At PICS, we understand the profound emotional and financial turmoil that can arise when a loved one faces a tragic end due to serious injuries. Navigating the complexities of fatal accident claims in Scotland is no easy task, especially amidst the grief and pain. Our dedicated guide on ‘Fatal Accident Claims In Scotland’ is tailored to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the legal landscape and how it impacts potential compensation claims. Drawing upon the expertise of our seasoned fatal accident solicitors and the regulations set by the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011, we aim to offer clarity and guidance during these trying times. Join us as we explore the intricacies of the Scottish legal system and illuminate the path forward for those seeking justice.

What Is a Fatal Accident?

A fatal accident is a tragic event where an individual loses their life after suffering severe injuries or illness due to unexpected and often preventable circumstances. Such accidents can transpire in various settings, whether on bustling roads, silent workplaces, or even open public spaces. Scottish law has its unique perspective on these accidents, defining and addressing them in ways that differ from other jurisdictions. 

Under the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011, it’s established that if an individual’s demise is directly due to another’s negligence or lapse in responsibility, it is a fatal accident. This legislation shapes the path for the deceased’s family to seek fatal injury compensation. The aftermath of such an event isn’t just a loss; it significantly impacts the deceased’s family and friends, leading to emotional and financial strains. Thankfully, mechanisms within the Scottish legal system allow affected parties to seek compensation and find some semblance of solace.

How To Make Fatal Accident Claims in Scotland? Process

Losing a loved one to an accident is one of life’s most challenging events. Beyond the emotional pain, many uncertainties can arise, especially when considering the legal avenues available in Scotland. At PICS, our mission is to navigate you seamlessly through every stage, ensuring clarity and simplicity in your journey. Here’s a simple guide to understanding the intricacies of fatal accident compensation claims in Scotland:


In the realm of fatal accident claims, statements serve as the backbone to validate your claim. They provide a recorded account of what occurred and play a pivotal role in ensuring justice is served; here are some important statements. 

 Witness Statements: Often, these are firsthand accounts from people who witnessed the accident. They can clearly show how the event unfolded, which is crucial in proving negligence.

Personal Statements: This is where you, as the claimant, detail the impact the accident has had on your life. Emotions, financial hardships, and other personal experiences tied to the accident are documented here.

Expert Statements:

Sometimes, the nature of the accident requires a specialist’s input. For instance, a traffic accident expert might be asked to provide guidance in order to determine fault in a complex road traffic accident.

It’s essential to ensure statements are clear, accurate, and honest. Any inconsistency can hinder your claim’s success. We can guide you through collecting and drafting these vital documents, ensuring they strongly support your fatal accident personal injury claim.

Funding the case:

When pursuing a fatal accident claim in Scotland, funding can be a concern. At PICS, we ease this stress with our “No Win, No Fee” structure. This means you don’t pay unless we succeed in your claim. It ensures access to justice for all, irrespective of financial standing. With PICS, you get expert representation without the upfront financial burden.

Intimating the claim:

The first step in any fatal accident claim in Scotland is “intimation”. It’s a formal notification given to the party at fault, stating the intention to claim compensation. At PICS, we ensure this process is handled swiftly and correctly, setting a solid foundation for your case. It’s vital to get this right, as it paves the way for negotiations or possible court proceedings.

Investigating the accident:

Following the intimation, the accident’s investigation becomes paramount. We meticulously examine all details, gather crucial evidence, and speak with witnesses. Adopting a thorough approach, we ensure every angle of the accident is scrutinised, enhancing your claim’s robustness. Always remember that meticulous examination is often the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful claim.

Calculating damages:

When it comes to fatal accidents, evaluating the monetary impact is complex. We consider numerous aspects, such as medical expenses, loss of income, and emotional distress. Our aim? To ensure that the calculated amount reflects the gravity and impact of the loss, giving you the compensation you deserve.

Agreement on liability:

Establishing who’s at fault in an accident isn’t always straightforward. We diligently work to pinpoint liability, negotiating with opposing parties to reach an agreement. It’s essential to have solid evidence and a firm stance, as this determines if the other side is held accountable and you get a fair amount of compensation.

Agreement on quantum (the amount of damages sought):

After calculating the damages, the next step is to agree on the quantum or the specific compensation amount. This isn’t just a random figure; we base it on the damage and pain experienced. It’s a process of negotiation, and we strive to ensure that the amount decided upon is just and fair for the tragedy faced.


The final stage in the Fatal Injury Claims process is the settlement. A formal agreement is signed once liability and quantum are agreed upon. We advocate strongly on your behalf, ensuring you receive the compensation promptly and fully, concluding the claim journey.

What Evidence and Documentation Do You Need?

