What is a Bereavement Award Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 in England and Wales?

A Perspective by Hutcheon Law Solicitors, readers are also referred to our specialist website: fatal accident solicitors

How Can The Courts Compensation A Fatal Accident Claim?

Grief and loss are deeply personal experiences that can be further compounded by financial burdens. In England and Wales, the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 provides a legal framework to address the financial consequences of losing a loved one due to another party’s negligence. One aspect of this legislation is the provision for Bereavement Awards. In this article, we explore Bereavement Awards, their purpose, eligibility criteria, and the considerations involved in determining their value. We also take a closer look at Hutcheon Law Solicitors, a leading law firm specializing in this area, and their expertise in navigating such cases.

What is the Purpose of a Bereavement Award?

The primary purpose of Bereavement Awards is to provide financial compensation for the grief and sorrow caused by the wrongful death of a loved one. The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 was introduced to ensure that dependents of a deceased person receive fair compensation, covering both economic and non-economic losses.  However the award is not fair at all.

Who Can Claim for a Bereavement Award?

To be eligible for a Bereavement Award, certain criteria must be met. Firstly, the deceased must have died due to the negligence or wrongful act of another party. Secondly, the deceased’s death must have occurred in England or Wales. Thirdly, the person claiming the award must be the spouse or civil partner of the deceased or, in the case of a child, their parents.  Further reading can be obtained by clicking on the above link.

However the following CANNOT claim for a Bereavement Award:

  • Child who loses a parent
  • Parent who loses a child over the age of 18 years
  • Loss of a sibling
  • Loss of a grandchildren
  • Loss of a grandparent

How Much Compensation for a Bereavement Award?

The value of a Bereavement Award is determined based on several factors, including the age of the deceased, their relationship with the claimant, and the circumstances surrounding the death. The current statutory value for Bereavement Awards in England and Wales is £15,120 (as of September 2021).

The courts consider various aspects when deciding whether to adjust the award, such as the financial dependency of the claimant on the deceased, the level of care and support provided, and any future financial loss resulting from the death.

Which Solicitors Can Help Me Claim for a Bereavement Award?

Hutcheon Law Solicitors is a leading law firm specialising in personal injury and fatal accident claims, including Bereavement Awards under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. With their extensive experience and expertise in this area, the firm has successfully represented numerous clients in obtaining fair compensation for their loss and emotional suffering. Hutcheon Law Solicitors understands the complexity of such cases and provides compassionate and tailored legal advice to families during their most difficult times.

As expert solicitors in this area we often explain to bereaved families that a Bereavement Award has faced criticism due to its limited scope. Currently, only spouses, civil partners, and parents of deceased children under 18 years old are eligible to claim the award and it excludes bereaved siblings, and adult children.

In recent years, there have been calls for reforms to expand the eligibility criteria to reflect the changing dynamics of modern relationships and ensure fair compensation for all those affected by a wrongful death.


Bereavement Awards under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 provide financial recognition for the emotional pain and suffering experienced by close relatives following the wrongful death of a loved one. Hutcheon Law Solicitors, a leading law firm in this area, offers their expertise in navigating these complex cases, ensuring families receive the compensation they deserve during their time of need.

Please remember that whilst instructing expert solicitors in fatal accident claims either at work, on the road or due to the negligence from treatment or care from a medical profession there are also substantial claims that may be made for ‘dependency.’  See here for further reading: What is a dependency award under the Fatal Accidents Act?

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