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The idea of losing a loved one is upsetting enough. But when this actually happens because of a sudden and unexpected accident, the feeling of devastation for those left behind can be intense.

It can be hard to know which way to turn – not least when that accident is the fault of someone else. But making a fatal accident claim can provide a genuine lifeline at such a difficult time.

Of course, our specialist fatal accident solicitors know that no amount of money will make up for the loss of a loved one. It can, however, help ease any financial strain that your family may come under. A fatal accident claim can also help you get much-needed answers to the questions you have – what happened, how did it happen and why. And that is what we are here to do.


Why choose Boyes Turner?

Our specialist solicitors are highly experienced in representing families in this situation. They are sensitive to the issues and emotional suffering involved, whilst at the same time extremely skilled and relentless at successfully pursuing fatal injury compensation for those left behind.

Our fatal accident claims specialists are highly experienced in supporting families like yours at an incredibly difficult time. We are deeply sensitive to the issues and emotional suffering involved.

At the same time, though, our team are extremely skilled. Our aim is to ensure that no stone is left unturned when seeking fatal injury compensation for those left behind. We have established a reputation for achieving the best possible outcomes for families in their hour of need.

We will work to achieve the same for you.

Our reputation is backed up by the recognition we have received for our work too:

  • Highly experienced personal injury practice fielding leading capabilities in catastrophic injury claims” – Chambers and Partners
  • “Boyes Turner advises clients on a range of personal injury matters... Kim Smerdon is the key name to note in the team, handling large catastrophic claims” – Legal 500 directory

We are also committed to upholding the highest standards of care and dedication to everyone we represent. This is why we are signed up to the Law Society Personal Injury Panel and Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. It shows that you can have full confidence in our skills and expertise.

But it is not this recognition alone. Our fatal accident claims reputation is also based on our past successes for other families. It includes a £55,000 award to a mother who lost her son in a road traffic accident. Read our previous fatal accident cases and see why we can help your family too.

What does fatal accident mean?

A fatal accident is an event or incident that causes the death of one or more individuals. While it may not be the result of a deliberate action, a fatal accident can often be avoided. 

When someone else can be held to account for an accident that results in the loss of a loved one, family members in England and Wales have the legal right to claim compensation. This is set out in the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. The right also exists under Scottish law too.

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What can cause a fatal accident?

Sadly, an accident can cause the death of a loved one in many different situations – particularly if there is a higher level of risk involved. We have experience of supporting many different fatal accident claims where it has been proven that someone else is at fault:

Nearly 1,800 people died on British roads in 2018, according to government statistics. This includes drivers and their passengers, as well as more vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) data shows that almost 150 employees were killed at work in 2018-19. All too often, fatal accidents at work can be down to the mistakes or negligence of colleagues or employers.

  • Rail, sea and air accidents

Such accidents generally have serious and catastrophic consequences. But our fatal accident claims specialists have acted in a number of high-profile cases should your loved one be involved in such an incident.

It is also possible to make a fatal accident claim if medical negligence is to blame for the loss of a loved one. If the proper care or treatment is not provided, our dedicated team can help.

If a loved one passes away in any form of accident where someone else is at fault, you could be able to claim. To find out more, call us on 0800 124 4845 or get in touch using our online form.

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Why should you make a fatal accident claim?

In addition to the deep and understandable sense of personal loss, the untimely death of a loved one can also cause significant financial hardship. Of course, we appreciate the circumstances are still raw and it can be hard to bear thinking about. But making a fatal accident claim can provide you and your family with much-needed relief from any financial strain.

For many families, meanwhile, making a claim can help bring a sense of closure – particularly if there are questions to be answered about how such an accident could happen in the first place. For whatever reason you decide a claim is the right step to take, our fatal accident claims solicitors are here for you. We do everything we can to help, with a delicate, yet determined, approach.

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Fatal accident claims: What can you claim for?

