Have you lost a love one in a fatal motor vehicle accident? Our specialised and experienced team of personal injury lawyers are experts in fatal accident claims.


Sadly, despite the fact that motor vehicles are supposed to be much safer these days (seat belts, airbags, better brakes, cameras) many people continue to be killed in motor vehicle accidents every year on New South Wales and other Australian roads.

In New South Wales alone, every year children are run down and killed whilst walking beside roads, even whilst walking on foot paths, by drunken and/or drug effected drivers, speeding cars, careless reversing motor vehicles on driveways or by drivers distracted by mobile phones, radio, music channels etc. These tragedies are also happening to adults.

Whilst the drivers of motor vehicles may be safer than ever from suffering serious injuries pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, scooter riders, who do not have the luxury of being affected by airbags are extremely likely to be killed or maimed when struck by motor vehicles.

A moment’s inattention or carelessness by the drivers of motor vehicles, including trucks, buses, taxis, motorcycles etc, is all it takes to create terrible injuries and tragedy, which affect the loved ones of those killed for the rest of their lives, including financially. The compassionate motor vehicle accident lawyers at Stacks Goudkamp have vast knowledge and experience in handling compensation claims for the loved ones and dependants of people tragically killed on our roads by the negligence of drivers of motor vehicles.


Payment of funeral expenses

The compulsory third party (green slip) insurer of motor vehicles involved in fatal road accidents are covered by the “no fault” statutory benefits scheme for the cost of funerals following fatal motor vehicle accidents.

Under the scheme reasonable funeral expenses are payable by the green slip insurer even if the deceased person was at fault for the accident, or if no one was at fault. Reasonable funeral expenses are likely to include the costs of funeral cars, the funeral director, burial or cremation costs, newspaper announcements, flowers, headstones and so on.

Compensation for loss of financial and personal support

This area of compensation is referred to as “compensation to relatives” claim. These claims for loss of financial and personal dependency are fault-based. In other words, those claiming the compensation need to be able to prove that the fatal accident was caused by the driver of a motor vehicle or other registered vehicle. Contributory negligence by the deceased has to be taken into account, with compensation being reduced by the percentage of blame attributed to the deceased person.

Typically, compensation to relatives claims are made for loss of financial dependency by the deceased person’s spouse or de facto partner and/or dependent children of the deceased.

Such claims are often very substantial if the deceased was a high income earner and had provided financial support to his or her partner and/or children.

Not only are claims for loss of financial dependency available to those “left behind”, compensation is also available for the loss of personal services, such as housekeeping, lawn and yard maintenance.

Compensation to relatives claims can be finalised relatively quickly, compared to claims for serious personal injuries, which take significant time to stabilise. Compensation to relatives claims are basically exercises in establishing what the deceased person was earning before the accident, what that person spent on himself/herself and what financial and personal services the deceased person provided to family members.

These claims are brought by one financially dependent person on behalf of all other dependants.

Compensation is available even if the relatives of the deceased were only partially financially dependent.

Compensation is paid by a single tax-free lump sum. If any of the dependants are minors, court approval will be required at any proposed settlement.

The lump-sum compensation is divided between the dependants according to a long-established formula.

Compensation to relatives claims can be complex, particularly in cases involving extended families and partial dependency. Furthermore, strict time limits apply.

It is therefore particularly important for one of the dependants, usually the partner of the deceased, to seek legal advice or expert legal advice as soon as practicable after the fatal accident.

Compensation for psychiatric injuries

If the relatives of someone negligently killed in a motor vehicle accident suffer psychiatric injuries as a result of the accident compensation is available in a tax-free lump sum if certain criteria are met.

These claims are called “nervous shock claims”.

In this country compensation is not available for grief, unlike jurisdictions such as the USA and UK. Compensation is only available to those who have suffered a recognisable psychiatric injury. It is of course often extremely difficult and somewhat odious to distinguish between grief and a psychiatric injury.

Grief affects people in different ways. Some cope and some don’t. Often the psychiatric problems do not arise until 6 to 12 months after the tragic loss.

If nervous shock is established, claimants will be compensated for “pain and suffering”, past loss of income, future loss of income and future loss of earning capacity.

These days such claims do not include the cost of psychiatric/psychological counselling, antidepressant medication and the cost of care if the claimant requires domestic and other assistance because of his or her psychiatric condition. These expenses and the cost of care are covered indefinitely by the combination of the green slip insurer of the motor vehicle involved in the accident and Lifetime Care and Support.

Compensation for the pain and suffering created by the psychiatric injury (nervous shock) require the psychiatric injury to constitute a greater than 10% whole person impairment. (As is the case with physical injuries).


Stacks Goudkamp is a well-established personal injury law firm in Australia with over 25 years of experience in handling compensation claims for individuals and families who have suffered serious injury or loss in road accidents.

Our expert motor vehicle accident lawyers specialise is fatal accident compensation claims and have a deep understanding of the legal system.

One of the key advantages of working with Stacks Goudkamp is our focus on providing personalised service to our clients. We recognise that every case is unique and therefore take the time to understand the specific circumstances and needs of each client. We also have a reputation for being compassionate and supportive, especially in situations where clients have suffered the loss of a loved one.

Stacks Goudkamp has achieved successful outcomes for many clients involved in fatal accident compensation claims. We have the necessary skills and resources to investigate the circumstances of the motor vehicle accident, determine liability, and ensure clients receive the compensation they deserve.

