If you have an accident in Scotland, you need to get advice from a Scottish solicitor. People contact us with personal injury related questions via this website from all over the place (not always in the UK and not always even in Europe). Where the enquiry is about an accident that happened outwith Scotland, we cannot help you directly but we can often use our professional contacts to point you in the right direction. It’s even more focused than "Scotland" for us, however, because we concentrate our main efforts on helping clients in our home area of Moray and a bit beyond that. One phone enquiry we received recently caused us a lot of concern and that’s the seed for this article: The risk that you might have a question about injuries arising from an accident in Scotland but not get advice from a Scottish solicitor. Here’s (an anonymised version of) the scenario that came from the phone enquiry mentioned above. A parent of the caller had died as the result of a road Continue Reading
Bereavement Damages Articles
Claims for compensation arising out of the death of a close relative are quite specialised in Scotland and an area where the law has been in a state of flux for the last 20 years or so. The law is significantly different in Scotland to other parts of the UK. This page collects together the various articles on our website which deal with issues relating to fatal claims and bereavement damages in Scotland.
In modern society, cohabitation is an increasingly popular family structure. As one aspect of the response to this change, the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 was enacted to provide particular limited rights to cohabiting couples. On the breakdown of their relationship within their lifetimes, a former cohabitee has the chance to make a claim for financial provision from his or her former partner. On the death of one of them – provided they did not leave a will – the survivor can make a claim for financial provision from the deceased’s estate. The time limit for a “separation” claim is one year from the date of separation and, for a “death” claim, only 6 months. These time limits are very short indeed and they cannot be extended. As a sort of public information drive, we have a poster we often display outside our offices which summarises the time limit for death claims. If a cohabitee dies as the result of an accident which is due to the fault or breach of duty of Continue Reading
The Radio 4 consumer programme “You and Yours”, for 14 January 2016, included a section on bereavement damages. It highlighted the fact that, although they say “you can’t put a price on a life”, in fact, we do it all the time. Decisions made about which treatments and drugs are going to be available on the NHS are one example. Another is the way we deal with compensation when someone dies as a result of negligence. Scotland as a benchmark for law reform in England and Wales One MP – a former personal injury lawyer – is asking for a change in the law to allow courts in England and Wales to pay more in compensation than at present and allow a wider range of relatives to claim, when someone has died as a result of negligence. In many ways, the Scottish legal position is being used as the blueprint for the proposed change in the law in England and Wales. Andy McDonald is the Labour MP for Middlesborough and his Private Member’s Bill comes before Parliament at the end of January Continue Reading
Claims by three members of the family of a man who died as the result of a road traffic accident in Glasgow have been awarded damages totalling £106,500. Lady Wise, in the Court of Session, decided that the award of compensation in a previous similar case had been too low. She set the damages level for each claimant by applying an uplift of approximately 50% on the awards in the previous case. Pedestrian crossing accident Gavin Currie was 25 years old when he was knocked down on a zebra crossing on 28 December 2011. He died in hospital 2 days later. The Court described Gavin as a “fine young man with good employment prospects and a happy and settled family life”. He came from a close-knit family. Only value of claim disputed Liability for the accident was not in dispute but there was disagreement about the level of compensation to be paid to each of his parents and to his brother, Euan, by the insurers of the negligent driver. Tension between Judge and Jury damages Continue Reading
Something like 7 out of 10 people do not have a Will. There are lots of reasons why you are unlikely to have made a Will. This post tells a story which might convince you to take action and make a Will, if you do not have one. The details are fictional but are based on fact situations we have dealt with in practice. Maggie and Tam – cohabiting couple Maggie had been separated from her husband for several years when she met her partner, Tam, through a mutual friend in 2002. Maggie lived in Moray and Tam was based in the Borders. After a year or so, they decided to move in together, Tam finding a job with a haulage company in Moray. They bought a house using, as a deposit, money Tam had saved. Tam had never been married and had no children. He formed a great relationship with Maggie’s three children – and two grandchildren born during the years after he and Maggie got together. Maggie, in turn, enjoyed the company of Tam’s brother and his parents. They went on Continue Reading
On 16 July 2009, Peter McGee fell down the stairs at his home in Springburn, Glasgow. Two days later, he died in hospital as a result of complications from his injuries. His wife, Catherine, and other family members raised an action in the Court of Session against RJK Building Services Ltd, who had carried out joinery work at the property on the instructions of Glasgow City Council, Mr and Mrs McGee’s landlords. In an Opinion issued on 18 January 2013, Lord Drummond Young found that RJK were to blame for Mr McGee’s injuries and death because they had been negligent in the way they fitted a handrail on the stairs. The handrail had come loose from the wall as Mr McGee descended the stairs, causing him to fall. A lengthy marriage At the time of his death, Mr McGee was 71 years old. His wife was a few months younger than him. They had been married for 36 years. An area of personal injury law where Scotland is different Personal injury law is applied identically or Continue Reading