There are no winners in a fatal accident claim. It’s very true. In the same week that the Ministry of Justice has announced that it would not approve automatic public funding for bereaved families at inquests involving the state, I am indebted to the wonderful Gordon Exall, Barrister at Zenith Chambers in Leeds and Hardwick, London whose regular legal blog, Civil Litigation Brief, landed in my inbox this afternoon. His newest edition concerns the dependants of two men who had been killed in a terrorist attack on a gas production facility in Algeria in January 2013.
Their families brought claims under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 against the two mens employers, BP and others, and whilst the case had been listed for trial, the parties managed to resolve their differences and settle the case out of court. Because there were minors involved, the confidential agreement that had been reached was subject to court approval.
In approving the settlement, High Court Judge Mrs Justice Yip roundly commended all the parties and reminded us of the typically skewed reporting of cases such as this, when she said:
“The settlement does not represent a victory for anyone. Settlement of claims are often reported on the basis that claimants have “won damages”. It would be offensive to describe these claimants as “winning” anything. They have suffered the most terrible loss for which they are to receive some compensation.”
The link to Gordons excellent blog is here and if you haven’t subscribed, then do so today. Its free. Thank you Gordon.
The link to the judgment can also be found here.
Grant Evatt is a personal injury specialist and a former British Army Commando. He has specialised in fatal accident claims for almost two decades and he is an expert in this complex area of law.