Damages for bereavement needs to be changed

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) are calling for changes to be made to damages for bereavement in England and Wales.

APIL carried out a survey in which 80% of respondents said that the Scottish system for bereavement damages is fairer.

Currently, in England and Wales, damages for bereavement is a payment of a fixed sum of £12,980 payable by those who have caused the death.

In Scotland however cases are taken on their own merits, damages are usually higher and the law is more flexible about who can receive the damages.

Many respondents to the APIL survey believe that the list of people eligible to receive damages for bereavement should be extended to include:

  • Parents of a child who is killed, regardless of their child’s age
  • Children, including adopted children, of the person who is killed, regardless of the age of the child
  • The co-habitee of the person who is killed
  • The fiancé of the person who is killed

Currently these people are not eligible for damages for bereavement but may be entitled in Scotland.

Melanie Lidstone Land, expert personal injury lawyer at Swain & Co says, “As a personal injury lawyer and a mother, I find it unbelievable that the parents of a child under the age of 18 should be entitled to bereavement damages in England and Wales, but if their child is over 18 they are not. The loss is no less whether your child is over 18 or under; it is unnatural for a parent to suffer the loss of a child.”