closely with specialist barristers and experts to make sure that our clients get all the compensation they are entitled to.
How do I claim?
We’ll be able to tell you during the first call whether or not you should consider bringing a fatal accident claim.
We will then arrange to come out to meet you to discuss the case in detail, at a time and place that suits you.
We will then send a detailed letter of claim to those responsible for the accident giving an account of what happened and why we think they were at fault.
All parties to the claim have to abide by the terms of the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims, which encourages both sides to settle the case without court proceedings if possible.
If the insurers deny responsibility for the accident, or refuse to negotiate sensibly, we will advise you about the issue of court proceedings.
We usually arrange to meet with a specialist barrister at this stage so that we can review all the evidence.
Can I get help at an Inquest?
An inquest hearing is often needed after a fatal accident.
If you ask us to deal with your case, we will help with the inquest.
We will explain how the inquest process works, and we’ll represent you at the hearing.
The Coroner’s job at the inquest is to:
-Identify the person who has died
-Confirm the place and time of the death
-Consider how or why the person died
The Coroner will not normally blame anyone, and will not consider issues of compensation, but the evidence produced at the hearing may be helpful in connection with any claim.
Coroners are always helpful and considerate towards bereaved family members when conducting an inquest into a fatal accident but, even so, attending an inquest can be a difficult experience and our expert lawyers will do their best to help.
How much compensation could I get?
Funeral and other expenses:
The insurers for the responsible party are usually ordered to pay for funeral costs and any other expenses.
Dependency for children and spouses:
A dependent spouse and/or dependent children can claim compensation in respect of their financial dependency on the person who has been killed.
These claims can be very substantial, depending on the level of earnings involved and the ages of everyone concerned.
A fixed sum of compensation may also be payable to the husband or wife of the person involved in the fatal accident, or to the parents of a person who dies whilst they are still under the age of 18.
But this so-called “bereavement award” is currently fixed by law at the ridiculously low figure of £12,980.00.
Sadly, the amount of this award is regarded by many relatives (rightly in our view) as something of an insult.
How long will it take?
It is difficult to estimate how long a case will take when there has been a fatal accident.
Most fatal accident claims go on for 12-18 months from the initial call, but some take quite a while longer.
This is because:
-It can often take the Coroner a long time to investigate the case and conduct the Inquest
-It can take a long while to gather the evidence about finances
-It is often necessary to bring court proceedings against the responsible party – even though there may have been a tragic accident, the insurers for the responsible party will contest the case if they do not accept responsibility for the accident.
What we can guarantee is that we will get on with things as quickly as we can.
How much will it cost?
If you ask us to deal with a fatal accident claim we will discuss the fee arrangements clearly and carefully before asking you to sign our terms and conditions.
Although other fee arrangements are available, “no win no fee” is usually the best option for clients who need to pursue a claim arising from a fatal accident.
There are no “upfront” fees, no hidden charges, and we will never leave you out of pocket.
Most importantly, if you lose the case you pay nothing at all.
We have never had a complaint from a client in relation to fees.
Why choose Mulderrigs?
We have been dealing with fatal accident claims for over twenty five years.
We appreciate that things need to be dealt with very sensitively, so we will come to see you at a time and place that’s convenient for you and your family.
We promise to speak to you in plain English.
We won’t press you to go ahead with a claim – We’ll just give you straightforward advice, so that you can decide what you want to do.
We have held the Law Society’s LEXCEL quality mark since 2002. Only around 5% of law firms have achieved this recognition.
In our most recent survey 97% of our clients described our service as good or excellent.