How does car accident compensation apply in fatal crashes?

PUBLISHED 16 Apr 2018

The Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 governs the processes by which people can claim damages for injuries sustained in vehicle crashes in NSW.

Eligible claimants may receive compensation for lost income and superannuation, medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses and redress for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering or quality of life impairment.

But how does the system account for people who lose their lives in accidents? Is the process the same? And who receives compensation if the person involved in the crash has died?

The Compensation to Relatives Act

Vehicle technology innovation and improved road safety measures are helping to reduce the number of motor accidents worldwide. Nevertheless, vehicle crashes resulting in fatalities are a tragic reminder there is always more to be done.

There have already been 49 deaths on the state's roads in 2018, according to the latest statistics from Transport for NSW. This figure is 33 per cent higher than this time last year.

When individuals are hurt in a motor accident, the typical process is for the injured parties to pursue damages themselves. However, in fatal crashes, the family members of the deceased can proceed with a claim instead.

These processes are governed under the Compensation to Relatives Act 1897, which is designed to provide financial support to people who have suffered the wrongful death of a loved one on whom they were dependent.

Who can claim for a fatal car accident?

The relatives of the deceased who are eligible to claim are:

  • Spouses;
  • Siblings, including half-siblings;
  • Parents; and
  • Children.

According to the Act, the judge or jury in such compensation cases can award any damages they see fit to cover the losses the family member has suffered.

In practice, claimants often receive compensation for:

  • Hospital and medical expenses;
  • Any lost financial support the deceased provided;
  • Past economic losses resulting from the death;
  • Care costs for young children and other expenses the death has caused; and
  • Funeral expenses.

How to make a claim

Pursuing compensation for the death of a loved one can be a stressful experience at an already difficult time.

Enlisting the services of an experienced personal injury law firm that specialises in motor accident damages can significantly reduce the burden that claimants face.

Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers provides no-win, no-fee legal services to help relatives seek the redress they deserve after a tragic accident that leads to a loss of life.

Please contact us today to see how we can help.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts or email your enquiry.