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Written by Claire Roantree

Boyes Turner’s personal injury lawyers have secured a substantial settlement for the grieving husband and child of a 34-year-old woman who was unlawfully killed when her car was hit from behind at over 100mph by a speeding driver. Our client’s wife was heavily pregnant and was on her way to her final antenatal check-up when the collision occurred on the A36 in Wiltshire. Her unborn baby was also killed in the accident.

Inquest verdict of unlawful killing amounting to gross negligence manslaughter

We represented our client at the inquest into his wife’s death. At the inquest, the Coroner heard and saw dash cam evidence that the defendant driver had had overtaken a succession of vehicles for a least a mile, reaching speeds estimated by our accident reconstruction expert at an average of 130mph. His driving, at more than double the speed limit in heavy rain with poor visibility, ignored road markings and was described by the coroner as “aggressive, audacious and abhorrent”. The coroner’s verdict was that our client’s wife was unlawfully killed. If the defendant driver had survived, this verdict would have amounted to a gross negligence manslaughter.

Fatal claim for compensation for bereaved husband and two-year-old child

We pursued a claim for our client and his young family against the (deceased) driver’s estate. Having initially denied liability, his insurers finally admitted liability (fault) for the accident after the inquest. 

It is impossible for any monetary sum to compensate adequately for the loss of a loved one’s life, so fatal accident claims are usually built up from a combination of compensatable losses set by two statutes: the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 and the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. The type of loss that can be claimed depends on the deceased’s and their family’s individual circumstances. 

In this case, in addition to the statutory bereavement payment, funeral costs and other expenses, our client and the couple’s first child were entitled to compensation for their ‘loss of dependency’. The claim included their loss of dependency on their deceased wife/mother’s care and other domestic ‘services’, and on her income as a talented and successful teacher which would have increased throughout her life as she advanced in her career. 

Based on these criteria, following negotiations, our client accepted a six figure settlement. As the case involved an infant child, the settlement was approved by the court, and a sum was apportioned for the benefit of the claimant’s son. 

Aggravated damages for unlawful killing

The settlement also included a sum for aggravated damages, reflecting the coroner’s conclusion that the deceased had been unlawfully killed by the defendant. 

Claire Roantree said: 

Nothing could ever replace the loss of loved ones for their family. However, the Coroner’s conclusion of Unlawful Killing went some way in giving the family a sense of justice and recognition that their deaths were entirely avoidable and caused not by a serious error of judgement or mistake, but by an intentional and deliberate decision to drive at excessive speed, in appalling weather, in a manner that was an obvious and serious disregard for the life of others.

If you have suffered serious injury or the loss of a family member as a result of somebody else’s negligence, you can find out more about making a claim by contacting us by email on