Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
A not-for-profit organisation representing injured people

Blog: Bereavement damages: Compensation for the loss of a loved one

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Bereavement damages: Compensation for the loss of a loved one
Deborah Evans | 09 Jul 2013

Whilst no amount of money can ever replace a loved one, APIL believes bereavement damages are an important aid to the recovery of those bereaved. This is not about replacing what is lost; it is about leaving a legacy - looking after those left behind. Those family members who have suffered anguish and grief through a fatal injury or disease of a child, parent or spouse, deserve from compensation.

Those grieving may not wish to think about claiming compensation at the time, but may regret it in the future. Compensation can add to a widow’s pension to provide a decent standard of living, it can help families stay out of debt, and it gives people left behind a future in which they can move forward.

We are concerned however, that the current level of bereavement damages is too low, and that the pool of those who can claim bereavement damages is too narrow. We will be campaigning for bereavement damages to be increased. In Scotland, compensation levels are higher than in England and Wales – why is the death of a relative so undervalued?

It is not just us who think this - as long ago as 1999 the Law Commission recommended an increase both in the amount of bereavement damages and to those who could benefit. The Government failed fully to implement these recommendations.

No parent ever expects to lose a child. The heartbreak can be overwhelming, as can the impact of the grief on daily life. And yet, if your child has turned 18 you are not entitled to a penny in compensation. No-one stops loving their child at 18. Many still live at home. This is inequitable.

In Scotland, a wider pool of relatives is compensated as it is rightly recognised that the suffering from an untimely death is not confined to the spouse or the dependent. Why not in the rest of the UK?

Losing someone you really care about can have a huge impact on your life, particularly when that loss is untimely, whether it be through a road traffic accident, a hospital operation going wrong, or a workplace disease. Bereavement damages can offer support in a very difficult time. Let’s give people the support they need.

Past blog entries

The tide of public opinion is turning against insurers, 15 Oct 2019
Time for a joined-up strategy to prevent medical negligence, 23 Sep 2019
APIL's new CEO: reflections and looking ahead, 05 Aug 2019
The insurance industry’s response to the discount rate change is shameless, 23 Jul 2019
On Workers' Memorial Day, remember those who are left behind, 26 Apr 2019
Discount rate: a view from Holyrood, 26 Mar 2019
A lawyer can run an injury claim, but how do you know he or she is any good?, 04 Mar 2019
NHS Resolution’s Annual Report – Progress?, 13 Jul 2018

About this blog

Deborah Evans

I'm Deborah Evans, APIL's Chief Executive Officer. I shall be using this blog to keep you informed about campaigning and political work carried out by APIL.