What compensation is available for fatal vehicle collisions?

Published 06 Jul 2018

There were over 12,000 crashes reported on NSW roads last year, according to the NSW Centre for Road Safety, showing how easily things can go wrong behind the wheel. Unfortunately, a tragic number of lives are lost in vehicle collisions too, with 407 reported deaths in the last 12 months, as of the same source.

Car accident compensation payments usually cover medical and repair expenses, but in the case of a fatal vehicle collision, they can also help families deal with the loss of a loved one. Let's look over what compensation is available when a car accident occurs that leads to death.

Claiming compensation

If a motor vehicle accident is fatal, family members (including spouses, parents, siblings and children) may be able to claim compensation for their loved one's death.

When claiming for compensation after a fatal car accident, it's important you report the incident to the police and your insurer as soon as possible. Ensure you provide a registration number and the insurance details of the car which caused the accident, and keep receipts of any related expenses. This makes it more likely you'll receive financial support.

Who was at fault?
The amount of compensation you receive depends on who was at fault for the car accident. While the driver is normally the guilty party, a passenger or pedestrian can also be determined to be at fault for the collision:

The deceased was not at fault
If the deceased wasn't at fault for the collision, their family members are full entitled to claim compensation. The deceased could have been the driver, a passenger or a pedestrian.

The deceased was partly at fault
In circumstances where the deceased was somewhat at fault, family members may still be entitled to compensation payments but these will be lower than if there was no fault.

The deceased was fully at fault
If the deceased is determined to be fully at fault for the accident, there's usually no compensation available for surviving family members.

Being at fault covers a range of factors which can affect the driver, including:

  • Driving over the speed limit.
  • Debilitated driving ability through alcohol consumption.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs.

However, other scenarios can also make passengers or pedestrians the guilty party, such as:

  • Distracting the driver.
  • Assaulting the driver.
  • Crossing the road recklessly.

Additionally, certain circumstances can also make the deceased ineligible even if they are not explicitly at fault, including:

  • Not wearing a seat belt.
  • If the deceased knows the driver's ability was compromised.
  • Not following pedestrian road rules.

For more information on claiming compensation support to help after a fatal road accident affects your family, contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation Lawyers today.