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Tuesday 4th October 2022

Claiming compensation for death caused by dangerous driving.

Claiming compensation for death caused by dangerous driving exeter solicitorsIf your loved one was killed in a road traffic accident due to someone else’s dangerous driving, you have every right to expect them to face the full force of the criminal law.

And indeed, causing death by dangerous driving is punishable under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 with up to 14 years jail and/or an unlimited fine.

Punishment alone however will not compensate you for your loss, particularly if you were financially dependent on the deceased person and you may want to make a claim for compensation. Roger Henderson, a specialist personal injury solicitor at Rundlewalker in Exeter explains how you go about this.

What is dangerous driving?
Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, someone is driving dangerously if “the standard of their driving falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous”.

Examples of dangerous driving could include driving at excessive speed, racing against other cars on the public highway, flicking through social media on a smart device, talking on the phone without using a handsfree system, driving a vehicle which you know to be unsafe, driving through a red light, driving while drunk or on drugs, or driving on the hard shoulder.

Who can make a claim?
You can claim compensation for death by dangerous driving if you are a ‘dependent’ of the deceased. This includes:

  • a husband, wife or civil partner;
  • a child, parent, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, or cousin;
  • a civil partner (who had cohabited with the person who has died for at least two years immediately before the death); or
  • anyone who was treated as a child of the deceased’s family.

The executors or personal representatives of the person who has passed away can also bring a claim on behalf of the dead person's estate for injury or losses suffered by the deceased person before their death, and for any expenses which stem from the death which the estate has to pay for.

If the estate is successful in the compensation claim, any money received will be bequeathed in the manner set out in the deceased’s will. If there was no will, the compensation will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy.

How much compensation might I receive?
You can claim compensation for:

  • bereavement – the pain and suffering you experienced as a result of the death of your loved one;
  • dependency – if you were financially dependent on the person who has died for some or all of your income; and
  • funeral expenses.

What happens if my loved one was killed by a hit and run driver?
If the person responsible for your loved one’s death fails to stop and cannot be traced, it is still possible for you to pursue a compensation claim through the Motor Insurance Bureau under the Uninsured Loss Agreement.

For a sensitive and confidential discussion about how we could help you make a claim for the loss of a loved one, please contact Roger Henderson on 01392 209218 or email

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published.