What Are Bereavement Damages In Fatal Accident Claims?

Mar 4, 2024 | Fatal Injuries

The Personal Injury People

If you have lost a loved one because of an accident caused by someone else (fatal personal injury) or because of medical negligence, you could be eligible to claim compensation from those responsible, such as an employer or medical professional. In addition, certain claimants are eligible for a benefit payment called the Statutory Bereavement Award or Bereavement Damages.

What Is the Statutory Bereavement Award?

The Statutory Bereavement Award is a form of financial compensation that can be claimed in a case of fatal medical negligence or personal injury under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. The award can be claimed by a dependant of the deceased, which could include the spouse, civil partner, long-term cohabiting partner, or a parent if the deceased was a child under 18. Currently, the statutory Bereavement Support Payments in England and Wales stand at £15,120. These payments replace Bereavement Allowance (previously Widow’s Pension), Bereavement Payments, and Widowed Parent’s Allowance. If the claim is successful, the defendant or their insurance company will pay the Statutory Bereavement Award.

Can Unmarried Partners Claim Bereavement Support? 

Yes, in certain circumstances. If you were the cohabiting partner of the deceased for at least two years prior to their death, you can now make a Bereavement Damages claim. Following a court ruling in the case of Smith vs Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and others [2017], the list of eligible claimants was expanded in 2020 to include cohabiting partners of the deceased and is known as the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (Remedial) Order. It is only applicable if you lost a loved one on or after 6th October 2020.

What Is a Coroner’s Inquest?

When someone dies due to a fatal accident or suspected medical or surgical negligence, an inquest into their death needs to be held and referred to the Coroner.

How Long Do I have To Make My Claim?

The aftermath of a fatal accident can have a significant impact on the lives of the family members or dependents left behind. However, to make a fatal accident claim, it is essential to act quickly to ensure you have the best chance of receiving the maximum compensation possible.

Typically, you must initiate the claim within three years from the date of death or from the ‘date of knowledge’ if it is later, to begin a compensation claim. However, several factors must be considered under these complex circumstances, so seeking legal advice as soon as possible is essential.

Making a Fatal Accident Compensation Claim 

At The Personal Injury People, we realise that no amount of money will make up for the loss of a loved one, especially if this is due to the negligent actions of others. Still, our experienced personal injury lawyers will do all we can to support you in making a fatal accident claim. Some of the fatal accident claims we can help with include (but not limited to) the following:

Our serious injury and medical negligence specialists will guide you through the stages of making a claim, including claiming bereavement support, working with you every step of the way.

To speak to a member of our personal injury team today, please call 0800 731 7555, email info@thepersonalinjurypeople.co.uk or make an online enquiry.