No matter what the circumstances surrounding the accident may be, the death of a loved one is always devastating.
If your loved one is 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.
Who Can Bring a Death Dependency Claim?
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.
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.
With respect to dependency claims, although each dependent has an individual right, only one action can be commenced 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.
It is important 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 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. Under some circumstances, you may also be entitled to claim for funeral costs.
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.
Your lawyer will be able to advise you of all deadlines, but 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. 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.
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, we have a network of expert forensic accountants that can provide evidence when needed.
Contacting a Lawyer about a Death Dependency 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.
When can I lodge a death dependency claim?
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
What do I need to prove to make a claim?
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.
How much money will I receive if my claim is successful?
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.
Can Multiple Family Members Make a Claim?
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.