The sudden death of a loved one in an accident is, of course, a tragedy for the family which has a devastating impact in many ways. We are often asked soon after a tragic accident about scope for a compensation claim. Very often, when we are, we say the same thing – we make sure families are aware that there is no rush to begin a claim formally. There is no immediate pressure as we point out below. However, it is sometimes helpful to consult a solicitor early in case steps need to be taken to ensure the available evidence is retained and fully understood. If you are not sure, call us for a free, no-obligation discussion. Don’t worry – we will not pressure you, we will simply answer your questions.
Is there a time limit?
Yes, but the time limit is three years. Within that three year time limit, a claim either must be settled or a court action be started in pursuit of the claim. That is why we tell families early on that there is no time pressure on them to make a claim in the early stages. We do suggest that families do not leave it too near the end of the time limit to begin the claim. However, most families, quite naturally, are in the earliest stages of the grieving process and would prefer not to embark upon a compensation claim at an emotionally difficult time. We understand that entirely.
If you have questions, just ask
If you have suffered bereavement due to an accident, and if you want simply more information at this stage, contact us and we will be happy to answer your questions. We know that very often in the early stages, families appreciate having some answers so they know the position if and when they do get to the point when they wish to make a claim. If you have questions, just contact us and we will be happy to assist. We will not pressure you to take any steps at this stage that you do not wish to take.
Is there anything I should be doing?
If a claim is to be considered, in general there are certain aspects on which it is important that there is enough information and evidence:-
- The facts surrounding the accident itself. It may be the facts in a particular case are straightforward. Or it may be that an accident has been very thoroughly investigated already and the facts are clearly set out in a report of that investigation (perhaps by the Police or Health & Safety Executive). If there is any uncertainty over the facts surrounding an accident, that is something that is useful for us to know early so we can take steps to obtain the necessary evidence.
- Clarity that the cause of death is clear from available records. In most cases the cause of death, and its relationship with the accident, will be perfectly clear but just occasionally there are cases where it is less clear. If there is any doubt, it is something it is helpful to know at the outset.
- It is important to know whether the person who died left a Will and if possible to be sent a copy of the Will.
What can I claim for?
The compensation categories that can be claimed following the death of a relative are very different to other claims. The reality is each case needs to be considered carefully but, in general can include:
- A sum to reflect the emotional impact of the death
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of financial support by any relative who was financially dependent on the person who died
However, if you have questions about these or other categories, please do contact us for a free no-obligation discussion.