In a bid to make a claim for compensation following her husband’s death a woman was recently shocked to find that her income was used as a yardstick for considering how much she would be paid. This prompted the woman into challenging this decision at an appellate court.
The appellate court, a High Court, made a decision setting aside the earlier ruling as it said the income of an accident victim’s family member should not have any bearing on the amount of compensation that they are entitled to after an accident.
As much as this issue is clearly resolved by this decision, it is worth the trouble to explore the circumstances leading to an accident claim and what could be considered it determining its success or failure.
What is accident claim?
Accident claims could be defined, according to a web dictionary, as compensation claims made by a victim (or victims) of an accident in which they sustain injuries or property is damaged. Accidents could range from minor to major ones and they could occur on the road, where cars or motorbikes or bicycles are involved, or at workplace as a result of inadequate training in the use of safety equipment and the like.
In addition, accidents could occur in private premises like retail stores or home or in public places and it could take forms like a slip or fall or something suddenly happening and resulting in some form of injury or damage, minor or serious.
Where any of the above occurs the victim is entitled to compensation, and claims must be made, especially if it is not the victim’s fault or as a result of their negligence.
How are claims for compensation considered?
Claims for accident compensation are usually awarded on the basis of certain essential variables. Among these are the seriousness or gravity of the claimant’s injuries, which could be both physical and psychological and the financial losses or damage incurred as a result of the injury.
In considering the financial losses suffered, the fact that an accident victim is practically put out of action and out of work is important for the success of the claim. It also plays a crucial role in determining how much could be awarded in the end. However, the most important factor in determining how much a claimant is awarded is the injury sustained. This explains why a claimant who would need physical assistance for the rest of their life is awarded the maximum compensation, usually, to enable them acquire equipment and hire the services of assistants that would help facilitate all the assistance they would need for as long as they are alive. In the same vein it says why someone whose injury does not render them physically dependent is awarded much less.
The loss of breadwinner’s income
In the scenario earlier mentioned, the woman whose breadwinner’s death renders them permanently unable to get the income that used to come in the form of the deceased’s salary, determining how much they get in compensation depends also how much is lost financially and the cause of the accident in the first place. But it is usually left for the court to decide on the account of evidence available to it. The onus of proving this is on the victim’s solicitor.
The court’s ruling in voiding the earlier decision is unambigous in that it debunked the conclusion that because the victim’s dependent had been given a job on compassionate ground removed the loss dependency suffered.
The above is one case that could vary from several hundreds of others. For accident claims to be successful there’s a need to show that someone else is at fault, resulting in the accident in which the victim suffered the injuries. Proving this is not as easy as it sounds, but solicitors often know how to go it, even on a no win, no fee basis.