News and Events

The Case That Shows Why Bereavement Damages Must Be Revised

We recently discussed why bereavement damages required an overhaul. Partner John Hall of Tilly Bailey & Irvine Solicitors agrees with this, further echoed by a tragic incident in the news recently...

John’s colleague Mark Ellis, a Partner and Personal Injury and Negligence legal specialist, recently posted an article on our website in which he enquired whether or not bereavement damages awarded by the Courts should be increased.

He pointed out that the statutory sum for bereavement damages is currently set at £12,980, and commented:

“The level in bereavement damages in England and Wales has been at its same level for six years and, in that time, it has been reviewed by Northern Ireland twice. There is a difference as to how people are treated depending on which jurisdiction they are in when they die. The whole law on bereavement damages needs overhauling and needs to be brought up to date.”

John Hall takes up the story after a recent case made headlines:

“The shocking inadequacy of this sum was highlighted in a recent case brought against Ikea Home Furnishings in the United States by the family of a child who tragically died when a Malm chest of drawers fell on top of him.

“The furniture manufacturer knew that this particular line of furniture was prone to tip over, and that there had been failure to warn its customers of this unstable design which was suggested to be anchored to a wall.

“It has been reported that Ikea has agreed to pay $46m to the family concerned.

“Whilst I am not advocating that bereavement damages should be increased to what appears to be an excessively large figure, nevertheless it is surely time for the current statutory award to be revised.

“In that regard, I would agree with the conclusion of more than half of the people surveyed by APIL (the Association for Personal Injury Lawyers), of which I am a Senior Litigator, who considered that bereavement damages should be more than £100,000.”

Three quarters of those asked also wanted levels to be set on a case-by-case basis.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine is a full-service law firm with offices across the North East. Find out more about its Personal Injury solicitors and lawyers here.