Two cars that have collided in a road traffic accident and suffered damage
May
1
2015

What’s My Claim Worth lawyers have recently acted for the estate of a 21 year old lady was travelling along the main road, when a car coming in the opposite direction collided head on with her vehicle.

Immediately following the accident, an ambulance was called and she was airlifted to hospital. At that time it was thought that her injuries had not been that serious and that she had been extremely lucky. She suffered a badly broken arm, a puncture wound to her leg caused by debris from her car and bruising to her chest.

The hospital discharged her the same day. Over the next seven days the Claimant who had been staying with her parents had been reporting severe back pain. She had returned to her local GP and had been examined by the nurse who advised her that the severe back pain she was suffering from had been symptoms of whiplash and not to worry about it. She was advised that she would “feel worse before she got better”.

Tragically, it transpired that the back pain was a symptom of the blood clot she had developed as a result of her injuries caused by the accident. Our client sadly passed away a week after the accident. The cause of death was recorded as being a pulmonary embolism.

We were instructed to pursue a fatal accidents claim on behalf of the estate.

The parents of the deceased had discussed the matter with their daughters’ insurers to see if they could pursue a claim but were told that the estate would be entitled to little or no money.

As our client was over 18 and had no husband or child, there was no entitlement to bereavement damages.  A claim could be brought however for the pain and suffering experienced by our client’s daughter before she sadly died, but the damages for this would be insultingly low. We recovered approximately £8000 for the injury aspect of the claim.

We advised the parents to pursue what is called a dependency claim. Their daughter had played a vital role in caring for them before her death and it was assumed that she would have continued to offer some care had she not passed away. A claim for dependency was therefore brought.  A claim was also made for the cost of travel, funeral expenses, and the legal fees in administering the estate.  An award was agreed in the sum of £27,500 for these elements of the claim.

No amount of damages can ever compensate parents for the loss of their child.  All we can do in these situations is to offer parents support and empathy and the right advice, so as to manage the parents’ expectations and prepare them for the reality that the law as it stands does not adequately compensate parents for the loss of a child.

Had the deceased been under 18 or had a child or husband, then there would have been a statutory award of £12,980 (as at 2013) for bereavement damages.  In addition there would have been a greater dependency claim and a claim for loss of earnings, pension rights, childcare and household chores could have been made.

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