Real damages for real people

A major news organisation has at long last highlighted the stark reality of how much the life of a loved one is worth so much less than the hurt feelings of a celebrity.

Tom Heyden writing in this mornings BBC News Magazine reports on comments made by Simon Fox the Chief Executive of Trinity Mirror Group, themselves embroiled in the phone hacking cases, who has questioned how Sadie Frost (£260,000) and Paul Gascoigne (£180,000) can be awarded such vast amounts of compensation whilst parents of dead children get far far less under our current laws.

Today, if your child or partner is killed by someone else’s negligence, say, a drunk driver, you as the mother of that infant, or wife to that man, may claim bereavement damages of a mere £12,980. That’s not a typing error.  Just under thirteen grand. In Scotland there is no limit to bereavement damages and its high time we had the same rule here in England and Wales.

Only recently I have had to carefully explain to a bereaved parent that the law as it stands means that their child’s life is worth, well, a few pounds to an insurer.  “How can that be fair Grant?”

It isn’t.

I humbly accept that money changes nothing. You bury your child, you eventually walk on but, you never forget.  £12,980 for the loss of a life is, a very bitter pill to swallow.

Thank you to Tom for bringing this travesty to the publics attention.

Grant Evatt

Grant Evatt is a Director of Hilary Meredith Solicitors Limited based in our London office.  He has acted for dozens of grief stricken parents, wives and husbands during the last 14 years and has helped them to come to terms with their loss.