Fatal accident cases are not only highly sensitive in nature but a rather complex system of law applies, and who qualifies to claim for damages is far from straightforward. The law entitles a person to bring an action however there is considerable overlap in assessing the damages between different acts of law and case law. Essentially there are two types of claims:
- Claim of the Estates brought under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934
- Claims made by the dependants under The Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
Claims of the Estate
The Law Reform Act 1934 is the claim of the deceased person. This type of claim survives the deceased for the estate to pursue. Under this claim the estate can pursue a claim for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity [of the deceased] , special damages which include loss of earnings [to death], medical expenses/treatment, care, travelling expenses, miscellaneous expenses and interest on those past losses. It also usually includes probate costs. Finally and similarly to claims brought under the Fatal Accidents Act it also includes funeral expenses.
Claims under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976
Claims made by the dependants are made under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
One such head of loss ( categories of damage that a party may incur) is known as bereavement damages and the only available to a limited group of people, which includes the spouse or civil partner of the deceased and the parents of a deceased child up to the age of 18. The award on bereavement can appear even more unjust when the current cap on damages is £12,980 [which was increased in April 2013]. It is certainly no adequate redress to someone who has lost a loved one.
In addition cases may also claim dependency on past and future losses, gifts and other one offs and services, interest on those losses, and finally funeral expenses.
The personal injury team at Farleys are regularly instructed on behalf of deceased family members to claim damages as a result of losing a loved one due to the negligence of others. The facts of such cases are often sad and dealing with such cases involves a high degree of sensitivity.
If you feel you may have a claim as a dependant of the deceased or on behalf of the estate, please contact Farleys Solicitors on 0845 287 0939 or email us through our online contact form.