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Commonly asked questions about compensation to relatives claims

The Compensation to Relatives Act determines who can bring a claim in respect of a wrongful death of a relative. The parties may include the spouse, children and any other close relatives of the deceased, or anyone who was financially dependent on the person at the time of their death. Only one action is permitted. Once damages are determined, the amount will be divided among the parties to the action, in amounts to be decided by the court.

If your claim is unsuccessful, however, you may still be required in certain circumstances to pay the professional fees and disbursements incurred by your opponent. We will not pass on to you the costs we incurred running the case.

If you decide to stop your claim or move your claim to another law firm, you may need to pay the costs of running your claim up to that point.

Compensation to relatives claims can cover economic losses, such as lost wages or earnings (including pensions) and superannuation, as well as losses incurred through medical and funeral expenses. The principle behind the loss of financial support is that the relative would have expected to derive a benefit from the deceased, had the accident not occurred and had the deceased lived.

This loss of income and financial benefit can be claimed into the future, and does not need to be based on a legal entitlement, but merely that the claimant had an expectation of voluntary contribution from the deceased.

Compensation claims can cover domestic services claims, for example, household chores or services that had been provided by the deceased. It can also cover nervous shock claims, which are for psychological injuries sustained by family members as a result of their relative’s death. Claims for nervous shock can similarly cover economic and non-economic losses, for your own medical expenses and lost earnings as a result of your relative’s death.

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