Under the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011, family members have the right to claim damages if they suffer the loss of a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. The cause of this loss can vary from a misdiagnosis by a GP, a mistake during surgery, a road traffic accident, to an accident at work. The loss of a loved one is traumatic, and when caused by the careless actions of another, undeniably amplifies this devastation. There can also be a substantial financial impact on family members after the death of a loved one.
Family members of the deceased may be entitled to make a claim under Section 4(3) of the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011. A claim for damages after the loss of a loved one is often called a “Loss of Society” award. This can be defined as the loss of companionship, comfort, guidance, and support that your loved one provided before their death. “Loss of Society” also includes the emotional sorrow of family members after the death of a loved one. Family members can also claim for the pain and suffering a loved one suffered prior to their death, as a result of the negligent act. They can also claim any financial losses suffered by the deceased after their death, such as their pension or wages.
The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 provides time limits within which family members must raise a court action for damages. Generally, an action for damages must be brought within of the date on which (a) the injury was sustained; (b) the individual became aware that the injury was sustained; (c) the relative’s date of death. It is important that claims are made within this time to ensure the right to claim is not lost.
Section 14 of the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 outlines who can make a claim in the event of a loved one dying due to an act of negligence. The term, “relative” encompasses an individual who, immediately before the death, is the deceased’s spouse or civil partner. This also includes an individual who has been living with the deceased as if they were married or in a civil partnership. It also covers the parents of the deceased, any siblings of the deceased, any children of the deceased, any grandparents of the deceased, and any uncles or aunts of the deceased. This list is not exhaustive, and Jones Whyte can advise on each case on an individual basis.
The amount of damages awarded to family members after the death of a loved one varies greatly. Often damages are awarded by a Judge, however damages can also be awarded by a civil jury. Traditionally, there has been a wide gap between awards granted by judges, and awards granted by a jury. Not every case is suitable for a jury trial. If your case was to be suitable for a jury trial, your solicitor would discuss this with you in detail before going forward.
At Jones Whyte, we have established a reputation for achieving compensation for those affected by negligence which has resulted in the tragic loss of a loved one. Dealing with the tragic loss of a loved can be an extremely distressing and confusing time for those affected. We understand the confusion surrounding this complex area of the law, and for this reason will keep you updated and fully aware of what is happening at each stage of your claim. We do not use unnecessarily complicated legal jargon when communicating with you. We understand that your needs, as our client, come first. We do our best to support clients seeking justice for the loss of a family member in such a distressing time.
We can also help to put you in touch with various charities, and supportive organisations who can provide assistance.
If you believe you may have a claim, contact our who can provide guidance on the best way forward.
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