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Under statute claims can be made for the following:
If any of the above awards are made these are paid into the deceased estate.
In relation to a claim being made on behalf of the deceased’s estate if the deceased made a will, the executors named in the will should obtain a grant of probate. If the deceased has not made a will anyone bringing a claim on behalf of the estate should apply for a grant of administration.
The grant of probate or grant of administration will enable any awards made to the estate to be paid into the deceased estate and to be distributed in accordance with the wishes expressed in the will or in the absence of will in accordance with the rules of intestacy.
This is where unfairness creeps in as a result of the outdated legislation. There may be an entitlement to a statutory bereavement award. It's meant to represent compensation for the value of a loved one, but of course doesn't come anywhere near this.
Only the following people can claim 'bereavement award' under the FAA:
No one else in the family is entitled to a bereavement award, and for years the legal profession has been lobbying for the Act to be amended.
Types of loss that can give rise to a claim:
Examples of common scenarios:
The police may investigate the circumstances of the incident resulting in a fatality. The investigation can take a long time and may involve you.
Once the police have investigated, they may refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service, which has to decide whether there's enough evidence for there be realistic prospects of getting a conviction, and it must be in the public interest to prosecute.
If criminal charges are considered you can choose to make a 'victim personal statement', giving you an opportunity to explain in writing how the crime has affected your life.
Most criminal cases are heard in public court rooms, so you can attend. The police should support you if you decide to attend, and you can take friends and family along with you. For the purposes of any claim for compensation, it's not necessary for criminal charges to have been made or for the criminal prosecution to be successful.
If a criminal prosecution is being pursued against someone for causing the death, it's usual for the coroner to open the inquest and then adjourn it to await the outcome of the criminal proceedings. If a person is convicted, the criminal trial will serve as the inquest itself.
After an inquest has been concluded the coroner will issue the final death certificate. It's normal for an interim death certificate to be provided shortly after the death.
After a sudden death there's likely to be a post-mortem examination; this is a medical examination to determine the cause of death and is carried out by a pathologist on behalf of the coroner, who's the public official who investigates all sudden deaths.
Post-mortem examinations are usually invasive, but for faith and other reasons there's the scope to arrange a non-invasive autopsy, where scanning is used. You're legally entitled to be represented by a medical professional during the post-mortem examination, and if you're not satisfied with the information you receive about the cause of death you can, with the agreement of the coroner, arrange a second post-mortem.
Under the FAA, only certain categories of people can claim a dependency award. If you fit into a category you must also prove that you were actually financially dependant upon the deceased at the time of death, or relied on the deceased's services which had a financial value, or had a reasonable expectation of financial benefit whether directly from earnings or from services from the deceased in the future.
An inquest is a public hearing held by a coroner following a death. An inquest is usually held where the cause of death is not clear; for example when the death is a result of a road traffic accident, an accident at work, or where there are questions over medical treatment received by the deceased.
It usually takes some time for an inquest to be arranged, particularly if there's a police investigation, but the purpose of the inquest is to decide four questions:
It's not the purpose of an inquest to apportion blame. In most cases a coroner will record a verdict. In some rare cases a jury decides the verdict.
The possible verdicts are:
Every death must be registered.
A coroner may issue an interim certificate to allow you to deal with urgent financial matters, but until the death is registered, some things can't be sorted out, including dealing with a will that may have been left.
Others need to be told about the death quite quickly, including employers, motor insurers if the person who died was driving a vehicle, schools/colleges, life insurance and pension companies, banks, housing departments, utility providers, benefit agencies, tax people and passport offices.
The coroner can give permission for a burial or cremation to take place before his enquiries have been completed, and once the family has decided what arrangements it wants, a funeral director can be contacted. You may be able to get help paying all or some of the costs of burial or cremation, and you should contact your local Job Centre Plus office).If you're not eligible for help you should still keep receipts of costs in case you can claim them back later, which you may be able to do as part of your claim for compensation.
The coroner conducts an enquiry into the facts. It's not an adversarial process, but an inquisitorial one.
The coroner can ask anyone to give evidence if their evidence is relevant, and can ask questions. An inquest is a public hearing, and is open to anyone to attend, including the media. Only a person with a 'proper interest' can actually take part in the inquest proceedings.
Anyone who dies leaves an 'estate', whether or not they have any assets. If they've made a will, the executors named in it will obtain a 'grant of probate', gather in the assets, and deal with the administration of the estate, dividing the assets in accordance with the wishes expressed in the will.
If the deceased hasn't made a will, but has assets, then someone can apply for a 'grant of administration', and they then divide the assets in accordance with the intestacy rules.
The beneficiaries named in the will, or the people entitled under the intestacy rules.
Yes. There is no obligation in UK law requiring you to wear a cycle helmet nor is there any binding case law stating that a compensation award should be reduced if it is proved a claimant was not wearing a cycle helmet. In some cases, however, Judges have made reductions when the defendant has proved that the injuries sustained could have been reduced or prevented by wearing a cycle helmet.
Generally, whether or not there is a reduction for a failure to wear a cycle helmet is likely to depend upon the facts of the case and expert evidence.
Yes. You are entitled to claim for any repair costs to your bicycle or the pre-accident value of your bicycle if it is deemed beyond economical repair. Unfortunately, if your bicycle is beyond economical repair, you may not necessarily recover the amount you originally paid unless it was only recently purchased, as the award will take into account a reduction due to wear and tear. What you could have sold the bike for the day before the accident is a way of assessing its value.
You will require evidence of the repair costs in the form of estimates or of pre-accident valuation of the sale price if it cannot be repaired. The original purchase receipt or photographs of the bicycle are also helpful together with a full list of all the additional features that have been added.
Yes. Unlike motor vehicles there is no requirement to have compulsory road insurance. But this can also mean you have no insurance to cover the costs of making a claim. But if you instruct solicitors such as Access Legal to deal with you they will be able to agree with you a means of funding the claim. Though if you are a member of a cycling club or organisation you may be covered for legal expenses under that membership. Alternatively, you should consider whether you have any other means of funding available such as legal expenses insurance under a household policy or trade union funding.
In the absence of any of the above you may wish to fund your claim privately or, alternatively, we may be able to offer a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win no fee agreement).