Who can bring a claim when someone dies?

10 September 2021

When a loved one dies, grief is difficult and there can be a lot to deal with.  If someone dies as a result of medical negligence or personal injury, then it’s important to consider who can bring a claim.

We recognise that not all family situations are the same or straightforward. If your circumstances are unusual or complicated and you are not sure whether you have a claim, please contact our team.

Dependants of the Deceased

A claim can be brought by dependants of the deceased under the Fatal Accident Act 1976.

Dependants are people who can show that they will suffer financial hardship as a result of the death. This includes a husband or wife, civil partner, cohabiting partner (if the couple lived together for more than two years immediately prior to death), parent, child, sibling, aunt or uncle of the deceased.

Dependants may be entitled to claim for  financial losses such as lost earnings and pension, as well as  funeral expenses, and the cost of replacing the domestic contribution of the deceased, such as child care, gardening or DIY.  Some dependants, including spouses, civil partners, cohabiting couples and parents are also entitled to a fixed bereavement award which is currently £15,120.

The Deceased’s Estate

A claim can be brought by the deceased’s estate under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934.

The executor(s) or administrator(s) of the deceased’s estate will deal with the claim and any damages awarded to the deceased’s estate will be distributed in the same way as the bulk of the deceased’s estate.

The deceased’s estate can also claim for losses arising from the point of injury until death, such as the deceased’s pain and suffering, as well as financial losses such as lost earnings and the domestic services which would have otherwise been carried out by the deceased. The estate may also be entitled to claim for any funeral expenses incurred and any damaged personal items which belonged to the deceased.

Fatal claims can be complicated. We build the best team for your case, working with forensic accountants and specialist Counsel to make sure that your family is not financially disadvantaged following a death.  

We act for many families who have lost loved ones due to medical negligence and personal injury. If you have lost someone and would like to discuss bringing a claim,  please contact us on 0207 814 1200 or by email claims@kingsleynapley.co.uk.



Kirsty Allen has a varied caseload of medical negligence and personal injury matters. Her medical negligence work includes child cerebral palsy and adult brain injury cases, as well as fatal claims (including inquests), loss of sight cases, as well as failure to diagnose cancer and gynaecological claims.

Lydia Holland is a paralegal in our medical negligence and personal injury team. 


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We welcome views and opinions about the issues raised in this blog. Should you require specific advice in relation to personal circumstances, please use the form on the contact page.

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