Grieving families are still waiting for answers a year after the Northern Ireland Executive consulted on the provision of damages for bereavement.
“Families who have lost their loved ones needlessly, through negligence, deserve better than this,” said Martin Hanna from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) a not-for-profit campaign group for injured people.
The Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel consultation The Law on Damages closed on 10 August 2012.
“Losing a loved one obviously has a massive impact on the entire family,” said Martin. “But when it happens because of negligence at work, for example, or on the road, the family has a right to some recompense from those whose negligence has caused such loss. The Northern Ireland Executive finally consulted on expanding the list of people who can be compensated in these tragic circumstances, but we’re still waiting for an outcome 12 months on”.
APIL called for unborn children, engaged couples, siblings, co-habiting partners, and parents of over-18s to be eligible for compensation following a loss.
“Parents who have tragically lost a child over 18 years old, for example, currently cannot receive bereavement damages. No parent ever expects to out-live their children. The impact of grief is devastating and it is both distasteful and impossible to argue that a child over the age of 18 is any less of a loss than a younger child,” said Martin.
He went on: “No amount of money can ever replace a loved one, but bereavement damages do at least acknowledge that a death has been caused needlessly, through someone else’s negligence. It’s not about replacing what is lost, but about looking after those left behind.”