Seymour Furlong Lawyers

Personal Injury Lawyers Brisbane

Death Claims

You have the right to pursue compensation

Death Claims

No matter the circumstances surrounding the accident, the death of a loved one is always devastating. If your loved one was killed in a motor vehicle accident, work accident or public liability incident, then any dependents (i.e. children, spouses, de facto partners or loved ones) may be able to bring a dependency or nervous shock claim., sometimes referred to as either a death dependency claim or a death claim.

At Seymour Furlong Lawyers in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, we provide trusted legal services and can help you make a death dependency claim or a nervous shock claim if you were financially or any way dependent on the deceased person. Our personal injury and compensation lawyers operate on a ‘no win no fee’ basis and provide expert legal advice on making death claims to help you understand your rights and the claims process.

Losing a loved one is never an easy time for anyone, especially if it’s your family. If you have recently lost a family member as a result of a motor vehicle accident or fatal work accident, or a public liability incident, we are here to help.

As we are personal injury lawyers, we are also able to assist more than just that person who has been involved in an unfortunate circumstance.

Regardless of the place where the incident occurred – be it the at work, while driving or as passenger, or in a public place, there is potential for a claim with respect to financial and emotional compensation that a dependent or family could be eligible for. Dependents (i.e., spouses, children, defacto, or other family members) are able to bring a nervous shock or dependency claim if they had been dependent on the deceased financially or by any other means.

This would include any monetary contributions (current and future) that they would have been bringing to the household (i.e. being the main income for the family, otherwise known as breadwinner) as well as any assistance or care that was provided to the family or dependents – including but not limited to: household work or personal care.

There are strict time limits with regards with to lodging a claim, so it’s critical to know what rights you have and what you may be entitled to. 

Who Can Bring a Death Dependency Claim/Nervous Shock Claim?

Death dependency claims can be brought both in relation to financial and emotional dependency; and financial dependency must be considered in light of the individual circumstances. In some cases, dependency claims for children can exceed them turning 18.

Nervous shock claims can be brought by any relative, de-facto, or other person who suffers a recognisable psychiatric/psychological injury as a result of death. These people need not to have witnessed the event nor do they necessarily need to have seen the body.

According to Queensland’s Civil Proceedings Act (2011), it defines the following as family members who are able to make a death claim :-

  • a child of the deceased – this includes a child born after the death of the deceased; or
  • a person whom the deceased acted, immediately before his or her death, in place of a parent; or
  • a parent of the deceased (includes step-parent or grandparents)
  • a person who acted, immediately before the death of the deceased, in place of a parent to the deceased; or
  • a spouse

Unfortunately, there is the reality that some people will be falling into both categories whereby they had dependence on the deceased, as well as had suffered nervous shock – in this instance, you would be able to claim for both aspects.

You are able to make a death dependency claim if you were financially dependent on the deceased person. This often makes it comparatively simple for spouses and children to claim for financial dependency. However, if you’re a parent or a sibling, then you’re unlikely to be able to bring a dependency claim unless you can prove your financial dependence on the deceased.

Despite this, it does not mean that you are unable to bring a nervous shock claim. The psychological and psychiatric injuries sustained as a result of the death could include but is not limited to: adjustment disorders, depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Often, these injuries arise after hearing or witnessing the critical injuries suffered by a loved one, or death, and these can be quite severe and affect one’s everyday life. 

With respect to d for a dependency claim following the death of an individual. It is therefore vital that proper consideration is made prior to the action being commenced and for family members to realise what their rights are and to ensure their interests are fully protected. As a result, we recommend contacting a lawyer to handle your death dependency claim case as soon as possible. 

What Can I Claim For?

When you bring a death dependency claim, you’re able to claim for the loss of any financial contributions the deceased would have continued to contribute to you, as well as the domestic services they used to provide you with. These can include, but are not limited to: cooking, cleaning, assistance under some circumstances, you may also be entitled to claim for funeral costs.

In relation to nervous shock claims, and much like the dependency claim, the damages that are calculated towards your compensation sum include general damages, past and future economic loss if you have been off work, and, out of pocket expenses such as medication or treatment sessions that have been incurred as a result of your injuries. Moreover, if your injuries have been severe to extent of where you are unable to do work around your house or yard and have required to pay for someone else’s assistance, this is also taken into consideration with your sum.

Do Time Limits Apply for Death Dependency Claims?

Strict time limits apply to all death dependency claims. You have three years from either the date of the accident or the loss of dependency for court proceedings to begin.

Generally speaking, you must lodge a Notice of Claim Form and serve a notice with all parties that you believe may be at fault for the death of your loved one – your lawyer will be able to advise you of all deadlines.

Depending on the type of claim, the time limit for this will vary from within one month of retaining a lawyer to within nine months of the accident. These circumstances remind us, and our loved ones, to take care of their wills & estates as early as possible.

Calculating Compensation for your Loss

The type of claims that can be brought as a result of death are the subject of specific legislation and case law.

As a result, we recommend that you seek legal help about your matter as soon as possible in the process.

The law that applies to death dependency claims in Queensland depends on the circumstances surrounding the death. For example, the process may be slightly different depending on whether your loved one was injured in a motor vehicle accident or an accident at work.

As a result of this, compensation levels will vary between claims. When calculating compensation for your loss, many factors are considered, including:

– The nature of the dependency you had with your loved one

– The length of your relationship with the deceased

– The loss of income

– Any future expenses you’ll be responsible for following their loss

– Any contributions the deceased made towards your living expenses

Each claim is treated on an individual basis, so there’s no set date for when you will receive confirmation, if your claim is accepted.

What Information Will I Need to Provide?

In order to lodge a dependency claim, you’ll need to prove your dependence on the deceased.

To prove this, you should gather any documents that prove your relationship with the deceased, including any marriage certificates or documents that prove your de facto status. You will also need to provide proof of death, which you can do with a death certificate. You should also collate other relevant documents, including any funeral expenses.

Finally, you’ll also need to collate any documents that show your dependency on the deceased. This should include the tax returns for you and the deceased for the three years prior to the accident. It is often important to obtain expert financial advice and calculations in relation to the loss. 

Here at Seymour Furlong Lawyers in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, we have a network of expert forensic accountants that can provide evidence when needed.

Contacting a Lawyer about a Death Claim

Following the loss of a loved one, we understand that you’ll be going through a very difficult time. As a result, you may not be emotionally ready to make a claim. Although strict time limits do apply to death dependency claims, you should only make a claim once you’re ready to do so. 

To learn more about making a death dependency claim and find out where you stand legally, contact the compensation claim lawyers at Seymour Furlong Lawyers in Queensland. 

Frequently Asked Questions

You may be able to bring a loss of dependency claim if your loved one was killed as a result of someone else’s negligence, this can include:

Motor vehicle accidents

Workplace accidents

An accident in a public place or on private property

If you’re a spouse, parent or child making a claim, you’ll need to prove that you were dependent on the deceased. You’ll also need to prove that the defendant would have been liable to compensate the deceased for the damage caused by the incident, if they had survived.

Each death dependency claim is processed individually, and the amount that you receive will be dependent on a number of factors, including your financial situation and your level of dependence on the deceased.

If the deceased was partly responsible for the accident, then the amount of compensation paid will be reduced by a proportionate amount.

Only one action can be brought on behalf of all dependents. In cases where there is more than one dependent, any settlement monies must then be apportioned between each dependent. If one or more dependent in the case is a minor, then the settlement must be sanctioned by the Supreme Court of the Public Trustee of Queensland.

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