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A fatal car accident can happen in a split second, but the effect on the family members who are left behind will be felt long into the future. The sudden death of a relative is always exceptionally difficult, and knowing that someone else might be at fault for that accident makes it even harder for loved ones to come to terms with.

It’s not just the understandable emotional impact either; a fatal car accident can lead to significant financial hardship and uncertainty. Of course, we fully understand that compensation is far from being the first thing on your mind after losing a loved one, but it’s still important to know what your options are – and who you can turn to. Our specialist solicitors are here to help if making a fatal car accident compensation claim is a step that you choose to take.

How can Boyes Turner help?

At a time when you are trying to come to terms with your loss, it is important to get personal and professional support you can trust.

Here at Boyes Turner, our expert fatal car accident claim solicitors have extensive experience of supporting families just like yours in similar situations. We can help you get the compensation – and answers – you need and deserve.

Our solicitors have a deep understanding of the sensitive issues involved after a fatal car accident claims the life of a loved one. You won’t ever be made to do anything until you are ready.

But, at the same time, you can depend on us to pursue a fatal car accident compensation claim in even the most complex and challenging cases. We can guide you through the process at each stage, so that you know what to expect and you won’t have to face anything on your own.

If you are unsure how to move forward after a devastating car accident, please get in touch and speak to a member of our dedicated team. Call us on 0800 124 4845 today or provide us with a few details and we will be happy to phone you back at a time that works best for you.

Why choose Boyes Turner for your fatal car accident claim

Our expert solicitors are committed to helping families rebuild their lives after the profound and sudden impact of a fatal car accident. Our team brings a substantial depth of claims experience and skills to each case, having represented the victims of accidents for nearly 40 years.

Of course, our solicitors will always keep you up to date with how your claim is progressing. We are committed to providing the essential support, guidance and reassurance you need. But there are also other reasons why we believe that you can turn to Boyes Turner with confidence.

'A force to be reckoned with', Kim Smerdon leads the 'very professional group'.

Our personal injury specialists are recognised as leading fatal car accident compensation claim experts by independent directories: The Legal 500 guide and Chambers and Partners.

As a company, we’re proud of our reputation in supporting families with their fatal car accident claims. Our personal injury accreditations and memberships include:

We also know that, for some, hearing from other families we’ve supported can be the best way to fully understand how we can help. Find out more about our successful fatal accident claims – and how our expertise has achieved positive outcomes for those in a similar situation to you.

What is a fatal car accident?

A fatal car accident is the term for any road traffic accident involving a car that causes the death of a motorist, passenger, cyclist or any other road user. Unfortunately, such accidents are all too common. In 2018, nearly 1,800 people were killed on UK roads – the highest number (44%) of which were either car drivers or passengers.

While the number of fatal car accidents has fallen from more than 6,300 in 1979, this still means that – on average – five people suffer fatal injuries on British roads each day.

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What causes fatal car accidents?

It’s important to remember there is no one single cause of fatal road accidents that may result in the loss of a friend or relative. It can happen to any person at any time on any road.

In some instances, an accident is caused by a driver’s own actions or those of another motorist, such as driving without due care and attention, using a mobile phone behind the wheel, speeding or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There will be a police investigation into the death and quite often there will be a criminal prosecution against the driver at fault.

Poor car or road maintenance can also be a factor.

In many cases, however, such accidents can easily be prevented. But it is all too often the action or inaction of another party that is at fault. It doesn’t have to be intentional either.

For anyone who is affected by the death of a family member in such circumstances, making a claim for a fatal car accident could help you get the compensation you need to rebuild your life at a traumatic time.

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Why make a fatal car accident claim?

It is something that no person should ever have to deal with. But the unfortunate reality is that you cannot prepare for the impact of a fatal car accident. It is only natural that coming to terms with the loss of a friend or family member should be your number one concern, but you should also think about what comes next. And this is where a fatal car accident claim can make a real and lasting difference to your life.

First and foremost, dependants can claim compensation for a fatal car accident if someone else is at fault under the Fatal Accident Act 1976. But each person’s reasons for claiming can differ.

For some, it can be a matter of making sure they get compensation to cover any loss of income incurred as a result of an accident. For others, meanwhile, it’s about knowing that justice is being done when someone else is at fault.

A fatal personal injury claim after a car accident could also be an effective way to bring about a change in the way things are done. If an accident is due to poor work practices or maintenance procedures, a successful claim could help prevent someone else going through the same ordeal.

Whatever the reason for making a claim, our aim is to make sure you get the support you need.

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What can you claim for if a loved one dies in a car accident?

