Delivering legal expertise since 1845

Fatal accident compensation claims

We understand that no amount of compensation can ever make up for the death of a loved one following an accident. At Shoosmiths we believe that it’s our duty to ensure that no further stress is caused by financial difficulties resulting from a tragedy.

A different kind of law firm

It's entirely understandable that making a fatal injury claim is the last thing on your mind following the accidental death of a loved one. However, giving a compensation claim some thought may become a necessity if a child is left without a parent or you are left without your spouse or partner, especially if they were the main breadwinner in the family.

We are Shoosmiths and we are here to help.

Expertise you can trust

Our experts can help you make a fatal accident claim, which we'll conduct with professional efficiency, sensitivity and sympathy. We can take some of the worries off your shoulders and help to make what must be a dark time a little more bearable.

Our advice and assistance isn't just limited to compensation awards and purely financial matters, however. We can provide guidance to help you get through the various legal stages following a fatal accident as well as offer you information and representation at any fatal accident inquest (if there is one).

Get in touch

How can a fatal accident affect you?

The impact of a loved one who has died due to the negligence of another can be significant and wide-ranging. Dealing with the loss of a friend or family member can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience, with sadness, grief, loneliness and depression all having the potential to affect your mental and physical wellbeing.

Your finances can also be affected if, for example, the person who has suffered the fatal accident is the primary breadwinner in your household. These issues, on top of the emotional trauma you are already going through, can cause you great worry and anxiety.

Although fatal accident compensation cannot ever make up for the loss of a loved one, the damages received can at least help to ease some of those financial concerns and worries and assist you in being able to grieve by taking the first steps to coping with such a personal tragedy.

Need more help?

Our team of friendly specialists are on hand to help guide you through all aspects of any fatal accident compensation claim.  

Call me back

  • Who can make a fatal accident claim?

    The law concerning who can make a fatal accident claim is governed by two Acts of Parliament:

    Legislation distinguishes between what can be claimed on behalf of the estate, by members of the family (bereavement award) and by the dependants of the deceased.

    The legal definition of a ‘dependant’ in these circumstances is precise but is fairly broad-ranging – from spouses and civil partners to grandparents, siblings, aunts or uncles, children and those treated by the deceased as a child of the family.

    To bring a fatal accident compensation claim, dependants must prove they were financially dependent upon the deceased at the time of death or relied on the deceased's services which had a financial value, or had a reasonable expectation of financial benefit, whether directly from earnings or from services from the deceased in the future.

    If you're unsure if you're eligible to make a claim, our friendly advisors are on hand to help. You can contact us at a time that suits you by calling 0370 086 8687 or by sending us a message.

  • Why should you make a claim?

    If a loved one is involved in a fatal injury, there’s no denying that the impact on your life can be huge. The emotional trauma you go through is likely to be significant, while there may also be financial implications to consider on top of everything else.

    It may seem like no amount of fatal accident compensation can make up for the suffering you’re going through, and it’s true that nothing can replace that friend or family member, but the damages you receive can go a long way to easing any financial burden and helping you to remove that particular stress from your life.

    Additionally, if the fatal accident was preventable, making a successful claim could help to ensure that the same fate does not befall somebody else.

  • How do you know if you have grounds for a claim?

    If the death of a loved one was caused by the negligence of another or as a result of their dangerous actions, then you may have grounds for a claim.

    There are a significant number of circumstances that can warrant a fatal injury claim, including fatal road accidents and fatal accidents at work.

    If you're unsure if you're eligible to make a claim, our friendly advisors are on hand to help. You can contact us at a time that suits you by calling 0370 086 8687 or by sending us a message.

  • How to make a fatal accident claim?

    Not all fatal accident claims are identical and it’s difficult to put a set time on how long everything will take, but the process is likely to follow these steps:

    • Once you’ve made your initial fatal accident enquiry, we’ll examine your case to see if we think it will be a success, as well as analysing whether you are eligible to make a no win no fee claim.
    • Your case will then be taken up by one of our specialist fatal accident lawyers, who will be your point of contact throughout the process.
    • We will then start to collect evidence, including getting in touch with the individual or organisation thought to be at fault.
    • If the other party does accept fault, we will begin to calculate how much fatal accident compensation you could be entitled to.
    • We will then begin the court process. This does not mean your claim will definitely go to court, as a lot of cases are settled privately, but it means a deadline for the claim to be settled will be determined.
    • At this stage, we will hopefully find out if your fatal accident claim has proven successful.

    If successful, you’ll then be awarded your fatal accident claim damages. The person or organisation at fault will cover your legal costs. However, if they cannot do so in full, a small deduction may be made from your compensation amount. In the unlikely event that your case is not successful, we’ll do everything in our power to minimise your financial risk.

    Find out more about claiming for fatal accident compensation on a no win no fee basis.

Your fatal accident specialists

Our skilled team of specialist lawyers want to speak to you today for free
Chris  McKinney

Chris McKinney


Personal injury

Chris will come to your home or hospital. He specialises in serious personal injury and has won several multi-million pound claims for clients. Call Chris today.

Sharine Burgess

Sharine Burgess


Personal injury

Sharine is an award-winning lawyer in the personal injury department, acting on behalf of claimants and their families through a wide range of cases, so give her a call.

Frequently asked questions

  • How can shoosmiths help?

    If you come to us with your fatal accident enquiry, we’ll do so much more than just offer legal guidance on how to proceed. We understand completely how a fatal accident can affect the loved ones that are left behind, which is why we offer an extensive support network to all our clients.

