Devon personal injury solicitors, Slee Blackwell, have recovered £200,000 compensation for the family of a North Devon woman who was killed in a car accident on the A386.
Specialist personal injury solicitor and Slee Blackwell partner James McNally has recovered compensation totalling £200,000 for the husband and children of a North Devon mother who was killed in a fatal car accident.
“Susie” (not her real name for confidentiality reasons) accepted a lift to the shops with a friend. On the way her friend spotted someone they knew and began to shout at them from the car. When the person got into another vehicle the friend began to pursue them at high speed, driving erratically. During all this Susie was in the rear of the car screaming for him to stop and let her out. As they drove on the A386 towards Bideford they struck an oncoming vehicle at high speed. Susie was not wearing a seatbelt and died instantly.
Susie’s friend who had been driving the car she was in was convicted of dangerous driving.
Susie was estranged from her husband at the time of the road accident, but they remained married. They had two young children who shared their time between parents. As Susie died instantly she was not entitled in law to compensation for her injuries, but her family were able to bring a claim under the Fatal Accidents Act as her dependants.
The driver’s insurance company dealt with the family’s claim on his behalf and argued that any compensation paid to them should be reduced because Susie had not been wearing a seatbelt and had also got into the car knowing her friend had already been drinking.
In terms of compensation, Susie’s family were entitled to a bereavement award. This is a fixed sum (roughly £13,000) which was shared between them. In addition they were entitled to claim compensation based upon a percentage share of her likely earnings, together with an award in respect of the loss of the care that she would have provided to the family along with the increased care that dad was now going to have to provide in her absence.
Susie had started a new job just days before she was killed, having not worked for some time. This meant that her earning potential could not be definitively calculated, but it was nevertheless clear from her DWP records that she was determined to find work and was genuinely committed to starting paid employment.
James gathered statements from family regarding care, detailing how supportive Susie had been to her children and how often they would be in her care.
Following negotiations with the insurance company (and with the benefit of input from a specialist barrister) a compensation package of £200,000 was agreed. This award was approved by the court and some of the money will be invested until the youngest of Susie’s children turns 18.
“This was a horrific and tragic case where a much-loved mum lost her life because of the thoughtless actions of another. No sum of money will ever replace her as far as her family are concerned but hopefully this money will give her family financial security and provide support to the children as they enter adulthood. As the family’s local solicitors, it was good that we were able to meet them face to face and chat through the problems with the case and the solutions we could find. The family was able to come into our office to meet myself and the barrister. The driver’s insurance company was clearly hoping that they could settle this claim for a much lower sum, but through our persistence we were able to get the family the compensation they deserved.”
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