Each fatal car accident claim is unique. It is based entirely on how the accident happened – and how it impacts those left behind. In general, however, you can expect to claim for the following:

  • Pain, suffering or loss of amenity of the deceased – this can apply if a loved one survives the initial car accident, but later dies as a direct result of their injuries.
  • Care expenses, treatment costs and funeral expenses, as well as the legal costs involved with matters relating to your loved one’s will and estate.
  • Loss of income/pension to dependants who relied on the income of your loved one, e.g. children, spouses or elderly relatives.
  • Loss of services such as DIY, domestic chores and childcare

There is also what is known as a statutory bereavement payment, which provided by law. This amount is currently £15,120 for all accidents on or after 1 May 2020, but is currently only available to spouses/civil partners or parents of a child under 18.

The government is planning to extend this payment to cohabitees (claimants who cohabited with the deceased for at least two years immediately before their death).

If the deceased was married or in a civil partnership with one person and cohabiting with another (e.g. separated but not divorced), the payment would be split between the two parties.

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Can you make a fatal car accident compensation claim?

A fatal car accident injury compensation claim is made on behalf of the deceased’s estate – and their dependants. A claim is made by someone who is authorised to do so, usually with the help of a lawyer. It is likely that you’ll need a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration too.

Do you qualify as a dependant?

A dependant of someone who dies in a fatal car accident can be:

  • The wife or husband of the deceased, as well as the former wife or husband
  • A parent or other older relative
  • A person treated by the deceased as their parent
  • A child or other descendant
  • A person who, through marriage, was treated by the deceased as their child
  • A person who cohabited with the deceased as a common law partner for at least two years up until the date of death

  • A person who is (or the responsibility of) a brother, sister, uncle or aunt of the deceased
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Who is a fatal car accident claim made against?

In most cases, car accident legal claims are made against the individual or organisation at fault for the circumstances that led to the death of your loved one. This could be another motorist or the authority responsible for the road on which the accident took place.

The claim is made against the insurers of the other party. They may choose to defend claims if they believe liability cannot be proved. But our team always aims to ensure a fatal car accident claim is settled without the need to go to court – and we’ll fight hard to ensure that is the case. If the other party is not insured, a claim is made against the Motor Insurer's Bureau.

What if the driver at fault dies?

A claim can still be made against the driver’s insurers or, if he or she was uninsured, then against the Motor Insurers Bureau.

A coroner will open an inquest into cause of death. This is held in public and aims to establish the exact cause of death after a fatal car accident. Loved ones can attend the inquest and ask any called witnesses questions about the accident.

Our solicitors regularly represent family members at such inquests in order to get the answers they need to help them move on.

At the end of the inquest, the coroner will reach their conclusion from one of three options:

  • Open: This is unlikely for fatal car accidents
  • Road traffic collision: If it is decided, following a review of the evidence, that a verdict of unlawful killing is not appropriate.
  • Unlawful killing: If it is found the case fits the criteria for gross negligence manslaughter or the vehicle has been deliberately used as a weapon.
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How does a fatal car accident claim work?

The first step in any fatal car accident claim is to get in touch with our expert solicitors. By doing this, we can talk to you about the circumstances and find out if you could make a claim. We also take you through what is involved and anything else that you need to know before going ahead.

This initial consultation is free – but we will tell you about your funding options at the very start.

If you decide to go ahead, we will start collecting witness statements and any evidence that can support your claim, for example from the police. If the death of a loved one in a fatal car accident has a financial impact, we will also gather details about this in order to let you know how much we believe your claim is worth.

We will then contact the insurers of the individual or organisation at fault and work to achieve a settlement that reflects this. In most cases, this settlement is achieved by negotiating with the insurers.

Find out more about making a claim with Boyes Turner.

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What proof is needed to bring a claim?

In cases of fatal car accident claims, there are three challenges that need to be overcome:

  • Liability
  • Causation
  • Proof of expectation of financial support

Liability: To make a successful claim, it needs to be proved that:

  • The deceased was injured by the wrongful act, neglect or default of the defendant
  • The deceased died because of that act, neglect or default
  • Had they not died, the deceased could have brought an action to recover damages
  • Dependants have suffered loss as a result of the death of a loved one

All four of these conditions must be proved.

Causation: This can often cause more problems than proving liability. It must be shown that the wrongful act made a material contribution to the death. In other words, it does not need to be the sole reason that somebody died. In this instance, the main thing to remember is that eligible dependants can make a claim if the deceased could have done so if they survived the accident.

What is gross negligence manslaughter and how is it proved in fatal car accidents?

