Receiving the news of the unexpected death of a loved one can be devastating, regardless of the circumstances. If their death was caused by careless driving, that grief is often mixed with feelings of anger and a sense of helplessness brought about by having questions to which you may never get the answers. While compensation may be the last thing on your mind at the time, it is often a practical consideration and something that unfortunately needs to be considered sooner or later.
During the course of this guide to claiming compensation for death by careless driving, we’ll at when claims might be possible. Additionally, we’ll look at what constitutes careless driving and what sorts of damages you could claim.
We understand how difficult it will be to talk with a stranger about the death of a family member. Therefore, our specially trained advisors will carry out your free initial consultation at a pace you’re happy with. There will be no pressure and you’ll be under no obligation to continue. If you decide to take action, we could appoint a personal injury solicitor from our team. They’ll provide their services on a No Win No Fee basis meaning you only need to pay for their work if compensation is awarded. Throughout the claims process, they’ll handle everything for you so that your involvement is as limited as possible.
If you would like to talk to us about what options are available, please call today on 0800 6524 881. For additional information on death by careless driving compensation claims, please continue reading.
Table of contents
- Am I Eligible To Claim Compensation For Death By Careless Driving?
- Evidence To Support Death By Careless Driving Compensation Claims
- Forms Of Careless Driving That Could Lead To A Compensation Claim
- How Much Compensation For Death By Careless Driving?
- Time Limits For Death By Careless Driving Compensation Claims
- How Our Solicitors Can Help With Death By Careless Driving Compensation Claims
Unfortunately, our solicitors can’t take on every claim that is presented to them. They do need to check that a reasonable chance of success exists before starting work on any case. Therefore, when checking your eligibility to claim compensation, they’ll look to see whether:
- The defendant in the case caused the incident due to careless driving (negligence); and
- Your loved one died as a direct result of that incident.
The law which governs these types of personal injury claims is the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. It is important to note that claims can be made regardless of any criminal action taken by the police. The law allows for a few different types of claims which we’ll review briefly now.
Anybody who was dependent on the income of the deceased might be eligible to make a dependency claim following a fatal accident. The value of the claim would be based on their income level as well as any other benefits their employment provided. This could include private healthcare cover, a company car, and also future pension benefits as well.
Within the Fatal Accidents Act, those that can make a dependency claim include:
- A spouse, an ex-spouse, or civil partner.
- Blood children and/or other descendants. Other descendants could include children through marriage, or civil partnership, and adopted children.
- Any individual who lived with the deceased in the same household immediately before their death, for a period of at least two years, and was living that whole period as their wife, their husband, or their civil partner.
- Parents or ascendants. Ascendants might be any grandparents, any great grandparents, and anybody who was treated by the deceased as their parent.
- Sister, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces.
Importantly, each of these would need to prove how they were financially dependent when claiming.
A separate bereavement payment is also available. The payment amount was increased on 1st May 2020 from £12,980 to £15,120.
This award is only available to one of the following:
- The deceased’s spouse/civil partner.
- A co-habiting partner who was living with the deceased in the same household immediately before their death, for a period of at least two years, and was living that whole period as their wife, their husband, or their civil partner.
- The mother of a child (under 18 years old) if illegitimate.
- The parents of a child (under 18 years old) if legitimate.
Where a claim is paid to parents, it will be split equally.
Following the death of a loved one due to careless or dangerous driving, there are probably going to be some immediate expenses. This could include the cost associated with their care if they didn’t die immediately after the accident or the cost of managing their estate after death. Additionally, funeral expenses could be paid in your compensation claim.
It is important to consider these costs carefully as they can escalate quite quickly. For example, the cost of a funeral has increased a lot over recent years. You shouldn’t have to suffer financially because of somebody else’s negligence so one of our solicitors will work with you to ensure everything is reviewed before filing your death by careless driving claim.
Finally, there are some cases where you could claim for the loss of any financial support you (and your dependents) would have received had your loved one not died.
This can be a complex element of any claim that might be linked with payments from the Department of Work and Pensions. Therefore, we’d advise that you discuss this with your solicitor.
