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Making a claim after a fatality

Following the tragic loss of a loved one, legal support can guide the family through what is an emotionally and financially traumatic experience.

The sudden and devastating death leaves a void which cannot be filled by compensation but making a bereavement claim can help to ease the financial burden for dependants of the deceased. Once liability enquiries are complete and it is determined who is liable, a claim for compensation may be made.

The types of claimants:
  • Executor – This is the person looking after the estate of the deceased if there is a will and they will nearly always be named in the will as the person the deceased wanted to look after the estate.
  • Administrator If there is no will, a family member can apply for a grant of probate so that they can deal with the estate. They will be name an Administrator of the Estate and not an Executor.
  • Dependants Usually the spouse, a partner under a civil partnership, an unmarried partner if we can prove cohabitation for two years or more, and children. In some cases, it is possible that grandchildren, elderly parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles could have a claim if they were dependent on the deceased in some way.

The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 allows a dependant or dependents of the deceased to recover compensation which reflects any losses arising from the person’s death. These losses are considered both financially or for services, from the date of their death up to the stage where they otherwise would have ceased to provide for the dependant or dependents.

Types of financial losses which can be claimed from the estate:
  • Damages for personal injury from the date of the accident to death, if applicable.
  • Damage to a vehicle if it was a road traffic accident.
  • Damage to personal items, clothing, watch, mobile phone etc.
  • Any losses between the accident and death, such as lost earnings, if applicable.
  • Reasonable funeral costs, flowers, wake etc.
Bereavement Award

This is a statutory amount set by the government and is currently £15,120 for accidents after May 01, 2020. People who can claim this award are the spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner for more than 2 years. The parent of a child who has died can also make a claim – although, if the child is born out of marriage, only the mother can claim.

Financial dependency claim

A financial dependency claim provides compensation for the lost income for people who were financially dependent on the deceased.

This is usually the spouse or children but could be other dependents in very specific circumstances backed up by the evidence. This claim can run through what would have been the deceased’s working life and into the period when they would have received a pension. It stops at the age where either the deceased or spouse would have been likely to die in any event, worked out by average life expectancy.

Loss of services claim

This is for things the deceased would have done around the house, such as household chores, DIY, decorating, gardening, babysitting etc. If this is a complex claim, a written report from an expert might be needed to put a financial value on these losses. Minster will also work to revisit existing case law available from previously decided cases which help us to try and put an annual figure on this loss in financial terms.

Loss of intangible benefits

A claim can be advanced for loss of intangible benefits/loss of love and affection for a spouse and or the children. This reflects the fact services may be provided by a mother, wife, father or husband over and above what may be provided by a paid replacement.


Claims can be put forward for the regular gifts that the deceased might have made to their spouse or children, possibly even grandchildren, as long as this is not duplicated under the loss of income award.

Funeral expenses

Reasonable expenses connected to the funeral can also be claimed such as the costs of the funeral, wake, flowers, and headstone.