There are approximately 3,500 fatal motorcycle accident claims each year. As a practice we deal with a high number of fatal motorcycle accident claims. These are always dealt with at partner or senior associate level.
Fatal Motorcycle Accident Claims
Fatal motorcycle accident claims (Bereavement Cases) need a special level of expertise, care and consideration. The importance of the case goes far beyond any financial value. Grieving members of the family, as well as the wider family, need to be treated with special consideration. We offer practical guidance to the family, surviving spouse or partner, along with the ability to litigate hard and aggressively if necessary. You are likely to need strong lawyers defending your corner who you can rely on to deal with the issues for you.
The motorcyclist killed in the accident can no longer speak for him or herself. For a fatal accident in England or Wales there is always a Coroner’s Inquest and usually a detailed police accident investigation report. Police accident investigators can make mistakes and we have previously had to cross examine them where they have made damaging presumptions, such as all motorcyclists speed. We never forget that any one of us, as motorcyclists, could find our families in the position of having the knock on the door from the police.
Fatal accidents usually give rise to a claim for losses to the estate, bereavement awards and claims by the dependents of the deceased. There are complicated rules in relation to these, the simplest of which is the bereavement award. This is limited to the spouse of the deceased or, if they were under 18, the parents.
It is impossible to put a realistic price on a life, so the Government fix a figure that has to be paid as a bereavement award in qualifying cases. The award is only payable in the event of a successful claim (it is not paid otherwise). Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (amended by s.3 of the Administration of Justice Act 1982) the amount of bereavement award has been set as follows:
|From 1 January 1983 to 31 March 1991||£3,500|
|1 April 1991 to 31 March 2002||£7,500|
|1 April 2002 to 31 December 2007||£10,000|
|1 January 2008 onwards||£11,800|
Where a fatal accident occurs there may be an obligation to apply for Probate and to pay tax. These matters can be relatively simple to deal with if you know what you are doing, but equally can be hard for the inexperienced. We are here to help. Practical advice on dealing with the loss can also be obtained from www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk.
The Coroner’s Inquest
We will often provide free representation for bereaved people who find themselves at Inquests. The purpose of the Coroner’s Court is to confirm who died, when, where, how and the cause of death. The Coroner cannot apportion blame and this is left to the Civil Courts. The foundations for any liability case involving a fatal road traffic accident are usually laid at the Coroner’s Court.
As a practice we would always attend a Coroner’s Inquest with a senior solicitor. All of our solicitors are trained advocates who also ride motorcycles and have a great deal of experience in fatal motorcycle accident claims and litigation, so you will be in safe hands at any Coroner’s Inquest. Where we represent you we attend on your behalf and ask the questions that need to be asked.