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Compensation for bereaved families

The claim we had to decline related to the death of a young man in custody. His bereft mum had contacted us following a damning prison ombudsman’s report that had identified a number of failings on the prison service’s behalf towards this young man.
And why, when there was clearly negligence, was there no claim?
The young man was an adult, therefore his mum and dad did not have a claim for bereavement damages, which are only paid to parents of minor children. Neither were they dependent on their son, nor did they consider they were ever likely to be.
A further head of claim is damages for the pain and suffering of the deceased. Whilst the circumstances of his death aren’t precisely known, it does appear that he passed away in his sleep, so possibly suffered no pain. Finally, the cost of the funeral is a legitimate claim in most cases involving a fatality. However, the one redeeming action of the prison in this claim is that they paid for the funeral.
So, for the parents, no claim of any value to pursue.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) is campaigning for a review of fatal accident claims, primarily relating to an increase in the statutory sums payable, but also to widen the categories of those who benefit following the death of a loved one. Atherton Godfrey is in full support of this long overdue change.
APIL says: “The law in England and Wales needs to change, to be fairer to the families left behind after the death of a loved one.”
Details of the APIL campaign can be found at: www.apil.org.uk/fairness-for-families
 

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