Losing a loved one in an accidental death is no doubt a horrible and massively upsetting experience. While compensation won’t ever help with the loss you’ve suffered, accidental death compensation can reduce the financial pressure you might have to deal with and allow you to deal with more important matters. Our guide aims to answer the question, “How much compensation do you get for accidental death?” and explain what any compensation settlement could cover.
Our experienced advisors are here to help if you’d like to discuss your options. We know that discussing your loss with a stranger will be difficult so our team are trained to work compassionately and at a speed that suits you. During your call, your advisor will provide free legal advice after assessing your claim for free. If one of our personal injury solicitors believes your claim has a reasonable chance of success, they’ll represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. That means you won’t need to pay any legal fees unless compensation is awarded in your favour.
Please feel free to call us at any time on 0800 6524 881 if you’d like to talk to us about your claim. Alternatively, you can read the rest of this guide to learn more about the accidental death claims process.
Table of contents
- Am I Eligible To Claim Compensation For Accidental Death?
- What Types Of Accidents Or Incidents Can Lead To A Compensation Claim?
- Who Can Claim Compensation For Accidental Death?
- How Much Compensation For Accidental Death Could I Claim?
- Providing Evidence To Support An Accidental Death Claim
- Time Limits For Claiming Accidental Death Compensation
- Is There Any Benefit To Claiming Compensation Using A Solicitor?
- Starting The Accidental Death Claims Process
You could be eligible to claim compensation for accidental death if your partner, spouse or child has died in an accident that was not their fault. During a free initial consultation, your advisor will assess whether:
- The deceased was owed a duty of care by the defendant; and
- A negligent act by the defendant led to an incident or accident; and
- Your loved one died as a result of that negligence.
We know that thinking about all of these things will be difficult and upsetting. Therefore, rather than trying to work out what happened yourself, you may find it easier to talk with a member of our team. They’ll go through everything with you and explain your legal position and your options at the end of your call.
As set out above, you could make an accidental death claim if a loved one has died because of somebody else’s negligence. Importantly, claims aren’t always based on dangerous mistakes that should never have occurred, they can be based on innocent errors as well.
Some examples of incidents and accidents that could result in compensation being paid for accidental death include:
- Fatal road traffic accidents. These can include motorbike accidents caused by dangerous driving, speeding, drink-driving and road rage as well as deaths caused by drivers distracted by phones, radios or satnav systems.
- Workplace accidents. Employers have a duty to try and keep staff as safe as possible in the workplace. Therefore an accidental death claim could be based on deaths caused by a lack of personal protective equipment, poor training, dangerous machinery or exposure to dangerous substances (such as asbestos claims, carbon monoxide and other chemicals).
- Medical negligence. The criteria for claiming for deaths caused by medical negligence is slightly different to other types of claims. Therefore, please get in touch and we’ll review your options for free.
- Public place accidents. Unfortunately, there have been recent cases of shoppers dying after poorly secured fixtures and fittings have fallen onto them. These and other accidents in public places could lead to an accidental death compensation claim.
We haven’t listed every scenario that could lead to an accidental death compensation claim here. Essentially, if you’ve lost a loved one because of somebody else’s negligence, you could be eligible to start a claim. Please get in touch when you’re ready and we’ll assess your options for free.
The first part of an accidental death claim is usually made on behalf of the victim. Typically, it will be dealt with by the executor of their will. This part of the claim can cover any suffering the deceased endured before they died as well as any financial impact such as loss of earnings.
Additionally, the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 allows those who were fully or partially financially dependent on the deceased to seek damages as well. Dependent family members can therefore try to recover the financial support they’ve lost as a result of the accident.
Dependent claims can be made by the deceased’s:
- Children (or those treated as children).
- Husbands or wives.
- Parents or guardians.
- Aunts, uncles and their children.
- Former husbands or wives.
- Partners who has been cohabiting with the deceased for 2 years or more.
