FATAL ACCIDENT BEREAVEMENT DAMAGES DO NOT EXTEND TO COHABITEE: A HIGH COURT DECISION MADE WITH SOME RELUCTANCE

Zenith PI: PERSONAL INJURY LITIGATION IN PRACTICE

In the judgment today in Smith -v- Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust [2016] EWHC 2208 (QB) Mr Justice Edis, reluctantly, held that the Fatal Accidents Act bereavement payment cannot be extended to cover a cohabitee.

“Why, in any event, does it serve any public interest to refuse to require insurers to make payments which, according to the Association of British Insurers response to the 2009 consultation, they are willing to make? If some such public interest can be found, what is the fair balance between it and the (assumed) rights of the 2 year + cohabitees to receive such payments?”

KEY POINTS

  • The court rejected the argument that a cohabitee, who was a dependant under the definition in the Fatal Accidents Act, should also be entitled to receive the statutory bereavement payment.
  • Articles 8 and 14 were not engaged and the court did not make a declaration of incompatibility.
  • However…

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