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Fatal and Serious Accident Claims

Fatal and serious accidents can happen in a range of settings, both at work and in public places. Common scenarios include:
  • Fatal accidents at work
  • Road traffic collisions 
  • Extreme sports injury
  • Falls from a building or bridge
  • Victim of a natural or manmade disaster 

If you’ve lost a loved one in a fatal accident or you yourself have suffered a serious accident, it can be an incredibly traumatic experience for all those involved.
With any injury suffered or death due to negligence, you may be owed compensation from those responsible to  help support rehabilitation and offer some sense of justice. 

With a serious accident, the victim who suffered the injuries will likely make a claim (when they are of sound body and mind to do so). Where the victim lacks the mental capacity to bring the claim, a close family member or friend may be appointed their litigation friend
With a fatal accident claim, the claim will be made by the executor or administrator of the estate. 
Our expert team of serious injury and fatal accident solicitors provide a human touch when dealing with such sensitive cases.

We understand the difficulties you face, coping with grief and financial worries, and support you through these hard times. 

Ready to talk? Contact our team of expert serious injury and fatal accident lawyers to discuss your claim. Call 020 7650 1200 or


Causes of fatal or serious accidents 

Accidents can happen almost anywhere due to a range of factors. Often, the injury or death will be due to negligence on the part of an individual or organisation. This could include a lapse in health and safety standards, both for fatal accidents at work and in public places. 

Fatal claims can also be attributed to the direct action of an individual or group. For example, in the event of a terrorist attack that sadly claims the life of your loved one. 

Some of the main causes that lead to fatal or serious accident claims include:
  • Cycling – Cycle crashes can cause serious long-term brain and spinal injuries, broken collar bones and death, whether another cyclist or vehicle is involved in the accident or not.
  • Disasters – Terrorist attacks, train crashes, explosions and building fires are all disasters resulting in fatalities and life changing injuries for many survivors. Natural disasters such as flooding, fires and hurricanes can have a similar effect.
  • Fatal accident at work – A lack of safety equipment, training and planning can cause fatal accidents in the workplace. Construction sites, factories and farms where heavy machinery is present are common places for serious accidents. 
  • Travel and traffic – Road traffic collisions can lead to serious injuries and death. There were 1,784 reported road deaths across Great Britain in 2018. Whether you were a driver, passenger, pedestrian or other road user, if the accident was not your fault you may be entitled to compensation. 

Types of serious injuries

Thankfully, not all serious accidents result in a fatality. However, those involved can still suffer traumatic injuries that significantly affect their life and those of their loved ones. 

When the accident was caused by negligence on behalf of another individual or group, you may have a claim if you or a loved one has experienced any of the following serious injuries:
  • Amputation – Losing a limb is one of the hardest injuries to learn to live with, whether it’s the result of a car crash or accident at work. It can affect your career, where you live, financial future and daily life. 
  • Brain injury – Severe head and brain injuries may require long-term treatment and rehabilitation. In some cases, they can leave loved ones without capacity, requiring a litigation friend to pursue a claim. 
  • Spinal injuries – Serious falls, road traffic collisions and more can lead to spinal injuries. These may affect movement and even cause paralysis. 

Making a fatal or serious accident claim

To start a serious or fatal injury claim, start with a free initial consultation to discuss the details of you or your loved one’s case. Talk to a specialist serious injury or fatal accident solicitor within our personal injury team. They will listen to your case, ask any relevant questions for further information and advise you on whether you have a claim and what to do next.
Depending on the circumstances, they may inform you of who is eligible to make the claim, what you need to do and what to expect if an inquest is required. Normally you have three years to bring fatal claims from the date of the death or when you realised injuries sustained in an accident caused their death.  

Who can make claims for fatal accidents?

If the deceased left a will appointing executors, typically the executor of the estate will make the compensation claim following a death. They will make the claim on behalf of both the estate and those who were dependent on the deceased for income and services.
If the deceased did not leave a will or did not appoint an executor, the administrator of the estate will usually make the claim.
If the executor or administrator of the estate does not make a claim, those dependent on the deceased can make a claim on their own behalf.

Will there be an inquest?

When an accident causes a fatality, there may be an inquest. If there is a police investigation and that results in a prosecution, it is however highly unlikely that there will be. 

An inquest is not a trial, it is an investigation by the coroner to determine the cause of death. It will not apportion blame but will answer four questions:
  • Who was the deceased
  • When and where they died
  • The medical cause of death
  • How they came to their death

If the Coroner deems is appropriate, they may make a “Prevention of Future Deaths Report” where they feel action should be taken to stop similar deaths happening again.
The information that comes out of an inquest can be used by your legal team to support a fatal claim, as it can help prove who was at fault.
At Leigh Day, we may be able to represent you at the inquest into your loved one’s death. 

What is required to support a serious injury or fatal claim?

You may need to gather evidence to support your claim. This can be to prove the accident happened, it caused any injuries or death, was due to negligence (where relevant), and to support any costs being claimed. 
Evidence can include:
  • Witness statements, CCTV or camera phone footage from scene of the accident 
  • Police reports and personal testimonies to highlight instances of negligence
  • Medical records, documents and statements that detail the serious injuries and/or cause of death  
  • Financial records and documents that show loss of earnings and costs incurred due to the accident
Discuss your case with one of our team today:
  • Call 020 7650 1200 and speak to one of our serious injury or fatal accident solicitors or

Fatal or serious accident compensation

Every case is different, which means the amount of compensation you could receive will vary depending on its nature. The amount awarded aims to help your rehabilitation and/or cover the costs incurred by a loved one’s death.
In serious injury claims, compensation can be recovered for losses including:
  • Pain and suffering – for the injuries sustained, the treatment required and the long-term problems these will cause
  • Loss of earnings – whether the individual is unable to return to work, or to the same work, due to serious injury.
  • Rehabilitation costs – Physical and psychological therapies, treatments and support required due to injury.
  • Aids, equipment, medication costs – for items required due to the injury and for rehabilitation
  • Care and assistance – for the support provided by family and friends
  • Travel expenses – to and from medical appointments related to injuries sustained and rehabilitation. 

In fatal cases, compensation be claimed for losses such as:
  • Pain and suffering – suffered by the deceased between the time of the incident and death
  • Bereavement damages – a statutory payment to the spouse of the deceased
  • Funeral costs – For the family to cover this unexpected cost. 
  • Loss of earnings –for the dependents relying on the deceased’s income 
  • Loss of services – for the dependents who relying on the deceased for services to the family and around the home.
No two cases are the same, so it is important to discuss the particular circumstances with your solicitor.

Why choose Leigh Day?

Our team of serious injury and fatal accident solicitors within the personal injury department are highly experienced working on sensitive cases related to serious injuries and death. They will take great care to understand your circumstances and needs, supporting you through such a difficult time. 

We specialise in helping people affected by major transport disasters and accidents, successfully securing compensation to help you rebuild your life.
“Grant Incles was careful to explain points of law and the process, which I wasn't familiar with. With incredible attention to detail, he was very quick to move my case forward and to secure outcomes which were always in my best interest.” – Legal 500, 2020.
Grant Incles is a Leigh Day partner who has been working across all forms of personal injury litigation, including fatal accidents, since 1999. He specialises in serious cycling injuries and fatalities, while maintaining a practice of life-changing injury and fatal accident claims. 
Contact Leigh Day to discuss any serious injury or fatal accident claim. Call 020 7650 1200 or



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