Losing a family member in a motor vehicle accident can be a very difficult time for that person’s relatives, both emotionally and financially. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, and your relationship with the person, you may be entitled to make an insurance claim.

Close relatives (including a wife, husband, de facto partner, brother or sister, half brother or half sister, parent or child) as well as the executor or administrator of the estate of a person who has died in a motor vehicle accident are eligible to make a claim so long as they can establish that someone other than the deceased negligently contributed to the accident. There may also be eligibility to claim where the cause of the accident can be said to be ‘blameless’ or where the deceased was under the age of 16 at the date of the accident.

In order to make a claim you must lodge a motor accident compensation to relatives form within six months of the accident. If you were unable to do so within six months you should nonetheless lodge the form as soon as possible and you must also provide the relevant insurer with a full and satisfactory explanation that explains the delay in lodging the form.

Once you have established an eligibility to claim you are required to calculate your losses. Losses that can be claimed by way of a compensation to relatives claim are as follows:

  • Funeral expenses;
  • Loss of services: this involves the calculation of the loss of the domestic work and support provided by the deceased. It is calculated up to the point at which the deceased would have continued providing those services if the accident had not occurred. For example it may be that a mother will provide domestic support for her child to the age of 18 after which the claim for loss of services will cease.
  • Financial support: This involves a calculation of the deceased’s financial contribution to the family. It can only be made by the person who would have benefited from the financial contribution. For example it may be hard to establish that the parent of a child who at the date of the accident was not working, has sustained a financial loss. In contrast the wife or husband of a deceased person will be able to make a claim so long as they can show that the deceased was contributing financially to the family for example by paying off the mortgage or paying for grocery shopping or other expenses.

If one of your family members has passed away as a result of an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, please contact Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800, or alternatively make an online enquiry.

Written by Alexander Morrison.

Alexander Morrison is an Associate and Solicitor in Victoria Roy’s Practice Group.  Alex has a varied practice including motor vehicle claims and public liability claims that occur both within Australia and overseas.