Posted by Kerstin Kubiak, Partner
Compensation on tragic death in negligent driving accident
Losing a parent is a sad experience which almost all of us go through in life. However, in this case our clients had to deal with a sudden and untimely death of both their parents in a horrific car accident. Since our clients were all independent adults when this happened, the case also raised some issues as to what compensation was appropriate.
Mr and Mrs Sheen were returning home from abroad late at night and were driving towards London on the M4 motorway. They were struck at extremely high speed, head on, by a car driving in the wrong direction down the motorway. They had no chance to avoid collision as the other car was going far too quickly. In fact, the other driver had been pursued at high speed by the police, who had to stand down once the driver entered the motorway in the wrong direction in an effort to avoid capture.
Mr and Mrs Sheen were killed instantly following the impact, leaving behind four adult children.
The matter was referred to the Coroner for Gwent, and during the inquest the jury determined that Mr and Mrs Sheen had been unlawfully killed by the grossly negligent driving of the other car. The driver of the Mondeo was also killed in the crash also, so no criminal proceedings could be brought.
After the inquest, acting in behalf of Mr & Mrs Sheen’s children, Kerstin Scheel, Associate in our Clinical Negligence team, made an application for compensation to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
The children were all financially independent, so we could not file a dependency claim; instead, we successfully applied for a bereavement award of £47,000.
Kerstin comments: “This was an extremely tragic case and my clients were faced with the sudden and untimely death of both their parents. The law in normal civil claims is very restrictive in terms of what an adult child can claim when a parent dies, but under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme you can still claim for a bereavement award as an adult should your parent die. This allowed us to claim £11,000 for each of the surviving children, plus funeral and related expenses.”
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