Wrongful death negligence claims


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Wrongful death claims in the UK can be brought by close relatives when a loved one has been killed after an accident caused by the negligence of another party.

Some examples of wrongful death negligence claims could be: if a husband is killed in an accident at work, a parent dying due to surgical errors or other cases of medical negligence, a wife losing her life in a car accident caused by another driver and so on.

The term “wrongful death” could be applied to any loss of life that occurs due to wrongful actions e.g. the neglect or negligence of another individual or organisation. The same legislation is used to govern wrongful death cases in England and Wales, while Northern Ireland and Scotland both have their own specific legislation to cover these types of cases. As wrongful death cases, and the laws that govern them, are extremely complex it is important that experienced solicitors should be consulted at the earliest opportunity.

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England and Wales wrongful death legislation

In England and Wales, the legislation that deals with wrongful deaths is called the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, which allows the relatives of those killed by the wrongful or negligent acts of others the opportunity to make a claim for compensation. The Act lays out the guidelines for three different types of compensation claims to be made: dependency claims, bereavement claims and funeral expenses claims.

Dependency claims

These can be made by relatives who were formerly financially dependent on the deceased e.g. children, wife, and can result in the biggest compensation payouts for wrongful death.

Bereavement claims

These can be made be certain former dependents in order to to claim a financial payout in recognition of the grief and suffering caused by the death of a loved one.

Funeral expenses claims

These are made to cover the costs of funerals.

Scotland wrongful death legislation

In Scotland the relevant legislation for wrongful death claims is the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011, which replaced the original Damages (Scotland) Act of 1976 and the repealed Act of 1993. This legislation provides the legal framework for relatives to pursue wrongful death compensation in relation to grief, distress, loss and funeral expenses.

Northern Ireland wrongful death legislation

In Northern Ireland the Fatal Accidents (Northern Ireland) Order 1977 deals with wrongful death claims. As well as that, the Damages for Bereavement (Variation of Sum) (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 further increased the payouts which could be awarded in relation to wrongful death, and the Limitation (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 set out the time limits for bringing wrongful death compensation claims.

How to make a claim for wrongful death

Wherever it may have happened, if someone in the UK dies due to the wrongful or negligent act of another party then their relatives should get in touch with an experienced personal injury solicitor immediately. We can help investigate and establish the circumstances of the wrongful death, confirm whether you have the right to make a claim, analyse the evidence to build your case and collect the relevant documentation to show your financial losses as a result of the wrongful death – all on a No Win No Fee* basis.

What can be claimed for in a wrongful death compensation claim?

The most common damages awarded in wrongful death cases relate to the loss of financial support that the deceased’s family was reliant on. If the family was dependent on the deceased as the main ‘breadwinner’, then their death can leave them at a huge financial disadvantage. The pain and suffering caused by the loss of a loved one far outweighs the loss of financial support, but in order for the family to continue living to the same level as before then compensation is required. Damages can also be awarded to cover funeral expenses so that the family and relatives of the deceased are not left to pay them themselves. Other forms of damages for wrongful death can include:
  • General damages
  • Punitive damages
  • Inheritance loss caused by the untimely death
  • Loss of care and protection for close family members
  • Pain and suffering and mental suffering
  • Loss of earnings and projected earnings by the victim for the future until retirement age
  • Loss of benefits because of the victims death (e.g. disability payments, medical coverage, pension etc…)

How much compensation for wrongful death in the UK?

As with all personal injury claims, the exact amount of compensation you could be awarded depends on a lot of different factors. However, we are able to provide a rough estimate based on previous compensation payouts…
Damages Minimum payout Maximum Payout
Death £12,500* £300,000* Or More
Funeral Costs Different Types of Funerals £3,000* £10,000* Or More
Punitive Damages £1,000* £275,000* Or More
Pain and suffering Every type of victims pain suffering is unique and a lot can be agonizing pain. £1,000* £200,000* Or More This can be calculated by the amount of pain and how long the pain lasted for.
Loss of benefits caused by the victim’s death Pensions etc. £5,000* £500,000* Or More Each Pension can be worth a different amount.
Loss of victim’s anticipated earnings calculated by future earnings. £10,000* £400,000* The amount of compensation would be calculated using the victims wages.
Loss of care, protection, companionship for the family members. In cases many family members have been dependent on the deceased victim. £2,000* £100,000* Or More.
(*Please note all figures above are estimates and may differ depending on the circumstances of your claim.)

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