The simple answer is that you can’t put a monetary value on the life of anyone – especially your nearest and dearest.
However, if that loved one loses their life as a result of the negligence of a third party, how much would you want to compensate you for that loss? If the deceased is your child under the age of 18, would you think £100,000, £500,000 or a million pounds is enough? Of course, no amount of money is enough.
The law though has to try, and the paltry sum that the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 provides for as damages for the bereavement is £12,980.00. You receive more in damages for losing a couple of fingers than a loved one losing their life.
Then, as if to rub further salt into the wound, the law is highly restrictive in who is entitled to make that claim:
- Unmarried father of a deceased child? No claim
- Cohabiting partner of a deceased? No claim
- Adult child of deceased parent? No claim
This is an area of UK law that seems both disgracefully unfair and totally out of step with modern living – why should an unmarried father have fewer rights than the mother, and why should cohabitees be treated differently in modern society than those who have chosen to marry?
Successive governments of both colours have failed to act to reform this area of the UK Law on damages which is both out of date and disgracefully unfair.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that other losses can be claimed by the classes of people who are not entitled to the statutory award – which are known as dependency claims. So it’s vital that whatever your circumstances you seek independent advice from a specialist solicitor.
Farleys’ personal injury department has a team of specialists who can help you in your claim for bereavement damages or dependency claims. Contact one of the team on 0845 287 0939 or email us through our online contact form.