Financial dependence could be based on the deceased earnings, pensions or other benefits. It may also be possible for claims to be made for financial expenses linked to the death. For example, you may be able to claim back any funeral costs you’ve paid for.
The Fatal Accidents Act also allows for a bereavement award to be paid to certain relatives following wrongful death caused by a breach of duty or negligence. The amount of the award was increased in 2019 to £15,120 in May 2020.
Previously, bereavement awards could only be claimed by:
- The wife, husband or civil partner of the deceased; or
- The deceased’s parents of a child under 18 years old or where their child was never married.
However, the enactment of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (Remedial) Order 2020 means that cohabiting partners of the deceased are now able to claim damages.
As you can see, answering the question, “How much compensation do you get for accidental death?” is not easy as each claim is unique and depends on a number of factors. However, the estate of the deceased could also make a claim for any suffering brought on by the deceased’s injuries prior to death, in addition to the aspects of your claim that we’ve explained above.
The Judicial College advise compensation levels for various circumstances where an accidental death has occurred, as illustrated below.
- £1,370 – £2,790 where the deceased is immediately unconscious (or very shortly after) from their injury and died within a week.
- £3,760 – £4,390 compensation where the deceased is immediately unconscious and dies after 6 weeks.
- £4,670 compensation where the deceased has experienced mental anguish due to the fear of impending death.
- £12,540 – £23,810 compensation where the deceased passed away in a couple of weeks up to 3 months after suffering lung damage and severe burns with a period of full awareness.
If you call our claims line and your claim is taken on, your solicitor will be better placed to answer any questions you have about what compensation you should get once they’ve reviewed the circumstances of your claim in more detail.
Your solicitor will try to present as strong a case as possible to try and secure compensation for you and on behalf of the deceased. They will work with you to secure evidence to support an accidental death claim such as:
- Medical records and post-mortem reports.
- Witness statements.
- Accident scene photographs.
- Dashcam or CCTV footage.
- Independent medical reports.
If you already have any evidence relating to the accident, please let us know when you call as it could make the claims process easier.
Typically, there is a 3-year time limit from the date of a fatal accident to begin a compensation claim. However, this could start later if you weren’t immediately aware of the deceased’s death.
Even if the deceased had already begun their own personal injury claim before they passed away, the time limit for you to claim will start again from the date of their death.
Due to the complexity of some claims for accidental death, we would always suggest that you begin the claims process as soon as you’re able to. That will allow your solicitor plenty of time to investigate what happened and to secure evidence to support the claim.
Dealing with any kind of compensation claim can be challenging. The process can be made even more difficult when dealing with the death of a loved one. While the majority of insurers aren’t trying to be awkward, they’ll typically only pay out compensation in the event of an accidental death if it can be definitively proven their client was in some part responsible. That’s why we firmly believe the majority of claimants benefit from having a solicitor who can build a strong claim, deal with insurance companies for them and essentially take care of everything.
We also realise how traumatic accidental death claims are and how stressful they can be. To reduce that stress a little, any claims handled by our solicitors are managed on a No Win No Fee basis.
As a result, the claims process can begin without any upfront payment of legal fees. Furthermore, you won’t have to pay for the solicitor’s work if the claim fails. Your solicitor will try to make the process as easy as possible for you by dealing with all communication with the defendant’s insurers on your behalf.
Should your claim be successful, your solicitor will deduct a success fee directly from any compensation payment to cover their work. This will be fully explained in your No Win No Fee agreement.
We are here to help if you would like free advice on claiming accidental death compensation or would like to start the process asap. A friendly member of our team can guide you through the process and explain your options if you call us on 0800 6524 881.
If you agree to work with one of our solicitors, they’ll handle everything for you on a No Win No Fee basis and try to secure compensation on your behalf.
Please let us know if you have any further questions on how much compensation you get for accidental death by calling the number above or connecting to our free live chat service.