This is one of the conclusions a Coroner can make at an Inquest involving a loved one. The following must be proved: 

  • A duty of care was owed
  • That duty of care was breached
  • The risk of death (not just risk of serious injury) could be reasonably foreseen
  • A breach in that duty of care resulted in death
  • In light of that risk of death, misconduct was grossly negligent and can constitute the serious crime of manslaughter

The above elements must all be proved to the criminal standard beyond all reasonable doubt. All must relate to one specific person too – not the combination of a number of people.

Breach of duty should be only be considered ‘gross’ when it involves “such disregard for life and safety of others as to amount to a crime against the state and conduct deserving punishment”. A serious mistake or errors in judgement are not enough to meet this condition.

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What documents/information do you need for your claim?

There are several documents and pieces of information that you will need in order to make a successful fatal car accident claim. These documents include:

  • Marriage certificate (if the deceased was married)
  • Birth certificate (if the deceased had children)
  • Birth certificate and death certificate of deceased
  • Probate document that allows a claimant to start a claim against the third party insurer for the deceased’s estate on behalf of the surviving spouse and children (ie Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration)
  • Deceased’s car accident insurer and details of any vehicle value or excess, as well as any other personal injury benefits and awards that form part of the policy
  • GP and ambulance records for the deceased

We may also ask for other personal information. This could include details about your loved one’s income, pension or educational qualifications, as well as yours if you are the surviving spouse, where there is a claim for loss of dependency of income.

In addition, we will ask for funeral expense receipts and any third party details if you have them. While this can seem like a lot, please do not worry – our team will advise you of exactly what is needed to support your fatal car accident claim.

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How much does it cost to make a claim?

In the aftermath of an accident that claims the life of a loved one, we know there is often so much to deal with. We also appreciate that, at a difficult time, the thought of making a fatal car accident compensation claim can seem daunting.

But cost should not be a barrier to getting justice and the compensation you need.

If you turn to us for help after losing a loved one in a car accident, you can be assured that our initial consultation will be free of charge. As part of this consultation, we will let you know if we believe your claim will be a success – but we will also let you know about your funding options.

In many cases, we can handle your claim as part of a Conditional Fee Agreement, better known as no win no fee. This means, if your claim fails for whatever reason, you will not pay anything.

Find out more about funding a claim with Boyes Turner.

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How long do you have to make a fatal car accident claim?

Our advice is that a fatal car accident claim should be started as soon as possible, even though we do understand it is a very sensitive time for you and your family. The reason for this is to give us the best possible chance of gathering evidence and witness statements to support your claim.

If your claim is not an immediate priority for your family, however, you do have time to decide. A claim must be made within three years from the date of either the accident or the death of a loved one. But there can be exceptions – and we can advise you of this when you get in touch.

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What should you do next?

For more information or to start a fatal car accident compensation claim, contact us today. Our specialist solicitors have the expert experience, skills and – most importantly – understanding. Our aim is to help families rebuild their lives in traumatic times when the worst happens.

Call us on 0800 124 4845 or get in touch to find out how Boyes Turner are here for you.

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Road traffic accidents 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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"Happy to recommend your services"

Thank you again for all you have done for us and the way you have done it. We would be happy to recommend your services to anyone else in a similar position.

Boyes Turner client

"I’m proud of what I’ve achieved in my recovery"

"It really does turn your life upside down in a moment, not just for me but for my family as well. It’s been a difficult journey, sometimes very emotional, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved in my recovery and in being able to tell this story tooMy story shows what can be achieved with the support of the right people and a little determination. I look back on where I was and I’m delighted with where I am now. I’ve still got a way to go and I still have some effects from the accident to deal with but I hope people see what I’ve achieved and it helps them as they begin their recovery."

Jessica Stevens

"We'd like to express our thanks to Kim and the team at Boyes Turner..."

We’d like to express our thanks to Kim and the team at Boyes Turner for the expertise, experience and professionalism in handling our daughter’s serious injury claim following a road accident. From arranging a team of rehab specialists and the necessary funding to the negotiation of the final very satisfactory settlement, the whole operation has been conducted very smoothly and we can recommend their service to anyone in a similar position.

"Thank you so much for all you have done..."

Thank you so much for all you have done for C and the family. I know that you have absolutely given it everything you’ve got and your devotion and commitment to the case has been spectacular.

Third party forensic accountant

"I wanted to take the opportunity to express my thanks..."

I wanted to take the opportunity to express my thanks to you for your professional attitude and handling of the claim throughout this tragic case.  It is in cases like this where the compensation can never compensate for the loss suffered, but hopefully it will help in some way to move forward.

Third party insurer