Gathering the right evidence and documentation is crucial to strengthen your fatal accident claim. First and foremost, any accident reports or police statements from the accident will be invaluable. Medical records detailing the cause of death and witness statements can provide additional clarity. Photos of the accident scene, if available, can offer visual proof. Lastly, any related expenses or financial damages linked to the accident will be essential for calculating compensation. Ensuring this documentation is in order can significantly streamline the claims process and boost your case’s success.

What Claims Can Be Made Under The Fatal Accidents Act?

The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 allows family members left behind to pursue compensation to alleviate their emotional and financial burdens after their loss. While monetary compensation can never replace the emotional void, compensation aims to grant some monetary reprieve. Here are some claims that can be made under the Fatal Accidents Act.

  1. Statutory bereavement award: This is a fixed sum awarded to close family members, such as spouses, civil partners, or parents of a deceased minor.
  2. Dependency Claim: If the deceased was the primary earner, dependents can claim for the loss of financial support. This includes immediate family, children, and sometimes even extended family, who used to rely on the deceased’s earnings.
  3. Funeral Expenses: We know the unexpected burden a sudden death of a loved one can bring. The Act allows the family to claim for reasonable funeral costs if they were responsible for arranging the funeral.
  4. Loss of Services: If the deceased contributed significantly to household tasks like childcare, cooking, or cleaning, compensation can be claimed for the costs associated with replacing these services.
  5. Pain and Suffering of the Deceased: If the deceased didn’t pass away instantly and endured pain or suffering after the accident accident, a claim can be made to recognise this distress.
  6. Loss of Companionship: The loss of a loved one’s presence, guidance, and companionship can be profoundly affecting. Certain close relations can claim for this intangible yet significant loss.

What Laws Apply To Fatal Accident Claims?

Laws and regulations surrounding fatal accident claims ensure justice and fair compensation for the affected families. In Scotland, the legal nuances surrounding these matters can seem overwhelming. However, don’t worry; we are here to decode and simplify the process for you. Let’s journey through the essential regulations that are pivotal.

  1. The Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976: This essential legislation dictates that a public inquiry must be held if a death occurs suddenly, suspiciously, unexpectedly, or in certain circumstances, like in police custody. The primary aim isn’t to place blame but to prevent similar accidents in the future.
  2. The Damages (Scotland) Act 2011: This law focuses on the rights of relatives to make a fatal injury compensation claim. It explains who can claim, what can be claimed for, and how amounts will be calculated. It recognises the tangible and intangible damages families face after an unexpected death.
  3. The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973: Timing is crucial when making a claim. This Act highlights that most fatal accident claims must be made within three years of the accident or the date of death. Exceptions do exist, but it’s essential to act promptly.
  4. The Road Traffic Act 1988: In cases where a fatal accident occurred on the road, this Act becomes particularly relevant. It mandates that motor vehicle users must be insured against their liability for deaths resulting from accidents.
  5. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992: If a fatal accident takes place at work, these regulations ensure that employers maintain safety standards. Non-compliance can lead to claims against the employer.
  6. The Occupiers’ Liability (Scotland) Act 1960: Property owners must ensure the safety of visitors. This Act can support the claim if a fatal accident occurs due to an obstacle or a danger on private property.
  7. The Fatal Accident and Sudden Deaths Act 2016: A modern approach to fatal accident inquiries. It streamlines investigations and places bereaved families at the centre of the process. Recommendations from this Act are actionable, ensuring proactive measures for future safety.

Are You Eligible To Claim If A Loved One Died In An Accident?

The anguish of losing a cherished individual due to unforeseen circumstances is profound, leaving families grappling with many unanswered questions. A prominent question might be: “Is there a provision for me to make a compensation claim?” Here are some individuals who are eligible to make a fatal accident claim. 

  1. Close Relatives: Generally, the immediate family – spouses, civil partners, parents, children, and in some cases, siblings – are primarily entitled to claim. You’d likely have a stronger case if you were financially dependent on the deceased or shared a household.
  2. Partners in Cohabitation: Scottish legislation also give appropriate weight to relationships that aren’t bound by the formal ties of marriage or civil unions. If you shared a home and life with the departed as a ‘partner in cohabitation’ for at least two years before the unfortunate event, you could be eligible to make a claim.
  3. Financial Dependents: You don’t necessarily have to be blood-related. If the deceased was a financial pillar for you, granting consistent monetary assistance, your claim might hold ground. This encompasses anyone who leaned on the deceased for regular financial aid.
  4. Guardians: If the deceased was a minor and under someone’s guardianship, the guardian could potentially make a claim, especially if there were financial ties or expected future support.
  5. Claims for Emotional Distress: It’s essential to remember that emotional pain and loss of companionship are valid reasons to claim, even if there’s no financial loss. The bond and support between family members hold significant value.
  6. Accident Circumstances: Not all fatal accidents result in valid claims. The accident must have been due to someone else’s negligence or a breach of statutory duty. We can help ascertain the specifics for you.

