Q&As

In a fatal accident claim how do I refer to the deceased claimant on court documents? Do the executors/administrators sign all court documents?

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Published on LexisPSL on 05/06/2017

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

  • In a fatal accident claim how do I refer to the deceased claimant on court documents? Do the executors/administrators sign all court documents?
  • Fatal Accidents Act 1976 or Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934?
  • Claims under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976
  • Claims under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934

In a fatal accident claim how do I refer to the deceased claimant on court documents? Do the executors/administrators sign all court documents?

Fatal Accidents Act 1976 or Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934?

When the victim of a personal injury action has died prior to trial, two distinct claims are possible. A claim can be brought for the benefit of the deceased's estate and on behalf of the dependants of the deceased. While these claims can be pursued separately they are often brought in tandem. When a claim is brought for the benefit of the deceased's estate, this is founded on a continuation of the cause of action to which the deceased was entitled the instant before they died. When a claim is brought on behalf of 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.

Therefore how a deceased claimant is referred to on court documents will depend under which act the claim is brought.

For further guidance, see Practice Notes: Law Reform Act or Fatal Accidents Act?, Claims involving a fatality—heads of damage and Establishing liability under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.

Claims under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976

Under section 2 of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (FAA 1976):

  1. 'The action shall be brought

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