fatal accident compensation payouts

Fatal Accident Compensation Payouts: Claims By Family Members, Partners And Dependants

Our fatal accident compensation payouts calculator details the amounts and types of loss that partners, children and family members can claim following the death of a loved one.

We consider bereavement loss, financial dependency claims (income dependency, caring and emotional dependency) and funeral expenses.


Table of Contents

Table Of Fatal Accident Compensation Payouts In 2024

Our table of fatal accident compensation gives examples of payout amounts certain close family members and dependants can claim for the loss of a loved one.

Additional Compensation When Death Is Not Instant
See our pain and suffering before death compensation article.
We explain how to claim additional compensation when you survive for a short period of time before passing away.
Fatal Accident CompensationClaim Payout In 2024
Bereavement Damages£15,120
Dependency LossUp to 75%
Of Deceased’s Income
Funeral ExpensesVariable – reasonable expense

What is a fatal accident compensation claim?

A fatal accident compensation claim is a claim for compensation from a person or business considered legally-at-fault for causing death of a partner, close family member or someone you are financially or emotionally dependent on.

The Deceased Must Not Be At Fault
Someone other than the deceased must be considered legally-at-fault to allow a fatal accident compensation claim to be successful.

Who can claim fatal accident compensation?

Ordinarily, you need to be within three main groups of people to be entitled to claim fatal accident compensation, which include:

Dependants of the deceased

Financial dependants on the deceased’s income prior to the death of the deceased are most likely to be able to recover compensation.

However, those dependent on care and emotional support may more rarely be entitled to compensation.

Emotional Dependency
Usually dependency relates to financial support, but in certain instances there can be a dependency loss for emotional support.
For example – consider a young child’s loss of a mother.

Spouse, civil-partner, cohabiting partner

This group of individuals could be entitled to some form of fatal accident compensation. This group may also include the deceased’s ex.

Close relatives of the deceased

Close relatives may be able to claim fatal accident compensation.

The deceased’s estate

See our death compensation claim article for details of when (plus the amounts) the deceased’s estate can make a claim.

What can a dependant claim in fatal accident compensation?

If you are a dependant you can claim:

A dependency loss payment

A sum taking into account the income of the deceased and the number of dependants relying on that income.

The amount awarded depends upon the facts of each individual claim.

Compensation For Loss Of Care Of Children And Family Members
Dependency fatal accident compensation claims can also include a sum of money to compensate for caring for children and family members.
For example – imagine your mother was killed in an accident and she looked after you and your siblings whilst your father was at work.
Compensation could potentially be claimed for this lost care.
The same may be true if adult children die who provided support to their parents.

Bereavement loss

Dependants also may be entitled to a bereavement loss. However, not all dependants can claim this loss.

funeral fatal accident compensation
Funeral Fatal Accident Compensation

Funeral expenses

The sum for that you can claim for funeral expenses can vary. Factors include the amount actually spent and the amount it was reasonable to spend.

When are you considered a dependant of the deceased?

You are considered a dependant for the purpose of making a fatal accident compensation claim if you are one of the following:

Husband, wife or civil partner

This group includes spouses and civil partners (including same sex civil partners).

There is no requirement for any specific minimum duration of marriage or civil partnership.

Former Spouse And Civil Partner
Former husbands, wives and civil partners (same sex relationships) may also be entitled to claim compensation as dependants.
The word former is used broadly to include not only divorced partners, but even annulled partners.

Cohabiting partners

For you to be classed as a dependant as a cohabiting partner you must fulfill the following conditions:

Living in the same household for two years

You must have been living with the deceased in the same household for two years immediately before the date of death.

Lived as though you were married or in a civil partnership

During the whole of the two year period – you must have lived as though you were husband or wife or as civil partner even though you did not have a specific title as such.

Breaks In The Relationship And Different Property Ownership
As you can imagine – breaks in the relationship may affect the two year period and if you and the deceased owned different properties you might not be considered to have lived in the same household.

Parents or ascendants fatal accident compensation

Parents or ascendants include grand and great grand parents.

All dependent parents and ascendants may be entitled to a fatal accident compensation payout.

Treated By The Deceased As A Parent
Dependants can include those treated by the deceased as a parent despite not actually being a parent by blood.

Child of the deceased or other descendant

Clearly – children of the deceased by blood and their children (grandchildren) are dependants.

However, dependency can extend beyond the blood relationship to any person treated as the child of the deceased.

For example – a child through adoption or through marriage or civil partnership, such as a child of a married partner – who was not the blood child of the deceased.

Brother, sister, aunt or uncle

Dependants also include the child of a brother, sister, aunt or uncle of the deceased.

The full definition of a dependant is set out in a piece of law known as the Fatal Accident Act 1976.

