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Compensation death by dangerous driving (2019 Update)


Compensation for a death caused by dangerous driving is a secondary thought on behalf of bereaved relatives.  The truth of what happened and justice against the driver are important. The compensation element is secondary.

We understand that the death of a loved one by dangerous driving is such a painful, traumatic and life changing experience. We do not act for the drivers who are charged with causing death by dangerous driving only the bereaved families.

The compensation for causing death by dangerous driving to a loved one can be summarised in the Table below.

Compensation For Death By Dangerous Driving Awards:


Bereavement Award
Average funeral costs (burial): see average funeral costs.
Average cost of a headstone – see website Headstone Guide.
£1,000 est
Pain and Suffering before death – this is hard to predict but if death within a week or so.
Dependency Claim, each case will be dependent upon their own facts.  Do not forget there can be more than one dependent such as partner, civil partner, husband/wife, children, brother, sisters of the deceased etc.
£1,000 – £1,000,000+


Each case however will be determined on its own facts. Compensation claims for causing death by dangerous driving can therefore be substantial especially if the deceased was young, earning regular income and was in a relationship or married with children.  However where the deceased was a under say 21 years of age or so, at University, School or College without any regular income, with no dependents, unless there is evidence to the contrary, compensation payments are relatively low.

Why Instruct Fatal Accident Claims Solicitors?

As fatal accident claims solicitors, we are were aware of the trauma caused by sudden loss of a loved one.  We are specialist solicitors experienced in this area which is highly specific and technical and unlike any type of personal injury claim.

There are often urgent matter to consider such as where compensation for the death will help with the financial aspects of losing a loved one such as dealing with all the demands for:

  • paying bills
  • funeral expenses
  • child care
  • probate
  • dealing with the police
  • red tape and mountains of paper-work

Death by dangerous driving

Fatal accident claim solicitors will help you with the financial pressures of losing a loved one and ultimately claim fatal accident compensation so that the stress of the financial aspects following the loss of a loved is reduced.

We can obtain interim payments from the Defendant’s insurance company to help ease the financial burden so the family do not have to wait until the very end of the case to obtain the compensation.  Ask us for more information on interim payments compensation.

As advised we do not act for the drivers who are charged with causing death by dangerous driving only the bereaved families. Please contact us if you have been affected by a fatal accident claim.

Our principal solicitor Mr Ronnie Hutcheon in the practice has over 30 years experience in this area. We can assist you with the financial pressure of the loss of a loved one.  Many other solicitors may not be trained or experienced in depth to work with bereaved families to pursue Fatal Accident Claims.  We understand the unique complex area of the law that only applies to fatal accident claims.  We know the different laws that relate specifically to this area and the complex case law that is applicable to help determined the who can claim compensation and the appropriate level of award.


Interim payment Compensation

Our fatal accident Solicitors can obtain interim payments from the Defendant’s insurance company to help ease the financial burden so the family do not have to wait until the very end of the case to obtain the compensation.

As a Fatal Accident Claim, the legislation for death by dangerous driving, is covered by different laws.


Statutory Laws That Cover Fatal Accident Claims

There are two main statutory laws under which compensation can be claimed for a fatal accident:

The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 (Claim on behalf of the estate).
The Fatal Accident Act 1976 (Dependency Claim)

What can you claim for –

1. Loss of financial dependency claim (each case will be decided on its own facts).
2. Bereavement Damages currently £12,980
3. Funeral expenses the average funeral costs in the UK is £4271 (burial) £3,744 (cremation)

In addition a claim can be made for any pain and suffering of the deceased before death, see below.

Compensation for Death in law

The actual compensation for the death following a car collision or indeed any unlawful death in England and Wales caused by another are woefully inadequate.  This is often due to death often arising instantly or within a short space of time.   If instant, there is argument that no compensation is payable at all.  Thus if a person dies within a short space of time, the compensation for the loss of life will be less than a minor whiplash injury claim.

Where death does follow quickly the compensation will include various factors such as the deceased’s awareness of impending death and the extent of the pain and suffering.  Under s 1(1)(a) of the Administration of Justice Act 1982   where awards may be made for ‘mental anguish’ caused by fear of curtailment of life: see the case of: Kadir v Mistry [2014] EWCA Civ 1177 This case involved a negligent delay in the diagnosis of cancer and a consequent delay in referring her for investigation and treatment.  The case will be applicable to all fatal car accident victims where death is not instant and there is an awareness that life will be curtailed.