Understanding your eligibility and rights is the first step towards seeking justice. It’s a process filled with legal terms and procedures, but we’re here to navigate you through, ensuring the path is as clear and compassionate as possible. Remember, while no amount can truly compensate for your loss, a claim can offer some form of relief and closure.

Who Can Make A Fatal Injury Claim?

Losing someone to a tragic accident is heart-wrenching, and it can leave families grappling not just with grief but with unexpected financial and practical challenges, too. In Scotland, the legal system acknowledges these difficulties and allows certain individuals to make a fatal injury claim.

Spouses and Partners: If the deceased was your husband, wife, or civil partner, you are typically front in line to lodge a claim. Your relationship holds legal weight, positioning you as a primary claimant.

Children: Whether biological, step, or adopted, children of the deceased have a direct right. This includes minors and adult offspring who might’ve depended on the deceased in various capacities.

Parents: The profound sorrow parents experience from the untimely demise of a child is beyond words. Recognising this anguish, the legal framework in Scotland permits parents to forward a claim. This stands especially true when the child, whether young or mature, is expected to provide future financial support to the family.

Siblings: Brothers and sisters can also make a claim, especially if they share a household or have financial interdependencies with the deceased. Their claims recognise the profound bond and possible financial contributions that the deceased might have provided to support their sibling’s lifestyle or needs.

Extended Family: At times, more distant family members such as grandparents, nephews, nieces, or even second cousins might be deemed qualified, provided they can validate a substantial bond or reliance on the departed. This could stem from an emotional connection, financial ties, or other tangible contributions.

Cohabitees: People who lived with the deceased as a couple for a certain period (often over six months) before the accident might have rights similar to spouses or civil partners.

Guardians: If the deceased was under the guardianship of someone other than the biological parents, that guardian may have the right to make a claim, given the responsibility and connection they held with the deceased.

Financial Dependents: Any individual financially dependent on the deceased, irrespective of familial ties, could potentially make a claim. This could be an individual who isn’t necessarily related but was significantly dependent on the deceased, whether through monetary support or other means and might be in a position to lodge a claim.

Estate Representatives: In situations where the deceased left behind a will, the designated executor or the individual overseeing the estate could potentially forward a claim on behalf of all beneficiaries.

It’s crucial to emphasise that determining one’s right to claim hinges on various factors, including the particulars of the accident and the depth of the relationship with the deceased. Seeking advice from fatal injury solicitors will provide clearer insights tailored to individual situations.

What Is The Limitation Period For A Fatal Accident Claim?

When tragedy strikes, time might seem to blur. Yet, in the realm of legal claims, time limits are a concrete factor. Every claim has its ticking clock, a window of opportunity which, once shut, may leave those deserving without redress. However, what’s the countdown for fatal accident claims in Scotland?

Three-Year Window: In Scotland, the general rule is that you have a three-year limitation period. It starts from the date of the accident or the date of death if they differ. This means if a loved one lost their life in an accident, the clock starts ticking either from the accident date or, in cases where the death might’ve been a later consequence, from the day they passed away.

Exceptions Can Apply: There are times when this three-year timeline can be extended. For example, consider a scenario where an individual wanting to make a claim was below 16 when the accident occurred. In such cases, the three-year countdown doesn’t kick off until they reach the age of 16. Additionally, if the repercussions or outcomes of the accident manifest later, courts might reconsider the initiation date of the limitation period.

While there’s a legal window, we urge you not to delay. Gathering evidence, consulting experts, and setting the wheels of justice in motion are processes best approached with immediacy. The sooner you begin, the fresher the evidence and the clearer the memories, enhancing the strength of the claim.

PICS Helps You Make Fatal Accident Claims In Scotland:

Losing a loved one is an unimaginable pain, and while no compensation can bring them back, ensuring justice is served can provide a semblance of closure. Amidst the grief and turmoil, dealing with legal processes can be overwhelming. That’s where we step in.

A Network You Can Trust: At PICS, we take pride in our expansive network of personal injury lawyers Scotland. Many of them are not just skilled but specialise in fatal accident claims. Their expertise ensures that your case is in the best hands, tailored to navigate the complexities of such claims.

No Win No Fee Basis – A Commitment: Legal processes can often be daunting, both emotionally and financially. We recognise this. That’s why we operate on a no win no fee Scotland basis. It’s simple: if we fail to secure your claim, you owe us nothing. Our priority is to ensure that you’re supported without the added stress of upfront legal fees.

During these heart-wrenching times, you need more than legal assistance; you require a compassionate ally who can walk alongside you, ensuring your case receives the dedication, skill, and support it deserves.