Same Sex Partners
Same sex partners now have the same rights as married partners.

If death was caused by a criminal act – who can claim?

When claiming from the CICA – the person’s entitled to claim are as above except only immediate parents and children can claim. Brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts are not entitled to claim.

What is a fatal accident earnings dependency claim?

Imagine a fatal accident occurs to someone who had paid employment or other source of income or earnings. Should you be an individual who was financially dependent on that income, you will undoubtedly suffer financial hardship & loss.

A fatal accident earnings dependency claim is, therefore, a sum to be included in the overall fatal accident compensation claim. It is based upon loss of income support and contribution from an earnings provider.

Earnings Dependency One Aspect Of Fatal Accident Compensation
An earnings dependency claim is one aspect of a fatal accident claim.
Others include bereavement loss, funeral expenses.

Who are financial dependants?

Financial dependants are those who relied in some way on the income of the deceased to support them in life. They come from the list of individuals we set out earlier.

How is the annual amount of compensation for earnings dependency calculated?

Can Never Be More Than The Deceased’s Total Income
The amount of compensation claimed for fatal accident earnings dependency can never be more than the total income earned by the deceased at the time of death.

There are two primary methods fatal accident earnings dependency can be calculated, which include:

Records of money coming in and going out

Records showing how the deceased’s income was used prior to death is important evidence. These records can form a basis to help calculate what the fatal accident earnings dependency loss was.

The apportionment principle

This apportionment principle approach applies slightly differently depending on whether the dependent was part of a couple with children or without children.

Consider two different examples:

Apportionment Example 1
Husband Killed In A Fatal Work Accident Leaving A Dependant Wife Working Part Time
Consider the net income for the couple.
The net income of the deceased husband at time of death is added to the net income of surviving wife.
The expenditure of the couple’s income is considered divided into 3 equal pots. Each pot being a third of the total net couple’s income.
Pot-1: the proportion of money the late husband kept for himself.
Pot-2: the portion of income used on joint expenditure of the couple.
Pot-3: the portion of earnings used to support his wife.
The fatal accident earnings dependency calculation allows the surviving wife to claim the part that was used for her (pot 3) and joint part (pot 2).
Therefore, the widow’s claim is for 66% (two thirds) of household combined income.
Watch out – from the overall figure of 66% is deducted the net income received by the wife from her part-time work.
The remaining final figure is the annual sum that can be claimed by the widow – technically known as the multiplicand.
Apportionment Example 2
Husband Killed In A Fatal Car Accident Leaving Dependent Children And Wife Who Is Not Working
As children are involved the first consideration is how long they would have been dependent.
In England and Wales – a child turns into an adult at the age of 18. At this age of majority it is be expected that the children would earn their own income.
There will, however, be considerations of the likelihood of further education and continued dependency during those periods.
As there is a partner and children – there are considered to be 4 pots. Each a quarter of the husband’s net income:
Pot-1: the proportion of money the late husband kept for himself.
Pot-2: the portion of income used on joint expenditure of the couple.
Pot-3: the portion of earnings used to support his wife.
Pot-4: the portion used for the children.
Here – the annual sum that can be claimed as fatal accident earnings dependency is 75%, being pot 2, pot 3 and pot 4.
The deceased husband was the only family member earning income.
Thus, the annual sum for fatal accident earnings dependency would be 75% of his annual net income.
If his wife had been earning – her income would be deducted from the 75% total.
Apportionment Summary

If one person is earning then apply percentage 66% for a couple and 75% for a family to the late husband’s net income. Should two people be earning then the same percentage of 66% for the couple and 75% for a family applies. However, now deduct the survivor’s whole income to give the net annual sum.

fatal accident dependency compensation claim
Fatal Accident Dependency Compensation Claim

How is the total fatal accident earnings dependency calculated?

Multiplicand and multiplier

The annual sum is known as the multiplicand. The number of years the annual sum is received after trial is known as the multiplier.

Tables To Calculate The Multiplier
The multiplier itself is calculated based upon certain tables.
These tables calculate life expectancy. In addition, they provide for a significant adjustment for early receipt of compensation monies.
It is presumed that compensation monies received early can be invested or saved and accumulate in worth as time goes by.
Date of trial

A recent case known as Knauer – v – Ministry Of justice determined that the multiplier started from the date of trial.

Term certain

The time period between the date of death and the date of trial is an exact time period – known as the term certain.


A fatal accident earnings dependency would, therefore, equal the term certain multiplied by the annual sum plus the multiplier times the annual sum.

For example – if it took two years between death and trial, you would received 2 x annual sum plus the annual sum x the multiplier.

What should you do if you believe you have a fatal accident dependency claim?

