The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has criticised the Northern Ireland Executive for having not decided whether or not the list of family members who can be receive bereavement damages will be extended.
The Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel consultation The Law on Damages closed on 10 August 2012, which asked for input on who should be entitled to compensation following the death of a family member through negligence or following an accident.
In its response to the consultation, APIL called for unborn children, engaged couples, siblings, co-habiting partners, and parents of over-18s to be eligible for compensation following a loss.
But a year after it closed, the association has said that families who have lost their loved ones needlessly, deserve better than to be left waiting for a decision on the matter for so long.
“Losing a loved one obviously has a massive impact on the entire family,” said Martin Hanna from APIL .
“Parents who have tragically lost a child over 18 years old, for example, currently cannot receive bereavement damages. No parent ever expects to out-live their children. The impact of grief is devastating and it is both distasteful and impossible to argue that a child over the age of 18 is any less of a loss than a younger child.
“No amount of money can ever replace a loved one, but bereavement damages do at least acknowledge that a death has been caused needlessly, through someone else’s negligence. It’s not about replacing what is lost, but about looking after those left behind,” he added.