Compensation obtained for widower after wife’s tragic death in road crash

Matthew Claxson, a partner in the Moore Barlow serious injury team has obtained settlement for our client following a fatal road traffic collision that caused the death of our client’s wife.

About the client

Our client’s late wife was a part time teacher; they had two adult children, one of whom relied upon their mother for care and assistance on account of a life-threatening medical condition.

Our client’s wife was a house-proud woman who spent a considerable amount of time making sure her home was impeccable and taking care of her family. She also provided extensive support, including emotional support, to her daughter during her illness and on-going treatment. Our client worked full time relying upon his wife for support and to care for the children.

About the case

In September 2020, our client’s wife was driving her car that was stationary behind a second car at a set of traffic lights waiting to turn right, when a van travelling behind the two vehicles negligently failed to see them and collided with the rear of our client wife’s car. This forced our client wife’s car into the rear of the car ahead and as a result, meant that our client wife’s car ended up on the opposite side of the carriageway where it was struck by an oncoming vehicle.

Unfortunately, our client’s wife sustained a catastrophic brain injury from the collision and was quickly taken by Air Ambulance to a Major Trauma Centre specialising in brain injury where she sadly never regained consciousness and died 17-days after the road crash.

We were instructed by our client to bring claims on behalf of the Estate pursuant to the Law Reform [Miscellaneous Provisions] Act 1934 for general damages, pain and suffering; and a dependency claim pursuant to the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 for all past and future losses including the care for our client’s daughter and loss of services that his wife would have provided in the home had the incident not occurred.

The Defendant Insurers’ admitted liability in December 2020 and made a payment to reimburse the expenses incurred on the funeral. Our client’s marriage to his late wife meant he was entitled to the Statutory Bereavement Award in the sum of £15,120.00 which was also paid upon the admission of fault.

Caring for their daughter

Our client’s daughter’s life threatening medical condition meant that we had to construct what care and support her mother would have given “but for” her death. This meant understanding the medical condition which led us to instruct a leading medical expert in the field alongside an experienced nursing care expert.

The medical expert set out for us the trajectory of the medical condition whilst the nursing care expert gave evidence on what care the mother might reasonably have been expected to give her daughter.

How Moore Barlow were able to help

Having understood our client’s daughter’s situation, we then obtained further expert evidence to support the dependency claim for our client who had lost his wife who he had relied upon. We then could construct how our client’s wife would have “given” her time to her family “but for” the incident.

We were able to collate and advise upon a Schedule of Loss which set out past and future losses which our client with his children could claim for from the insurance company. This schedule included such items as:

  • Nursing care
  • Housekeeping
  • Household administration and management of finances
  • Decorating and DIY
  • Window cleaning
  • Gardening
  • Car cleaning
  • Dog walking

We were able to calculate the number of hours that our client’s late wife would have spent carrying out these duties per week and were able to arrive at a figure which we would later put forward in our instructions to Counsel to continue to develop.

Having prepared the schedule of loss we then instructed specialist Counsel Mr David White of 12 Kings Bench Walk, London, to advise in conference and subsequently represent our client’s at an “in person” Joint Settlement Meeting.

The case outcome

After a persistent negotiation with the Defendant representatives, spanning some 7 hours, our client’s case successfully settled for a sum which was substantially higher than the Defendant Insurers’ counter schedule. Our client was extremely satisfied with the outcome and we were pleased that the Defendant Solicitors were able to work collaboratively with our team throughout this case.

This case demonstrates that every client is different. In this case, the daughter had significant medical needs that but for the incident will have mainly by choice been met by her mother and as a result needed to be replaced. By fostering a close relationship with our client to understand their needs and working constructively with the insurance company concerned, we were able to not only meet our client’s expectations but exceed them.

The support, advice and guidance offered by Matthew Claxson throughout our claim was exemplary. We cannot thank him enough for the sensitive way he walked and talked us through a very difficult claim. We also benefited greatly from the efficiency and hard work provided by Niamh Glackin- Brown. I would not hesitate to recommend Matthew and his team.

Moore Barlow client

How Moore Barlow can help you

If you have suffered a serious injury and/or bereavement as a result of a road crash, then please contact our solicitors on 0800 157 7611 or contact Matthew Claxson directly.

Moore Barlow LLP is a legal panel member for RoadPeace who are the national charity for road crash victims. RoadPeace operate a pastoral care helpline 0845 4500 355.