    We will work closely alongside you with the aim of forging a relationship built on mutual trust and confidence. Our objective is to help you on a financial level by obtaining the fatal accident compensation you need, as well as on a personal level by doing everything in our power to help you cope with the most difficult of circumstances.

    Furthermore, we can support your fatal accident claim on a no win no fee basis, so there will be no financial risk to you, even in the event that your case proves unsuccessful.

  • Who to bring a claim against?

    Fatal accident claims follow the same rules as a personal injury claim and a claim will be brought against the person or persons who are at fault for the incident that caused that fatality.

    In order for the claim to be successful, you must be able to prove that the accident and therefore fatality was a direct result of someone else's negligence.

    If the accident was caused by an uninsured driver or untraced driver, you can still pursue a claim through the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB).

  • How long do claims take?

    It can take several years for any fatal accident claim to settle, especially if the circumstances around the case are complex.

    We will endeavour to make sure the process runs as quickly as possible and in a way that reduces any more distress for you. It is, however, important that we spend time carrying out thorough, comprehensive investigations to ensure that any compensation received genuinely reflects the severity of what's happened and fully meets your current and future needs.

  • Do claims end up in court?

    Only a small percentage of claims go to court. When they do, they are held in front of a judge and not a jury. Generally, only very complex cases or those where liability cannot be resolved end up in court.

    Of course, should your fatal injury claim go to court, we will be by your side throughout the process and will explain exactly what is going on and what to expect.

  • Will an inquest be required?

    An inquest will be required where a person has died unexpectedly as a result of an accident or the cause of death is otherwise not clear.

    Should an inquest be required, we will be able to help with the proceedings.

  • How long do I have to make a claim?

    As with most personal injury claims, the time limit for bringing a fatal accident claim is three years.

    If the deceased was in the process of dealing with a personal injury claim at the time of their death, the three-year limit would begin again from the date of their death.

  • How much does it cost to bring a claim?

    When you come to Shoosmiths to make your fatal accident enquiry, your initial consultation is free of charge. We’ll provide sound, professional advice on how to fund your claim, as well as let you know if we can take your case on a no win no fee basis.

    For more information, please take the time to read our guide on funding your claim

  • How much compensation could I receive?

    No two fatal accident claims are the same, which is why we cannot quote a set figure that you might be entitled to. The amount of fatal accident compensation you may receive can depend on a number of factors, including the nature of the accident itself, the effect it may have had on your physical and mental wellbeing as well as any financial implications you have had to contend with.

    Generally, in the event of a fatal accident, you may be able to claim compensation for:

    • Pain, suffering and loss of amenity of the deceased
    • Actual losses – Provides for actual expenditures incurred in caring for the injured person, as well as any administrative expenses incurred whilst dealing with th winding up of their estate
    • Loss of earnings including loss of services – If the deceased provided a service such as childcare, housework, gardening, and other DIY chores. If the deceased was caring for another sick person in the family, the cost of hiring a replacement carer may also be considered
    • Losses of dependency – This is often the largest component of most fatal accident claims. This amount will vary depending on the deceased's income. The calculation may also take into account loss of pension as well as other bonuses and allowances, such as healthcare benefits

    In addition to the compensation, there is also the potential for recovering a nominal amount in the form of a Statutory Award for Bereavement.

    You may be able to get a £2,000 Bereavement Payment from the government if your husband, wife or civil partner has died as a one-off, tax-free lump sum.

    The spouse of the deceased or the parents of a child who died when under the age of 18 years are entitled to claim bereavement damages. You will be able to claim a statutory bereavement award, which is currently £15,120, if the death occurred after 1 May 2020. If the death was before 1 May 2020 the bereavement award is £12,980. Only these persons can claim a bereavement award under the 1976 Act. No one else in the family is entitled to do so.

    Although the statutory bereavement damage award is meant to represent compensation for the loss of a loved one and despite steps to make these claims more generous, the compensation remains derisory and a token award, and we will do everything in our power to ensure you receive the compensation you need to help get you through this difficult time.

    Assessment of a fatal accident award can be very complicated. Which is why we advise you to instruct specialist fatal accident solicitors who are able to assess your case and endeavour to get the compensation you need at this difficult time.

    If you require further information or would like to know more about compensation of death, you can contact us when you're ready on 0370 086 8687 or by sending us a message.

  • Why choose Shoosmiths to help?

    Over the years, we have established a reputation as being the UK’s leading firm when it comes to helping families deal with fatal accident claims and the trauma attached to such a tragic event.

    That reputation has been earned by the hard work of our specialists, who put a great deal of time and effort into getting to know you, your personal circumstances and how that might impact your case.

    We also stand by our clients long after fatal accident claim compensation has been received, because we believe in the people we represent. Our work down the years has been recognised by several authoritative bodies and with a number of awards:

    But you don’t have to just take our word for it. You can read our client testimonials and see for yourself how the work we’ve done has helped others.

Next steps

If you have lost a loved one due to a fatal accident, contact our specialist fatal injury lawyers today.

Your initial consultation will be free of charge. We'll explain what can be done as we fight your corner in claiming for fatal accident compensation as well as offering unwavering support for the years ahead.

To start your fatal accident claim call us on 0370 086 8687

Send us a message

Who we work with

  • Brain Injury Group
  • Child Brain Injury Trust
  • Headway
  • SIA
  • Back Up
  • Macmillan
  • Danielles Flutterbyes
  • Forces
  • Bens Heroes Trust

Our accreditations

  • Accredited Personal Injury
  • Apil
  • Ama
  • Clinical Negligence
  • Legal 500
  • UK Chambers
  • The Society Of Clinical Injury Lawyers