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We look after YOU

Fatal accidents

If you are killed in the accident, you cannot make a claim for yourself for the simple reason that you are no longer around in order to make a claim. However your executors can make a claim for the benefit of your estate. In principle calculation of the value of this claim is exactly the same as for any other injury with just one slight difference.

If for example, an injury results in you being crippled for life and unable ever to work again then in principle you should get as part of your compensation the value of all the wages and salaries you would have received for the rest of your working life, which can add up to quite a significant sum, especially when added to the compensation for pain and suffering that you can also expect. These figures do add up remarkably and is the reason why you occasionally see in the newspapers stories of 7 figure settlements for people injured in accidents.

In theory if you have been killed in an accident the calculation is exactly the same. Obviously if you are dead you are not going to be working for the rest of what would have been your working life, and therefore in principle, you ought to be able to claim those lost wages for the benefit of your estate. However many years ago there was a feeling that some deceased's representatives were using the tragedy of the loss of a loved one to make money by making huge claims for these many years' loss of income. So a stop was put to it.

A deceased's estate can however still claim for compensation for pain and suffering up to the point of death, but not afterwards. This is because, logically speaking, you cannot be suffering any pain and suffering anymore once you are dead, therefore, once you are dead, there is nothing more to compensate for you.

The family left behind

So, if you're dead you can't claim for all the wages you would have earned during the rest of your working life. But what if you have left a family that would have been reliant on those wages coming in had you survived, where does that leave them?

The answer is it does not necessarily leave them worse off. This is because if you get killed in an accident that you could have claimed for, had you survived, your family also has an independent right to compensation, quite distinct from the one that you have for the benefit of your estate. So your estate can make a claim for the benefit of your estate (which may or may not then be left to your family under your will for example) but not for pain and suffering after you die, and at the same time the family can also make a claim on their own behalf for compensation for the loss of you as a breadwinner.

The law works this way so as to ensure that if you do have a huge claim for lost earnings of this nature the money goes to the people who need it, i.e. your dependents, and not into your estate, which may or may not end up with the same people.