Fatal Accidents Act 1976

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The Fatal Accidents Act 1976[1]
Long title An Act to consolidate the Fatal Accidents Acts.
Citation 1976 c 30
Territorial extent England and Wales[2]
Royal assent 22 July 1976
Commencement 1 September 1976[3]
Other legislation
Amended by Administration of Justice Act 1982, ss. 3(1), 73(1)
Status: Current legislation
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (c 30) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, that allows relatives of people killed by the wrongdoing of others to recover damages.


The Fatal Accidents Act 1846 had allowed claims for damages by the relatives of deceased persons for the first time. The 1976 Act modernised the process and repealed earlier legislation.

The Act[edit]

The Act allows claims as stipulated in s. 1(1):

If death is caused by any wrongful act, neglect or default which is such as would (if death had not ensued) have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, the person who would have been liable if death had not ensued shall be liable to an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured.

The Act allows claims under three heads:[4][5]

  • Dependency claim (s. 1) - A claim for economic loss by a restricted class of "dependant" defined in s.1(3).
  • Bereavement claim (s. 1A) - A claim in recognition of grief by a further restricted class of "dependant", similar to a solatium in Scottish law. As of 1 April 2013, the amount of the bereavement claim award increased from £11,800 to £12,980.
  • Funeral expenses (s. 3(5)) of the dependants.

An award must take account of any social security benefits received (s. 4).[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title is authorised by section 7(1) of this Act.
  2. ^ The Fatal Accidents Act 1976, section 7(3)
  3. ^ The Fatal Accidents Act 1976, section 7(2)
  4. ^ a b Dow & Lill (2007)
  5. ^ Lunney & Oliphant (2003) pp. 855-858


External links[edit]