Lawyers Back Middlesbrough MP’s Bill

Personal injury lawyers are backing Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald’s bid to change the law and ensure that bereaved families can be properly compensated for their loss.

Mr McDonald’s Negligence and Damages Bill will receive its second reading in the House of Commons on Friday (January 22).

He wants to extend the range of relatives who can claim, remove the present £12,980 compensation cap and allow the potential to recover funeral expenses, loss of dependency and bereavement damages where there has been negligence.

“The loss of a loved one, particularly a spouse or child, can be one of most traumatic events in anyone’s life,” he said. “It can be even more traumatic if their death is caused an accident or negligent act which is no fault of their own.”

Anthony McCarthy, a solicitor director at Macks Solicitors in Middlesbrough, is hoping the Private Members’ Bill clears this next hurdle and eventually becomes law.

“Having represented many people who have lost a loved one and not been adequately compensated, I‘ve seen for myself the unjust outcomes of the current system,” he said.

“The fixed cap is inherently unfair. It just cannot be right that it can be cheaper in terms of compensation to kill your victim than merely to maim them.

“If a death occurs because of someone else’s negligence, it’s only right that they should be held responsible for the consequences of their actions.

“It’s true that no amount of money can ever make up for the death of a close relative. But how can it be right for relatives of someone killed in Scotland to be properly compensated in such circumstances, while those in England are left with a pitifully small pay out?

“I sincerely hope that MPs agree that the situation as it stands is simply unfair and that this Bill eventually becomes law.”

Mr McDonald says the law treats bereaved families like second-class citizens and wants a new, fairer system.

“The proposed legislation is designed to bring the law into line with modern attitudes towards mental injury,” he said.

“My aim is also to address what critics of the current system describe as a postcode lottery for bereavement damages. At the moment, statutory awards vary considerably between Scotland and the rest of the UK and I want to see that harmonised.”

If the Bill is passed on Friday it will progress to the Committee Stage, where a more detailed examination will take place.

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