Bereavement damages are insultingly low in England and Wales – less than £16,000. The Ministry of Justice in 2007 stated that statutory fatal damages ‘constitute a token payment in acknowledgement of grief and are not intended to reflect the value of a life or to inflict a punishment for causing a death.’
In May 2020, bereavement damages were increased from £15,120. This is 1% of the estimated human costs (£1,225,630) involved in a road death.
The monetary reality is that in most cases it is much cheaper to kill someone than to injure them, as seriously injured crash victims are able to claim for future needs as a result of the crash.
There are also restrictions on who may claim bereavement damages. Bereavement damages are restricted to:
- Husbands, wives and civil partners
- Parents of a child aged under 18
- Someone who was financially dependent on the victim
These restrictions have caused untold suffering. RoadPeace was founded by bereaved parents, most of whom have had grown children killed. Devastated by the sudden and violent death of their grown child, parents are often unable to return to work for months, if ever. Yet apart from funeral expenses, parents receive no compensation for the wrongful death of their grown child. Damages for psychological stress are separate, and claiming them is a long, exhausting process which many refuse to even consider.
APIL earlier this year published a report on the impact of bereavement damages, which can be read here.
A recording of the webinar launching the report is available to watch at this webpage.
RoadPeace’s legal panel members, CFG Law, are running a petition for calling for the legislation to be updated and brought in line with bereavement damages in Scotland.
Please sign and share the petition, and help to update a law which is causing needless suffering to families.
Updated on: 25 August 2021