Parents recover future financial support damages following loss of son

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Parents recover future financial support damages following loss of son

13th February 2012

In an unusual recent case, the parents of a 19-year-old Sussex man who was tragically killed in a road traffic collision have received £16,000 in an out of court settlement.

Michelle Sutton, a road traffic collisions expert at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the young man was a front-seat passenger in a car whose driver lost control while rounding a bend at excessive speed, colliding side-on with an oncoming vehicle before landing upside down in the front garden of a nearby house.

“Although the driver escaped unharmed, my client’s son was gravely injured with multiple severe injuries,” said Michelle, an associate with the firm. “After being taken by ambulance to hospital, he suffered a cardiac arrest whilst undergoing emergency surgery and sadly died soon afterwards.

“This claim was unusual as we sought to recover an award for the loss of the prospect of financial support and intangible benefits in a case where the parents lost a child who was over the age of 18,” added Michelle. “The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 states that once a child reaches 18 the parents are no longer entitled to recover the statutory bereavement award, in most cases only recovering funeral expenses. But this, I believe, is wholly inadequate.”

Michelle explained that the statutory bereavement award is a lump sum payment, currently set at £11,800, made by the government following a successful claim, to compensate families or loved ones following the death of a partner, spouse or child under the age of 18.

“Although the claimant’s son was at university and living away from home at the time of the incident, it was anticipated that he would return to the family home after university and contribute to the household income,” she said. “More importantly, it was also anticipated that he would have made some contribution to support his parents throughout their lives.

“This was a very tragic case in which a young man needlessly lost his life, through no fault of his own,” said Michelle. “Obviously no amount of money can possibly compensate for the loss of a loved one, but we were satisfied that on top of funeral expenses we were also able to recover damages for the pain this man suffered prior to his death as well as crucially, a sum for a loss of future dependency - based on the fact that had he survived, he would have contributed to his parents income.

“By succeeding in this claim, the parents were at least able to recover something to acknowledge the devastating loss of their child.”

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of serious road traffic collisions including fatal accidents.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire