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Can I make a personal injury claim for someone who has died?

View profile for Danielle Callaway
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Can I do probate myself?

It is possible to pursue a personal injury claim on behalf of someone who has passed away. Usually, you would need a grant of probate (or letters of administration) in order to do so, although it is sometimes possible to bring a claim on behalf of beneficiaries of the estate without this.

Who can bring a claim on behalf of someone who has died?

The personal representative of their estate, so either the person who is named as an executor in their Will or the person who applies for letters of administration in order to administer the Will. The personal representative can bring a claim for losses on behalf of the estate. It is also possible for anyone who was dependent on the deceased (financially or otherwise) to bring a claim in their own right. All claims relating to the same incident would need to be brought at the same time, as one.

What if my family member died as a result of the accident?

You can bring a claim on behalf of their estate but you will likely need a grant of probate to do so, particularly if you want to claim for their suffering before they died. This claim could include any pain and suffering between the date of the incident and their death, any other losses between the incident and their death (such as lost income) and their funeral expenses.

You can also bring a claim on behalf of anyone who was financially (or otherwise) dependent on them (e.g. their spouse, partner or children) under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. This allows those who were dependent on the deceased to claim lost earnings, pensions and services which the deceased would have shared with the family if they had not passed away. There is also a bereavement award which can be claimed by a very narrowly defined group of family members.

What if my family member has died during the course of their personal injury claim?

Sadly, it is sometimes the case that the injured person passes away before their claim is concluded, for reasons unrelated to their injury. In these circumstances, the personal representative of their estate can continue to pursue the claim on their behalf. Any compensation recovered would be administered in accordance with the deceased’s estate. 

How long do I have to bring a claim for a family member who has died?

When someone has died, the limitation period for bringing a claim is usually three years from the date of death, provided that the death occurred within three years of the initial incident causing the injury. Their death re-starts the limitation clock running. However, if the three year limitation period has already expired before the injured person’s death and court proceedings have not been issued, the claim is likely to be statue barred, which means it cannot be pursued. There may be some exceptions to this.

How do I access the compensation for someone who has died?

For a claim brought on behalf of the deceased’s estate for losses incurred by the deceased, the compensation will be administered in accordance with the estate, i.e. in accordance with the Will or, if there is no Will, in accordance with intestacy rules.

For a claim brought on behalf of dependants of the deceased, compensation will be paid directly to the dependant. If the dependant is a child, the money will usually be held in an interest-bearing court funds account until the child reached 18, when it will be paid to them.

Do I need to instruct a personal injury solicitor?

It isn’t mandatory to instruct a solicitor, however, hiring an experienced personal injury solicitor who deals with cases involving fatalities will significantly improve your chances of success and also maximise the compensation you recover. Here at Stephensons we will be able to provide you with valuable guidance, negotiate settlements and ensure all legal procedures are correctly followed, all in a sensitive manner whilst acknowledging what a difficult time this is for you.

If you are considering making a personal injury claim on behalf of a loved one call us on 0161 696 6235 for free initial guidance on your options.