Widow receives six figure settlement after husband dies in fatal accident

Ann Summerling | Jan 2022

A fatal accident can have a devastating effect on the family and friends who are left behind, especially when caused by someone else and if you have been dependent upon them for financial security. Where someone else was at fault, the family may be entitled to compensation and expert legal advice will be crucial, but the emotional impact of the unexpected death of a loved one should not be underestimated either.

Following such a life-changing event, it is important to instruct a legal professional who will investigate the case thoroughly whilst also offering a sympathetic ear and bring a human element to the legal process.

What happened

One morning in 2018 Mr C was on his way to work on a motorcycle scooter. He was riding in the left hand lane on a dual carriageway and a lorry was in the right hand lane.  The lorry moved into the left lane, failing to see the scooter.  Mr C  was knocked off his scooter and run over by the lorry, sustaining fatal injuries.

A year after the accident, his widow (Mrs C) contacted Ann Summerling in the personal injury team at Geoffrey Leaver as she needed a lawyer to attend the upcoming inquest.

Ann arranged to visit Mrs C at her home and explained how we could help her to obtain compensation and how a No Win – No Fee arrangement would work.   Ann then attended the inquest with Mrs C.

What we did

Following the inquest Ann and her team sent a letter of claim to the lorry driver’s insurers. In their initial response, the insurance company intimated that they may be considering making an allegation of contributory negligence.

Contributory negligence is a defence used by insurers when the person who has suffered injuries or damage was partly to blame for the accident in which they were involved.

In this case, the insurers suggested that Mr C had been trying to undertake the lorry and that his negligent driving had contributed to the accident, and ultimately to his death.

‘We immediately dismissed this idea’, explains Ann. ‘Mr C was simply driving along in his lane and the lorry driver just did not see him’. In the end, this was never formally raised as an issue and the insurers admitted that the lorry driver was fully at fault for the accident.

Mrs C also needed assistance in dealing with her husband’s financial affairs and obtaining a Grant of Probate.     Ann and her colleague, in the firm’s Private Client Services Team, visited Mrs C at home to discuss this with her and talk through what needed to be done.

Compensation for a bereaved family

When somebody dies in an accident which was not their fault, certain people may be entitled to compensation as dependants if their financial needs can no longer be met. This is usually a spouse, long-term partner, children or others who were reliant on the deceased for financial support.

Mr C had a wife and children, all of whom were to some extent financially dependent on him. Ann and her team formulated two claims for compensation on the basis of financial dependency: one for Mrs C and one for the children.

Calculating the amount of money which the family were entitled to was a complicated process, and Ann worked closely with a barrister experienced in dependency claims.    In order to calculate a fair figure, the legal team needed to consider not only financial matters like Mr C’s future earnings and pension but also his contribution to home and family life.  This was a necessary but emotionally taxing part of the process. ‘It was very upsetting for my client to talk about this as she was still understandably grieving at the loss of her husband

A settlement of £600,000 was eventually agreed.

‘These types of case are hard to deal with when we are working with clients who are suffering with grief, and they need a gentle hand and sympathetic ear.   There is no amount of money that can bring back a loved one, all we can do is obtain a financial settlement which will hopefully enable the family to move on with their lives eventually.’

Get in touch

Click here for more information about our specialist personal injury services, and to request a call back call

If you have any questions or have suffered a complex injury which was the fault of someone else and would like to discuss your claim, please contact  Ann Summerling on 01908 689368 or email asummerling@geoffreyleaver.com for a free initial consultation.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.


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Ann Summerling, Chartered Legal Executive

Ann Summerling | Chartered Legal Executive


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