Wrongful death compensation claims in Queensland

When a loved one dies because of someone’s negligence, it may be possible to claim compensation by bringing a Wrongful Death claim. This article outlines how Queensland wrongful death claims work and the things that need to be considered.



What is a wrongful death claim?

In Queensland, if a person dies because of someone’s fault, some surviving family members can claim compensation.


The purpose of the claim is to recover lump sum compensation for all financial benefits that the deceased would have provided to family members.


It’s important to understand that the sole focus of a wrongful death claim is to ascertain the value of the financial benefits that the deceased would have provided in his or her lifetime.


Who can make a wrongful death claim?

The deceased’s children (including stepchildren) and spouse (including defacto and civil partners) can make a claim. The executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate can also make a claim.


Parents can also claim, but they may have difficulty proving financial loss, particularly if the deceased was a very young child (see further below).


What can be claimed in a wrongful death claim?

You can claim money that the deceased would have earnt in their lifetime. It is obviously very difficult to assess this with accuracy, but there is a variety of different types of evidence that we would take into account.


It’s important to emphasise that when we assess earnings, it’s not just earnings to the date of a potential settlement or trial. Earnings which the deceased would have made in the future also count.


It is necessary to take account of the fact that not all of the deceased’s earnings would have been for the benefit of their children and spouse. For example, earnings that would have been used for personal living expenses are not taken into account.


By contrast, savings which the deceased would have accumulated can be taken into account.


You can also claim the value of services that the deceased provided (such as household chores).


Some expenses, such as funeral expenses, can also be claimed.


What if I receive an insurance payout from super? Can I still claim?

Yes. In Queensland, the law specifically states that you can claim compensation even if you receive certain payments, such as insurance payouts (including super) or government pensions (including from overseas). The value of these payments does not reduce your compensation.


Is it necessary to prove financial dependency on the deceased?

Not necessarily. In this day and age, it is very common for both spouses to work and earn their own income. What matters is to prove that you would have received a financial benefit from the deceased that you have now lost.


Time limits to claim

In Queensland, a notice of claim must be given to the defendant within 9 months. Importantly, a court claim must be commenced within 3 years.


The time starts running when the injury or death occurs. There are some exceptions though, and in the case of claims on behalf of children, the time limit is extended until 3 years after they attain 18 years of age.


I want to discuss my claim, what should I do next?

Our first step is a face-to-face meeting with Oszkar Denes, our principal solicitor. Find out more about Oszkar here.


The meeting is completely free. We will get a bit more information from you about your injuries, and we explain the claim process.


Please contact us using the form at the bottom of this page or call us on (07) 3063 2268.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can a parent bring a claim for the wrongful death of their child?

Yes. The difficulty will be in assessing the value of the claim. For example, in the case of a very young child, it can be impossible to prove that the child would have provided financial benefit to the parent.

What if I might start a new relationship?

You can still make a claim. The law states that if you have not yet started a new relationship, the value of your claim will not be reduced just because you might enter a relationship in the future in which you may receive financial benefits. If you have already entered a new relationship, you can still claim but any financial benefits that you have already received or that you are likely to receive in the new relationship will be taken into account (and will reduce the value of your compensation).

My partner and I were not married. Can I still claim?

You can claim if you were a de facto partner. A whole range of things are considered when deciding if people lived in a de facto relationship, such as whether you lived together, whether you had children together and so on.

What if the deceased person had received compensation for their injury/illness before their death?

If the deceased had released the negligent person from liability, for example by a settlement agreement, then it may not be possible to bring a wrongful death claim. In a situation like that, please seek legal advice.

Can financial management fees recovered?

Yes. If a person is under legal incapacity and they receive compensation in a wrongful death claim, the defendant will also be ordered to pay for financial management fees.

Free book offer: what to expect in your injury claim

Many firms try to rush you to sign up with them without carefully considering your options. We encourage you to first learn about your personal injury claim. You should ask yourself:

  • How do you calculate your compensation amount?
  • How should you choose your lawyer? Do you just choose by firm name regardless of who is really in charge of your matter? Has your lawyer ever argued a case in court?
  • What is a no win – no fee agreement? How much will it cost?

Our book is available to you free of charge. You don’t have to be a client to receive this book. Head to the order page and we will be happy to send you a copy straight away.

Oszkar Denes Seven Deadly Sins that can wreck your personal injury claim

25% Cap on legal costs

In all of our personal injury compensation matters, we act on a  No Win – No Fee basis. What that means is, there’s no upfront cost to you.


In Queensland, most compensation firms will charge you 50% of your compensation amount – the maximum allowed at law. This is very expensive. Our fee is different. We will cap our fee at 25% . Remember also, these are the maximum fees we will charge. If our fee in your claim is less, then we charge the lesser amount.


Before you engage us, we will provide you a written Disclosure Notice and a Client Service Agreement. These documents set out in detail the service we provide, as well as our fees and outlays. Before you sign anything, you can take these documents home with you, and study them with your family. You can take as long as you need, there is never any pressure from us. If anything in these documents doesn’t make sense to you, we can discuss it with you and you are free to ask another lawyer to give you advice.  And remember, no win – no fee agreements come with a 5 day cooling off period for extra peace of mind.