The cause of and circumstances surrounding an accident that results in the death of a loved one can vary from case to case. But common to most (if not all) fatal accident claims are the factors that will be considered: 

  • Pain, suffering or loss of amenity: If your loved one survives the accident but dies as a direct result of their injuries later, damages can be claimed to recognise their suffering.
  • Care, treatment or funeral expenses: A claim can help reimburse you for costs incurred for the efforts to save a loved one’s life after an accident – and for laying them to rest.
  • Loss of income or pension: If you or others in your family relied on the income of your loved one, a fatal accident claim can provide critical and ongoing financial support. 
  • Loss of services: If a loved one was responsible for doing things such as DIY, domestic chores or childcare, the compensation you could receive can be used to cover this.

What is the Statutory Bereavement Payment?

This is a fixed sum – currently set at £15,120 – that can be paid in addition to any fatal accident compensation you may be awarded. It is paid by the government if someone else is to blame for the death of a loved one. But it is only currently available to:

  • A husband, wife or civil partner

  • A parent of a child under the age of 18

Plans are in place to extend this payment to those cohabiting, however. It is also possible for multiple claims for statutory bereavement payment to be made, with the payment split accordingly.

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Can you make a fatal accident claim on behalf of a loved one?

It is common for the executor of your loved one’s will to make a fatal accident claim on behalf of your family. If there is no will, a personal representative or dependant can make a claim.

Are you an eligible dependant?

The law clearly sets out those who can claim fatal accident compensation. A dependant can be:

  • A spouse or civil partner (as well as a former spouse)
  • Parents or other older relatives
  • A person treated as a parent by the deceased
  • A child – including a child who is not a blood relative but was treated as if they were
  • A partner who cohabited with the deceased for two years or more
  • A grandchild
  • Other financial dependants

If you are unsure if you are eligible to make a fatal accident claim after losing a loved one, our experts can help you find out. Get in touch using our online form or call 0800 124 4845 today.

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Who are fatal accident claims made against?

If an individual or organisation is at fault for a fatal accident, a compensation claim is generally made against their insurers. This can be another motorist in the event of a road traffic accident or an employer if your loved one is involved in an accident at work.

Our fatal accident solicitors will then negotiate with the responsible party to settle your claim – and fight hard to ensure that you receive proper recognition for your profound sense of loss.

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How does the fatal accident claims process work?

The first part of making a fatal accident claim can be the hardest – but we also want to make it the easiest. By reaching out to us, you can talk to us in confidence in a free initial consultation. 

This lets us find out about the accident and how your loved one passed away in your own words. If we believe that you do have a claim, we can tell you how the claims process will work and the funding options available to you. We can also explain the inquest process if needed.

The next step is for our fatal accident claims specialists to get to work. It can involve gathering evidence to support your claim, including expert opinion and witness statements.

Our specialists will then work out how much fatal accident compensation we believe you should receive. This amount is designed to reflect both the personal loss you have experienced and the future needs of you and your family. 

With the information that we collect and this amount, we will then contact the party at fault for the accident. This is the stage at which the negotiation starts – with our fatal accident solicitors working hard to secure the maximum amount possible.

You can rest assured that your solicitor will be on hand at all stages of the process to keep you up to date with how things are going. We are also here to support you throughout. 

To start the process with a free consultation, call 0800 124 4845 or contact our team today.

Will there be a post-mortem or an inquest?

It is possible that a post-mortem (autopsy) or inquest is needed to discover exactly what went wrong – and why it resulted in the loss of a loved one. 

This is usually the case if a death is not the result of natural causes – such as an accident or a violent assault. If the post mortem is not able to establish the cause of death, the coroner will hold an inquest. This will be held in public and can include a jury.

Family members can attend and question any witnesses that a coroner may call to learn more about how their loved one died. At the end of the inquest, the coroner will reach a verdict.

If an inquest is required after a fatal accident involving a loved one, we can represent you and other family members.

Will your claim go to court?

In short, we hope not. While we cannot make any promises, our fatal accident solicitors work hard to ensure that your claim is settled long before a court hearing is needed. If it cannot be done, however, you can trust our solicitors to ensure you continue to be supported until your claim is resolved. At no part of this process will you ever have to face it on your own.

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What do you need to prove in a fatal accident claim?