I am so thankful there are people like Tom and Karina who help families like mine. We had a terrible car accident with the whole family which killed my father and seriously injured my little brother and me. Our dream holiday in Australia turned into a nightmare and when we got back home to Germany we did not even get time to grieve.

I am so thankful there are people like Tom and Karina who help families like mine. We had a terrible car accident with the whole family which killed my father and seriously injured my little brother and me. Our dream holiday in Australia turned into a nightmare and when we got back home to Germany we did not even get time to grieve.

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Our life changed completely in one second. We were so lucky Tom was recommended to us by one of his former clients! Tom and Karina were very understanding and we felt that they really care about their clients. When we met them in Germany they took a lot of time for us and answered all our questions. They were also very patient when we took ages to answer emails because it sometimes was too hard for us to focus on the accident. I have to admit I was a bit worried at the beginning because I did not know anything about laws in Australia but Tom and Karina took a lot of time to explain everything to me and made sure I understood. In the end everything happened exactly as they had been telling us or it even turned out better.



Generally, the family members of the deceased person who are financially and/or personally dependent on that deceased person will receive lump sum monetary compensation if the fatal accident was caused by the negligent driving of someone other than the deceased person. If the deceased person was partly to blame for the accident, the compensation payable to the deceased’s dependants of that person will be reduced by the percentage of the deceased person’s fault.

This really depends on the complexity of any financial dependency and/or dependency on the deceased person for personal services such as domestic activities. In non-complex cases such claims can be completed relatively quickly upon proof of the dependency and who caused the accident.

Unlike personal injury claims involving physical and/or psychiatric injuries there is no need in compensation to relatives claims to wait for injuries to stabilise. The sooner financial dependency and/or personal dependency can be established the sooner such claims can be finalised.

If any of the dependants are minors at the time of settlement, the intended settlement must be approved by a District Court judge. This can be arranged by the dependants’ lawyers relatively soon after settlement has been reached.

Each dependant receives a separate lump sum payment depending on a formula which takes into account the age of the dependant, when the dependency would have ceased in any event and the extent of the dependency. Such payments are tax-free.

It doesn’t matter if the vehicle involved in causing the accident was not covered by CTP/greenslip insurance. Such claims are made by the dependants of the deceased against the Nominal Defendant, which is a fund paid into by the various insurers. Such claims are made initially against the Nominal Defendant which then “farms out” the claims to one of the established CTP/greenslip insurers to manage.

There are time limits which can be crucial if claims are to be successful. It is very important for the primary dependant, normally the spouse or partner of the deceased person to consult an expert personal injury lawyer as soon after the fatal accident as possible, to ensure that claims are lodged “within time”.

The answer is, yes, definitely. Fatal accident claims can be very complex and hard-fought by the insurer or its lawyers. If claimants in fatal accident compensation claims represent themselves they are at a distinct disadvantage when dealing with insurers and/or their lawyers.

As the insurers have to pay the majority of legal costs at the successful conclusion of fatal injury compensation claims, it makes no sense for the dependants of the deceased to have to grapple with the insurers and/or their lawyers on their own. It will be an uneven contest. It is also extremely stressful to deal with insurers and/or their lawyers, particularly during the grieving process, which invariably follows a fatal accident. Expert personal injury lawyers can remove the stress and allow the dependants “left behind” following a fatal accident to try and move on with their lives.


Tom Goudkamp OAM

Managing Director
Tom is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law. He has had over 40 years of experience successfully acting for seriously injured accident victims.

Karina Goodall

Practice Group Leader | Director
Karina joined Stacks Goudkamp in 2014. She manages one of the firm’s four practice groups under Managing Director, Tom Goudkamp.

Ellyn Stewart

Ellyn is an experienced personal injury paralegal with over five years of experience in the legal industry. Ellyn joined Stacks Goudkamp in 2017 and has been working alongside Karina Goodall, Practice Group Leader.

The Stacks Goudkamp way

We are dedicated and the leading No Win, No Fee personal injury lawyers in NSW. For over 40 years, Stacks Goudkamp has been helping injured Australians to receive the compensation they need and deserve.

We are dedicated and the leading No Win, No Fee personal injury lawyers in NSW. For
over 40 years, Stacks Goudkamp has been helping injured Australians to receive the
compensation they need and deserve.

Reach Out

Call or Email us to start the process and to receive expert legal advice for personal injury or compensation claims. Seek the professional support you deserve on (02) 4058 2715 or enquire online through our website.

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We are just a call or email away. Do not struggle with complex personal injury claims processes and in dealing with insurance companies on your own. We are here to listen and to help you to get the compensation you deserve.

Free Initial Consultation

We will not charge you for a comprehensive initial consultation where we will listen to your needs and provide you with free detailed advice. Compassion is what drives us. You can be sure that your questions will be answered.

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Here, we will explain the next steps and what it takes to achieve the best possible outcome.

No Win, No Fee

We will not require you to pay our legal fees, or any expenses (disbursements), unless we win your personal injury claim i.e you receive compensation. We know that being injured can result in terrible financial pressures.

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We pride ourselves on giving every injured Australian the peace of mind that we will look after them by acting on a no win no fee basis for their compensation claims.


Contact your local team for a free consultation to find out if you are eligible for compensation


I could write a book as to how the last 4 years would have been different if not for Tom and his team.
The support, assistance, advice from the first conversation till even after the settlement was second to none from the team at Stacks Goudkamp.
Four years on and after many downs, my children and I have our lives back.
We are unable to THANK YOU enough, but know that you have changed our lives for the better in so many ways since the accident.