When an individual dies their property will be distributed in accordance with any Will which may have been left and in the absence of a Will, under the rules of Intestacy.
However, when an individual suffers a fatal injury as a result of an accident or an industrial disease, all compensation recovered does not automatically fall into the Estate. Instead there will be two distinct elements to be considered namely:
- A claim by the Estate on behalf of the deceased;
- A claim by any individuals financially dependent upon the deceased at the time of death.
The right of a financial dependent to bring a claim for compensation is set out in the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. The purpose of the Act is to put the dependents in to the same financial position as they would have been had death not occurred. In order to bring such a claim however you must:
- Fall within the category of dependents defined under the Act and;
- Establish that you received some financial benefit from the deceased.
The definition of dependent under the Act is wide ranging and will cover any spouse or former spouse of the deceased and any civil partner. It also covers a wide range of other family members and ‘common law’ partners depending on certain circumstances. It is also possible to recover compensation as a dependent where the deceased was in a same sex marriage. This is in accordance with the Same Sex (Marriage) Act 2013.
When a claim is brought by a surviving spouse, the prospects of re-marriage are ignored. The only post-death events that are relevant are those which could affect the continuance of the dependency, such as the life expectancy of the deceased had the fatal injury not occurred.
Any dependency claim should be brought as part of the main action and not separately. As a consequence the dependency claim will be brought by the personal representatives on behalf of the dependent.
All personal injury claims are pursued on a No Win No Fee basis so you can rest assured that there is no financial risk.
To begin a personal injury compensation claim or obtain further advice with no obligation contact Sintons 24/7.