Here is a summary;

Pain followed by unconsciousness after three hours, death two weeks after index event.£12,000
Immediate unconsciousness after injury, death within six week.£7,500
Immediate unconsciousness death arising within a week.£2,500
Fear of impending death and reduction of life. This award may also be used for the parent of young children suffering mental anguish for a about three months.£4,000


As indicated for such tragic events, the compensation awards are an insult to bereaved families but this is the law as it stands today.  Thus the loss of a loved one who dies within a week of the accident is the equivalent to a 8 month minor whiplash injury claim.  Where is the justice?

As a footnote, claims for any pain and suffering are brought under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 and form part of the deceased’s estate.  Thus a grant of probate will be required to pursue this aspect not under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 which forms part of the dependent’s claim.

Loss of Financial Dependency Claim

The Fatal Accident Act 1976 provides for what is called a Loss of Financial Dependency claim, for the near relatives of the deceased who have been deprived of the deceased’s support and services.

To be awarded compensation following a fatal accident the dependents would have to show that had the deceased survived from his injuries, he would have been able to recover compensation in his own right.
The claim would need to be brought 3 years from the date of the death of the deceased, or the date the knowledge of the death by a person who would bring a claim (how to put this – without being confusing)

Who can Claim Compensation as a Dependent?

The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 tells us.

Below is a list of possible dependents who may have been financially dependent upon the deceased and/or received some form of care or ‘services’ from the deceased before death and that financial or service was likely to continue but for the death.  They must be able to prove loss or a ‘reasonable expectation of the service.’

  • The wife or husband or former wife or husband of the deceased.
  • The civil partner or former civil partner of the deceased.
  • An person living in the same household as the deceased immediately before the death and who had been living with the deceased in the same household for at least two years before the death and was living as the husband or wife or civil partner of the deceased.
  • Any parent or other ascendant of the deceased.
  • Any person treated by the deceased as his parent.
  • Any child or other descendant of the deceased.
  • Any person treated as a child of the deceased as a child of the family in any marriage or civil partnership that the deceased was in.
  • Any brother, sister, uncle or aunt, or their children of the deceased.

Please note that only one action can be brought on behalf of the estate and dependents in accordance with s.2(3) Fatal Accidents Act 1976.  In a case called Cooper v Williams [1963] 2 QB 567, the Court confirmed that claimants owe a duty to ensure all reasonable steps have been taken to see that all the dependents of the deceased who desire to claim for their loss are named in the action as persons on whose behalf it is brought.


What Can Be Claimed?  – Fatal Car Accident – Death by Dangerous Driving

The most common claims of a dependent for the loss of a loved one are:

Loss of Earnings£TBA
Funeral Expenses£TBA
Loss of Services, DIY, Gardening, Domestic Chores£TBA
Loss of Pension Benefits£TBA
Loss of Parental Love and Affection£TBA
Gifts, Presents, Allowances£TBA
Weddings and Special Occasions£TBA


The losses do not have to be incurred prior to the death, but can be ‘anticipated losses’ that would have been relied on had it not been for the motor accident causing death.  Thus for instance, if an adult child was promised by a parent that if he passed his exams they would buy him a motor vehicle, then that is an anticipated dependency post death and can be claimed by the child.

Bereavement Award Compensation

This is covered in great detail by our specialist website: Fatal Accident Claim, bereavement compensation.  The current value is £12,980 and is only payable to a limited class of family members:

A bereavement compensation award is only payable according to statute law, under the Fatal Accident Act 1976 this award is limited to:

• A surviving spouse – so the husband or wife of the deceased
• Surviving civil partner
• Parents of the deceased (if the child was under 18 years old)

If a partner has died due to a fatal accident caused by another, providing that the surviving partner was:

• married to the deceased,
• in a civil partnership with the deceased,

a claim can be made for bereavement award.

There has now been movement for unmarried couples which will cause a change in the law. The law as it stands has been shown to be incompatible under the European Convention of Human Rights as a breach of the Right to Family and Private Life and Protection from Discrimination, though a challenge through the Courts in the case of Miss Smith, who had cohabited with her partner for over 10 years when her partner died due to a medical accident, she had the right to challenge and the Government is now set to change and update the law.

Further Reading of Fatal Car Accident Compensation Claims

The law is complex and you need specialist solicitors, any immediate help or concerns please call Ronnie Hutcheon on 0151 724 7121 or contact us via our online page or our live chat pop up box that you can use if we are online to help you.

Not matter how small your query please get in touch. There is usually a three year period to make a compensation claim for death by dangerous driving (or indeed death by careless driving) so action must be taken as soon a possible.

More information on the subject, because it is so vast and complex we have set up a dedicated website called: Fatal Accident Claims, see some further links below.

Fatal accident causing death by dangerous driving

Death by dangerous driving – compensation

Compensation death by careless driving




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