The calculations of fatal accident earnings dependency compensation are very complex. Therefore, you should speak to a specialist solicitor as soon as possible to assess your claim.

We offer specialist fatal accident solicitor free online / telephone help with fatal accident compensation claims.

Do Not Delay
Do not delay in seeking help. You risk losing the right to claim due to the statutory limitation period.

What are bereavement damages fatal accident compensation payouts?

A bereavement damages payment is a compensation payment for the pain and suffering for the loss of the deceased.

Only very close relatives can claim bereavement damages.

This is a fixed sum of money and is divided amongst those entitled to claim it.

fatal road accident claim
Fatal Road Accident Claim

Which family members can claim bereavement damages compensation?

The family members who can claim a bereavement loss damages payment are very limited and only include:

Wife, husband or civil partner

You are entitled to claim bereavement damages if you are the wife, husband or civil partner of the deceased.

Parents of child under 18 years of age

If the deceased was a minor (under the age of 18 years in England and Wales) – you can only claim if you are a parent of the deceased

Mother of an illegitimate child

If the deceased was an illegitimate child you can only claim if you are the mother.

Dependants May Be Able To Claim Additional Compensation
If you are also a dependant (as explained earlier) you may also be able to claim dependency fatal accident compensation.

Bereavement damages compensation payment amounts

In England and Wales the amount of compensation in bereavement damages is fixed by the government through legal statute.

Compensation Payouts Can Vary Across The UK
The different nations that make up the UK have different laws determining the compensation payouts for a fatal accident.

Bereavement Damages Compensation Amount In England And Wales

In 2024 in England and Wales the bereavement award stands at £15,120.

Bereavement Damages Compensation Payout In Northern Ireland

In 2024 in Northern Ireland the bereavement damages award is currently £17,200.

Award To Increase Regularly
In Northern Ireland – the bereavement damages payment is set to regularly increase.

Bereavement Damages Compensation Awards In Scotland

In Scotland – the amount of bereavement damages you can claim varies. It is calculated on a case by case basis (depending on the specific circumstances).

Criminal injury bereavement payment claims

Claims for a bereavement loss can be made by married partners (including civil partners), unmarried partners if living together as man and wife (includes same sex couples), the natural parents of the victim or a person regarded as a parent, the natural child of the victim (this includes adults over the age of 18 years) or a person regarded as a child.

Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme Revisions
The criminal injury scheme is regularly revised.
It is important to visit the CICA website for up-to-date details of who can claim fatal accident compensation and the amounts that can be claimed.

DWP Bereavement support payment

As personal injury solicitors we deal with claims against a party who is at fault in negligence.

We do not provide information nor assistance regarding benefit payments that might be available to you.

However, we recommend you see the government guidance on bereavement support payments (formerly bereavement allowance or widow’s pension).

Such payment might be available in England and Wales via the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) – to a husband, wife or civil partner (in the event of the death of a loved one).

DWP Payments Not Dependent On Legal Fault
There will be some eligibility criteria from the DWP, but these payments are not dependent on legal fault merely death whatever the cause might be.

When can the deceased’s estate make a claim?

Grant of probate if a will exists

If the deceased made a will before death – an estate will exist.

The deceased will have appointed executors to carry out the will in the event of death. The executors should obtain a grant of probate, which will allow administering of the estate and give the authority to make a claim for any fatal accident compensation on the estate’s behalf.

Letters of administration if no will exists

Should you pass away without making a will – you will have been considered to have died intestate.

An estate can still exist, but an appropriate person must apply for letters of administration to administer the estate and make a claim.

Claims for the deceased’s pain and suffering for death

In either set of circumstances – a claim for pain and suffering (and financial loss) before death of the deceased will not die. The estate can continue the claim.

For example – a road accident which leads to significant injuries that cause death after a few days. The deceased would have a claim for pain and suffering from accident to death – but clearly would not have the time to make a claim.

See our death compensation claim article setting out how much the estate can claim for the death of the deceased.

Example 2 – you may have an existing case that you were making for an asbestos-related condition, such as mesothelioma that led to suffering in life. Your estate would likely still be entitled to continue with a claim for your pain and suffering in life (even after you have passed).

How long do you have to start your fatal accident compensation claim?

We recommend you click death accident claim to see how long you have to start your fatal accident compensation claim.

Fatal Accident Compensation Payouts Summary

In this article you have learned who can claim fatal accident compensation payouts, the types of loss that can be claimed and how much compensation you can claim for bereavement damages. We have explained how your solicitor can calculate your potential dependency claim.

We provide free online and telephone legal help and assistance – you can ask a question, call direct to our solicitors, have your claim assessed both online or on the telephone.