WHAT IS A FATAL ACCIDENT

A fatal workplace event or accident is defined as an accident that results in the death of an employee. This includes mishaps that happen off-site as long as they happen while you're doing your job. The definition of a fatal accident varies depending on the nation in which it occurred. In Holland, an injury is deemed deadly if a person dies on the same day of the accident. In Germany, the time limit is 30 days, however in Greece and France, there is no time restriction for an accident to be classified as deadly. The word is most widely used among nations that are members of the European Union.

A tragic occurrence is also referred to as a fatal accident.



In India fatal accident is defined in FATAL ACCIDENTS ACT, 1855 which states that “[1] Whenever a person's death is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default, and the act, neglect, or default is such that the party injured would have been entitled to maintain an action and recover damages in respect of it if death had not occurred, the party who would have been liable if death had not occurred shall be liable to an action or suit for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured and even though the death was caused under such a circumstance.”


DAMAGES UNDER FATAL ACCIDENT:[2]

In an action initiated under this Act, the court may award the parties for whose benefit the action was brought the damages it thinks commensurate to the injury caused by the death, and the sum thus collected shall be split among those parties in the shares that the court orders.

The damages awarded under paragraph (1) may include an amount to compensate a person for whose benefit the action is instituted for the loss of care, direction, and companionship that the dead would have provided if the death had not happened.



When a defendant is instructed to pay money into court, the defendant may pay a single amount in compensation to all people entitled under this Conduct as a result of his or her illegal act, negligence, or default, without stating the shares into which the court will divide it.

If the sum is not accepted and the plaintiff raises an issue about its adequacy, the defendant is entitled to a judgement on that matter if the court finds it adequate.


For and in respect of the identical subject matter of a complaint, only one action may be brought.[3]

When determining the time of limitation for bringing a suit or claim under the Fatal Accidents Act, 1855, the bench of Kurian Joseph and R. Banumathi, JJ decided that a suit for compensation must be submitted within the two-year period stipulated by Article 82 of the Limitation Act, 1963.


In the year 2008, the Court was considering a case in which the deceased died of electrocution after getting into touch with a live electrical line while doing his responsibilities as a bus driver. His widow claimed Rs.22,68,000/- in damages under the 1855 Act, but the District Judge denied the claim, ruling that the claim should have been filed within two years of the person's death, as per Article 82 of the Limitation Act, 1963. The ruling was also supported by the Rajasthan High Court.



Because Part VII of the Schedule deals with "cases pertaining to tort," the Supreme Court concluded that a claim for compensation filed under the Fatal Accidents Act, 1855, must be brought within the two-year limit set forth in Article 82 of the Limitation Act, 1963. However, the Court used its power under Article 142 of the Indian Constitution to award compensation of Rs. 7 lakhs. The Court reached its decision after analysing the case's unique features, including the fact that Jodhpur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited has a programme in place under the current Rules that allows the legal heirs of a deceased individual to receive a one-time compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs. [Damini v. Managing Director, Jodhpur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited.


WHICH CLAIMS ARE ELIGIBLE

If you were financially dependent on your loved one's income before they died, this component of a fatal accident claim may be able to recompense you. It might be calculated not just on the basis of their income, but also on the basis of other advantages offered by their employer. Company automobiles, private healthcare, future pension payments, and other comparable benefits are just a few examples.

Dependents who can bring a claim under the Fatal Accident Act of 1976 include:



· A civil partner, a spouse, or an ex-spouse.

· Any individual who lived in the same home with the dead for at least two years before to their death and was living as their wife, husband, or civil partner the whole time.

· Blood descendants, as well as adopted children and children born via marriage or civil partnership.

· Grandparents, great grandparents, and those treated as parents by the departed are all examples of parents or ascendants.

· Brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces, and nephews are all members of the family.


WHERE CAN WE CLAIM?[4]

We'll look at when you might need to file a fatal accident claim in this section. Importantly, there are so many diverse instances that we can't list them all; nonetheless, here are a few examples of when a claim could be made:



· Road Traffic Collision (RTC). If your loved one was killed in a car accident, you may be able to file a claim. Our lawyers have dealt with RTCs before and could work with you to ensure that the defendant's insurer compensates you completely.

· Misdiagnosis in the medical field. The claim will generally be filed against NHS Resolution if your loved one died as a result of a medical misdiagnosis. This is the body in charge of handling compensation claims against NHS trusts and medical practitioners.

· Injuries caused by criminal activity. We can assist you in filing a claim with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority if your loved one was killed by a criminal during a violent crime (CICA).

· Injuries caused by work. Another method we can assist you is if your loved one died as a result of workplace injuries caused by their employer's carelessness. This might include everything from failing to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to claims for death as a result of insufficient training.



[1]Fatal Accident Act, 1855, § 1(A), Acts of Parliament, 1855 (India) [2]Fatal Accident Act, 1855, § 1(A), Acts of Parliament, 1855 (India) [3]Prachi Bharadwaj,Compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act, 1855 can be claimed within 2 years from the death of the person, SCC Online(April 2021, 11:22), https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2017/09/14/compensation-under-the-fatal-accidents-act-1855-can-be-claimed-within-2-years-from-the-death-of-the-person/. [4]Accident Claim Advice, https://www.accidentclaimsadvice.org.uk/fatal-accident-claims/( last visited Apr. 21, 2022)



This article is written by Abhinav Singh, of Marwadi University.

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