29 May, 2020
For fatalities that occur on or after the 1 May 2020 the bereavement award under the Fatal; Accidents Act 1976 has increased from £12 980 to £15 120 in line with inflation since the last increase. There is no change for deaths arising before that date.
The award is a lump sum payable by a defendant and is the total shared by all eligible bereaved persons. These are limited to the wife, husband or civil partner of the deceased, or the parents of a child who dies under the age of 18. If the parents are unmarried the father cannot claim. A former wife, husband or civil partner cannot claim. Nor currently can co-habitees, although that is being considered by Parliament under the draft The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (Remedial) Order 2020.
HMCTS have confirmed that they have expanded their pilot digital service to allow claimant solicitors to issue Part 7 personal injury claims online, as part of the response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The service will operate under the existing Practice Direction PD51S and will act as an alternative to posting an N1 claim form to the County Court Money Claims Centre (CCMCC). Claimant firms who sign up to the pilot will be able to:
HMCTS have confirmed that those claimants who use the service will be provided with the claim number and claim form ready to allow service on the defendant.
As the claimant will still be required to serve the claim form on the defendant or their nominated legal representative via the agreed method of service, therefore, there should be no tangible impact on defendant representatives and insurers.
The remainder of the process will continue on paper and the ongoing management of the case will then progress as usual.
HMCTS indicated earlier this year that as the pilot progresses, additional tasks and functions will be introduced such as the filing of defences, receipt of directions orders, the uploading of statements and medical evidence, and the provision of listing questionnaire information.