Establishing liability under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976
Establishing liability under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976

The following PI & Clinical Negligence guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Establishing liability under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976
  • Circumstances in which no claim can be brought
  • Factors that will reduce the percentage of the dependency claim
  • What is the standard of proof in establishing a claim for dependency?

A limited class of people who were dependent in some way on the deceased (ie dependants) are entitled to bring a claim under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (FAA 1976). See Practice Note: Law Reform Act or Fatal Accidents Act?

If death is caused by negligence which would have entitled the person injured to claim and recover damages, the person who would have been liable if death had not occurred will be liable to an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured. When a claim is brought on behalf of the dependants, a fresh cause of action is created, although the claim will only succeed if it can be shown that the deceased would have recovered damages if they were still alive.

Damages, other than for bereavement, may be awarded as are proportioned to the injury resulting from the death to the dependants respectively.

Circumstances in which no claim can be brought

There are various circumstances in which, because of events during the deceased’s lifetime, or due to the way in which the accident occurred, there can be no dependency claim.

There can be no claim for dependency where:

  1. the deceased discontinued their own personal injury claim (in respect of the relevant tort) before they died (note that where such a claim was only discontinued after death by the estate then that