- August 17, 2015
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We must campaign to increase the bereavement award in England and Wales
I recently settled a fatal accident claim involving a child and I recall the moment when I first advised the parents of the level of bereavement damages they would recover. They were, understandably, extremely traumatised by the tragic loss of their young child who was killed in a road traffic accident in their presence, but to be told they would recover only a few thousands of pounds compensation, £11,800 to be precise, was highly insulting. It was one of the most difficult meetings I attended.
The parents and other family members are all bringing claims for psychiatric injury in their own right, but they wanted an explanation on how the bereavement award could possibly be so low. They lost a child! It was set by statute, I informed them. It will not compensate them for this loss, no amount of money could.
There has quite rightly been much media coverage of the low level of bereavement damages awarded to English claimants compared with those in other jurisdictions. A few of my colleagues have in the past blogged about the unfairness in the English legal system both in terms of the narrow category of people who are eligible to make such claims and also the paltry award fixed by statute.
We must all push for change and support organisations such as the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) in their campaign in every way we can to force parliamentary reform of the current level of bereavement award in England and Wales. Only then can we avoid such difficult meetings with clients being more painful than they need to be.