Death and Loss of Support FAQs

Can I make a claim for death and loss of support?
If a close family member dies as a result of an accident or injury, in Queensland or elsewhere, and you were supported by them in some way (financially or otherwise), you may be entitled to compensation.
 
You may also be entitled to claim compensation if you have suffered a psychological injury as a result of their death.
 
We can advise you in detail about your right to claim and your prospects of success.  Different rules can apply in other states and overseas – we can advise you about that.
 
How do I make a death and loss of support claim?
Notice needs to be given to the relevant insurer.  The type of notice will depend on the circumstances of your loved one’s accident or injury.  For example, if it happened at work, the claim will be against the workers’ compensation insurer.  A motor vehicle accident will involve a CTP insurer.
 
Strict time limits apply – you need to get expert advice now about the time limits which apply to you.
 
What can I claim in a death and loss of support claim?
It is impossible even to estimate the amount of damages you might recover without knowing a lot more about you and your situation.
 
If the accident or injury happened at work, you may be entitled to a statutory lump sum payment from the workers’ compensation insurer, in addition to common law damages.  We can advise you about this.
 
Damages you might recover include:
  • Funeral and medical expenses
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of services.
You may also be entitled to make separate claims for additional insurance benefits such as life insurance.  You will find more information about these claims under Income protection and Disablement claims.
 
Do I need a lawyer to make a death and loss of support claim?
No, you can handle the claim yourself.
 
However, insurers have extensive experience in defending claims and will often instruct lawyers to act on their behalf.  Insurers cannot provide you with independent advice.  You may find yourself at a disadvantage if you do not have legal representation.
 
Will the insurer pay my legal costs in a death and loss of support claim?
That depends on the type of your claim and the amount of damages you recover.  
 
Legislation in Queensland restricts the amount an insurer has to contribute towards your costs – we will provide detailed advice about this.   Even if the insurer is required to pay something towards your costs, it will not cover your entire costs.  The difference will be paid from your settlement or judgment monies.  We will discuss this with you in detail when we give you our initial Costs Agreement and before you instruct us to act on your behalf.
 
How long will a death and loss of support claim take?
This is impossible to say without knowing a lot more about you and your claim.   Some relevant factors include:
  • the nature and extent of your financial dependency on your loved one. 
  • whether the insurer disputes liability for your claim.
 
Will I need to go to court for a death and loss of support claim?
Queensland legislation requires that the claimant and the insurer attempt to reach a settlement before court proceedings are issued. Claims are very rarely decided by a judge.  Even if proceedings are issued in court, claims frequently settle before reaching trial.
 
How am I charged and how much do I have to pay to make a death and loss of support claim?
If we think you have reasonable prospects of success, we will usually agree to act on a speculative basis.  That means we will not charge for our professional fees unless and until your claim is successfully finalised.
 
We do require payment of any costs or outlays (eg. medico-legal reports from a specialist) incurred on your behalf, even if your claim is not successful.  We will not incur significant outlays without first discussing it with you.  An estimate of outlays will be provided in our Costs Agreement. 
 
Our costs will be reasonable – we will discuss them with you in detail before you instruct us to act on your behalf and will enter into a Costs Agreement with you.  We strongly recommend you seek independent legal advice about the Costs Agreement before you sign it.