Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, if it can be established that a person has died as a result of medical negligence, a fixed sum of £12,980 will be made payable to a spouse/civil partner of the deceased, or the parents of a minor if the deceased is under the age of 18.
It has long been criticised that this archaic legislation does not take in to account cohabiting partners and should be updated to reflect the modern era.
Today, Jakki Smith, was successful in her challenge against a previous High Court ruling which denied her bereavement damages. Ms Smith had been with her partner, John Bulloch, for 16 years when he died in 2011 following a failure to diagnose an infection. Ms Smith’s legal team argued that the current legalisation was a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court of Appeal allowed their challenge.
This decision is considered long overdue and will hopefully bring fairness to future cohabiting partners who find themselves in such tragic circumstances.
Further Information and Legal Support
If you or a family member have been affected by medical negligence you may be entitled to compensation. For more information please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Medical Negligence Team.
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