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Wrongful Death

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Wrongful Death

An injury that ultimately leads to a person’s death, may entitle you (as a remaining relative) to receive financial compensation as stipulated by the Fatal Accidents Act 1959 (WA) (Act). A & E Legal can assist.

Our experienced solicitors will engage on your behalf and assist you with lodging a claim against the person responsible for the death (or insurer) for the compensation that you deserve resulting from your dependency on the deceased, which should ultimately resolve by settlement or progression to a trail in the District Court.

Can I Claim?

Anyone who is a relative of a deceased person whose death was caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default of another person pursuant to the Act has a claim for damages.

A “relative” is defined in the Act to be:

(a) a person who immediately before the deceased’s death was:

  • the spouse of the deceased; or
  • a de facto partner of the deceased who was living in a de facto relationship with the deceased and had been living on that basis with the deceased for at least 2 years immediately before the deceased died;

(b) any person who was the parent, grandparent or step parent of the deceased;

(c) any person who was a son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, stepson or stepdaughter of the deceased;

(d) any person to whom the deceased person stood in loco parentis immediately before the death of the deceased;

(e) any person who stood in loco parentis to the deceased person immediately before his death;

(f) any person who was a brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister of the deceased person; and

(g) any person who was a former spouse or former de facto partner of the deceased person whom the deceased was legally obliged, immediately before his or her death, to make provision for with respect to financial matters.

What can I claim?

You can claim for:

  • medical and funeral expenses; and
  • loss of financial support.

 When and how should I lodge a claim?

You should do the following steps:

  • contact A & E Legal as soon as possible and we shall assist with the notification and lodging of the claim;
  • collate all information from the WA Police, the Coroner’s Office, WorkSafe and/or EnergySafety (if applicable);
  • obtain copies of all medical and funeral expenses

Are there time limits I should know about?

There are strict time limits for the commencement of an action for damages pursuant to the Act, namely that you cannot commence an action if three years have elapsed since the death of the deceased.

We recommend that you contact us as soon as possible.

How long will it take and how much does it cost?

We will attempt to get through the claim procedure as quickly as possible by seeking the relevant documents. We will answer all your questions about legal costs at the first free consultation with you. However, in the event of a successful resolution of your claim, the person that caused the death of the deceased or his/her insurer will make a contribution to cover some of the costs.

Some of the issues that may delay the commencing of the action for damages relate to the following:

  • after the death of the deceased, the Police will normally notify you or a family member;
  • following this, various government officers or agencies will enquire into or investigate the death to meet their responsibilities under Western Australian law, in particular:
  • with the assistance of Police officers usually from the Coronial Investigation Unit, the Coroner will hold an inquiry and, in some instances, also hold an inquest;
  • safety inspectors from WorkSafe may investigate;
  • if the accident involved electricity or gas, safety inspectors from EnergySafety may investigate;
  • in some instances, the Police will investigate to find out whether someone has committed a criminal act; and
  • if the safety inspectors and/or the Police investigations reveal that someone has broken a law, court action will be considered and may proceed.

Is the first consultation free?

The first consultation is free with no obligation on your part to proceed.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.