If your claim is taken on, your solicitor will try to gather evidence to prove how the other driver’s carelessness caused the accident in which your loved one died. There are many forms of evidence that can be used. They include:
- Investigation reports. If a death occurs on the roads, police investigators will take time to investigate how and why the accident happened. They will use modelling techniques, review CCTV footage, and speak to witnesses to try and ascertain what happened.
- Coroner’s reports. Any unexplained death will be investigated by a coroner. Their role is to ascertain the cause of death. This can be important in a compensation claim because, without evidence, an insurer could argue that the deceased was suffering from another condition and that the accident was not the primary cause of death.
- Witness statements. Your solicitor may ask anybody who saw the accident to provide a statement. Their recollection of events could help prove liability for the accident if it is denied by the defendant.
- Camera footage. If an accident is caught on camera, your solicitor could use the footage as further evidence of how the accident took place.
We are now going to review what actions could result in death by careless driving compensation claim. Don’t be concerned if the example you’re looking for is not listed. This list is not comprehensive and we could still help you to claim. The examples include:
- Where the other driver was distracted by a mobile phone, sat nav, radio, or another device.
- If the defendant failed to follow traffic signs or traffic lights.
- Where the other driver was speeding.
- If the other driver was tired and fell asleep at the wheel.
- Drink or drug driving.
- Where the driver was driving the wrong way down a one-way street.
Again, these are just some examples of how careless driving could result in a compensation claim. If you’d like to check whether you have grounds to start a compensation claim, please call today.
The amount of compensation for death by careless driving you might receive depends on several different factors. Essentially, each claim is totally unique and therefore compensation payments can vary. If your claim is taken on our personal injury solicitors will factor everything in and then calculate what compensation amount you should claim for.
If your claim is successful, you could receive compensation for:
- General damages for your emotional suffering and bereavement at the death of a loved one;
- Medical expenses incurred, as an example in attempting life-saving treatment;
- Special damages, which encompasses general financial losses resulting from the accident, as well as loss of future household income;
- Expenses related to the funeral and burial services;
- Cost of short or long term child care if you now need to go to work.
One thing you should be careful about is accepting any out-of-court settlement by the driver’s insurance company. No matter how much they may offer, you can be almost certain it will be lower than what a personal injury solicitor could get you. Before agreeing to anything with an insurance company, it is always a good idea to take the opportunity of a free consultation speak with an experienced personal injury solicitor first.
In any fatal accident claim, you’ll have 3-years from the date of death to start your claim. The only exception to this is where the deceased was alive for 3-years following the accident. In this example, unfortunately, a claim wouldn’t likely be possible. However, it’s always best to seek expert advice from our solicitors as there may be exceptions in some circumstances.
The time it will take to settle a death by careless driving compensation claim will vary. If the defendant takes full responsibility for the accident and the death quickly, a settlement could be agreed upon in less than a year. Where additional investigation or negotiation is required, the claim might take over a year.
We would suggest that you start your claim as soon as you’re ready to. Your solicitor will be grateful for any extra time you can give them to work on your case. That’s because they will need to complete several tasks before claiming compensation such as requesting police reports or medical evidence.
To check how long you’ve got left to claim, please call today.
We realise how difficult the claims process will be when claiming compensation for the death of a family member. Therefore, if we take your claim on, your solicitor will try to do everything possible so you don’t need to be involved too much.
Most claims will be made against the defendant’s insurance policy. That means you’ll need to convince the insurer of why their client was liable for your loved one’s death. If this isn’t done successfully, you may not receive any compensation at all.
We believe that your best chance of achieving a positive outcome in your case is to have one of our specialist personal injury solicitors represent you. When dealing with your claim, your solicitor will shield you from the insurer’s legal or medical questions by answering them for you.
They will also try to counter any queries or objections by using their legal expertise and by providing extra evidence where needed.
If you would like to discuss a death by careless driving compensation claim with a personal injury solicitor, please call us today on 0800 6524 881.