In some circumstances, it is possible for certain suddenly-bereaved people to claim compensation, if there is some degree of negligence. This means someone, or more than one person, was partially or entirely to blame for causing a death. Negligence can sometimes be proven, for example, after a death on the road, in a workplace, or in a hospital.
It is not greedy to claim compensation. It is your legal right to compensation if someone was negligent. Any money paid to you can help you cover many costs that bereaved people often suffer in their lives, such as the loss of income from someone who died, or needing to pay other people for help that a person who died provided at no cost (such as child care).
The awarding of compensation is decided through a legal process. Usually the liable person’s insurance company pays (for example, their motor insurer if it was a road death, or liability insurer if it was a death in the workplace).
If you think someone was partly or entirely responsible, it is important to ask a specialist lawyer if it is possible to pursue a claim. It is usually free to consult a lawyer, with expertise in handling compensation claims, to find out if you may have a claim.
To pursue a claim for compensation from someone it is not always essential for that person to have also been found guilty of a crime in connection with the death. Compensation claims are pursued through civil law, which is different to criminal law.
It is important to hire an appropriately qualified and experienced lawyer.
There may be a variety of ways to pay a lawyer; you do not necessarily need the funds in advance to hire a lawyer.
You may want to consult several lawyers, for free, in order to find the best one for you, with the best level of specialism relevant to the case.
Make sure the lawyer you hire:
- has a track record of working successfully on very similar cases to yours,
- has a financial agreement with you that you can understand and that is fair; and won’t result in you giving them an unreasonably large amount of any compensation you are granted,
- is a member of a reputable association, such as the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.