Our specialist fatal accident claims solicitors must demonstrate that the defendant – individual or organisation – is at least partly to blame for your loss. There are often three factors involved: 

  • Liability
  • Causation
  • Proof of expectation of financial support

Liability: A successful fatal accident claim must prove the following:

  • Your loved one was injured due to the actions or neglect of the other party
  • Your loved one died as a result of this
  • Your loved one could have made a claim themselves if they had survived
  • Dependants have suffered loss due to the death of your loved one

Causation: It must be shown that the other party’s actions or neglect was a direct factor in the death of a loved one. It does not have to be the only reason or factor, however. 

It also underlines the fact that, if your loved one could have made a claim if they survived, then eligible dependants can make a claim for fatal accident compensation.

What is gross negligence manslaughter?

A fatal accident can be the result of gross negligence manslaughter. This is where the following can be demonstrated:

  •  Your loved one was owed a duty of care
  • There was a breach of that duty of care
  • It could be reasonably foreseen that a risk of death was present
  • In breaching that duty of care, it led to the death of a loved one
  • With the risk of death present, the misconduct was grossly negligent and can constitute the serious crime of manslaughter

The above must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt to a criminal standard and in relation to a single individual. According to the Law Commission, a ‘gross’ breach of duty is where “such disregard for life and safety of others as to amount to a crime against the state and conduct deserving punishment”. Mistake or errors in judgement would not meet this condition.

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What documents will you need for a fatal accident claim?

After the death of a loved one, there will be some documents and information you must provide as part of your claim. In our initial consultation, our fatal accident claims specialists can tell you what is needed so that you are in no doubt:

  • Birth/Death Certificate of your loved one
  • Marriage Certificate (if you are the spouse)
  • Birth Certificate(s) (if your loved one had children)
  • GP and ambulance records for your loved one
  • Probate document that allows you to start a claim

For some fatal accident claims, it is possible that we might ask for additional information to give your claim the best chance of success. It can include information about your loved one’s income or pension, as well as details about yourself as the surviving family member.

We only ask for information that your solicitor believes is essential to your claim. It also ensures that any fatal accident compensation properly reflects your emotional and financial loss. For any queries about the documents you need, call 0800 124 4845 or get in touch – we’re here to help.

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How much does it cost to make a fatal accident claim?

If the death of a loved one is already causing financial strain, we appreciate that you might think that legal action will only add to that. But that is not how making a fatal accident claim works.

We are here to help everyone get the recognition they deserve when someone else is at fault for the accidental death of a loved one. Our fatal accident claims specialists can often represent you on a no win no fee basis – meaning there is minimal financial risk if your claim is not successful.

If this option is available to you, we will tell you during our initial consultation. We have a useful guide to funding your claim too – and our team will be happy to answer any questions you have.

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What should you do next?

If a loved one has passed away in an accident that wasn’t their fault, we know just how difficult a time this is for you and your family. But it is not something that you have to go through alone. And our sensitive, yet dedicated, team of fatal accident claims specialists can provide the advice and support that can help start the rebuilding process.

Find out more and get the answers you need – call us on 0800 124 4845 or get in touch today.

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Do you have a personal injury claim?
How many personal injury claims go to court?
How long could your claim take?
How much compensation can you expect from a personal injury settlement?
What is an interim payment?
How do you start a personal claim?
How does the claims process work?
How much does a personal injury claim cost?
How do you prove a personal injury claim?
Do you have to pay tax on personal injury claims?
How long do you have to make a claim?
How much compensation can you get for medical negligence?
How to make a medical negligence claim?
How long do medical negligence claims take?
How to fund a medical negligence claim?
How can you prove medical negligence?
Is there a time limit for claiming medical negligence compensation?
Will I need to go to court to claim medical negligence compensation?

Fatal accident cases

Awards & Accreditations

Our teams have been nationally recognised over the past decade for their dedication and commitment to securing maximum compensation for our clients

What our clients say

Our clients constantly recognize us as the most experienced, professional, efficient and supportive

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"I am overwhelmed"

I am overwhelmed by the outcome in terms of the monetary value and know I should consider it as a near a 'sorry' as I am likely to get from the hospital. It will be nice to start the process of closure on the whole issue now and look towards the future for us as a family.

Mrs T, Surrey