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Compensation for the wrongful death of a loved-one.

(52 Posts)
bubble99 Mon 01-Aug-05 20:43:55

What's your view on this? I agree that, if a family bread-winner is wrongfully killed, compensation to support a family is justified. Or money paid to a baby wrongfully damaged at birth to pay for ongoing care as a result. But how do you feel about compensation being paid to the family of a child. What does/should compensation represent? Is it a valuable deterrant for future screw-ups?

I feel comfortable with money being paid to a family to, in someway, put right what went wrong, I know of a family who are using compensation money to pay for IVF treatment after the negligent death of a naturally conceived 11th hour baby. I realise that people don't have to answer to anyone about how they spend compensation money, but the whole thing makes me feel uncomfortable.

MrsGordonRamsay Mon 01-Aug-05 20:50:00

I am not sure it is a valuable deterrent for future screw ups, I don't think for one moment that medically qualified people get up in the morning and think "today I am going to function below par"

It is a difficult one.

bubble99 Mon 01-Aug-05 20:52:11

I want to mention a high-profile case but I know I'm going to get burned.

bubble99 Mon 01-Aug-05 20:53:07

And it's not a case from the last few weeks.

MrsGordonRamsay Mon 01-Aug-05 20:53:25

So far honey, there is only you and I here, so if you want to go ahead.

hunkermunker Mon 01-Aug-05 20:59:46

And me, and you know I won't burn you

I think that if financial hardship would be suffered by those left behind in a case of negligence, then compensation is in order. But I don't agree with "a life is worth x amount" compensation, I don't think.

I would rather cases of negligence were learnt from and future mistakes and tragedies avoided

bubble99 Mon 01-Aug-05 21:02:55

OK. Victoria Climbie. I followed the story with horrified interest. My brother is a Police Officer in a Child Protection Unit, he mostly works on tracking down paedophiles but this case was within his area.

I read that it is 'the norm' for West-African families to send their children, often alone, to the UK in search of a 'better life' but I found it completely irresponsible. Victoria was left in the care of 'an aunt' who abused and tortured her to death.

The agencies who should have been looking after her, once warning signs were seen, failed her fatally. In my view, however, the ultimate responsibility lay with her parents. Why did they receive compensation for her death?

hunkermunker Mon 01-Aug-05 21:05:12

Don't know enough about the case, only what I read at the time and more recently, the woman who kept her job(?), but don't really know why compensation would be paid to anyone here. The aunt was totally evil, iirc - but would the parents have known anything so shocking was going on?

pretendyoudontknowme Mon 01-Aug-05 21:05:48

I've changed my name for this!

Generally, if cash helps then OK I suppose.

I know a currently high profile case where lady has X hundred £'s paid to her for negligent death of her Hubby. EXCEPT they were in fact separated, hated each other, she sold his possessions within 3 days of his death and refused to sell these to his son and grandson who were close to him as wanted him 'out of my life'- until cottoned on to financial aspect then morphed into greiving widow.

Has given a litle to one of her grown up kids, disowned one as she married a person from another culture, and will only give to third daughter if she leaves her great hubby she loves dearly and has three kids with but who was close to the dad.

PeachyClair Mon 01-Aug-05 21:08:03


I have two people I know who lost children due to medical negligence (one MRSA in a six year old, parent was my cousin)and one whose labour was v badly mishandled. Both chose not to claim as they couldnt gain what they most wanted- their kids. They did get apologies though.

QueenOfQuotes Mon 01-Aug-05 21:08:14

I'm "presuming" that the parents dind't know that this aunt was going to abuse the poor little girl.

But I'm afraid I'm going to "burn" you a bit - I don't see what's irresponsible about giving your child a chance to an education and a brighter (if she hadn't be with the evil aunt) future. It's the way many families try to 'break' the cycle of poverty - even if it means having to send your child away to live with relatives to 'better' their lives.

MrsGordonRamsay Mon 01-Aug-05 21:08:57

Because my darling, we live in a blame culture.

They ship their child halfway around the world, and then when all is not rosy in the garden they sue.

We would have to be, living to use an Irish expression, on the clippings of tin, before I would let anyone take my child anywhere.

The claim and blame culture is reprehensible, but sadly appears to be here to stay.

bubble99 Mon 01-Aug-05 21:14:59

But QOQ, isn't it your responsibility as a parent, no matter how poor or tough your life is, to make sure that the person you send them to is going to care for them? If a family in Niger, with a starving baby, faced with certain death, hand their baby over to a foreign correspondent on an international news crew to look after, I could understand taking the risk. The baby will die anyway and there is a chance that this person will look after them. But, from what I can tell, and I wait for someone to correct me, this was not the case with the Climbie family.

MrsGordonRamsay Mon 01-Aug-05 21:18:10

I am sorry I can not comment, but I do know that they would have to shoehorn DS from my sidebefore I could part with him.

edam Mon 01-Aug-05 21:36:14

It's one of those things that's hard for us to understand. I don't know what Victoria Climbie's parent's situation is. But there are parents who are really struggling to survive, and if someone they trust offers them a future for their kids, they will snatch it. To have that trust abused... makes your blood run cold. People in this country used to send kids to relatives too, you know. But we are all, mostly wealthy enough now, in comparison to developing countries, to raise our own kids. Lucky us. Don't think that gives us the right to criticise people who make what must be a terrible choice, to give their children up.

edam Mon 01-Aug-05 21:37:11

MGR, if you didn't have the money to feed, clothe and educate him and his brothers and sisters, you might have to think about it.

morningpaper Mon 01-Aug-05 21:42:05

The thing with the Climbie case was that it was undeniably a massive fuck-up on the part of the authorities. The compensation was a kind of institutionalised acknowledgement of that. This was a girl who was OBVIOUSLY being abused and the people responsible for her care didn't pick up on that, and were completely and appallingly inept.

I think that's different from a medical person who as someone said isn't going to wake up and think "I'll function below par today."

morningpaper Mon 01-Aug-05 21:43:29

During the Blitz most London/city parents "gave up" their kids into the care of people that they often didn't even know, because they thought they would be saved from death and disease... not so different?

QueenOfQuotes Mon 01-Aug-05 21:53:19

Not really bubble - I presume the parents believed she would be looked after in the UK by the "aunt" (which BTW in many African countries doesn't mean the 'same' as "Aunt" does to us - it's a very broad term) and would get a decent education, be fed and well looked after, giving her an opportunity that they knew they'd never be able to give her.

bubble99 Mon 01-Aug-05 22:04:02

Not trying to criticise necessarily, just trying to understand. I think what I'm trying to establish is if money is an appropriate compensation for such a profound loss. The whole concept of money for a life makes me feel uncomfortable, unless the family of the person who was wrongfully damaged/killed needs funds for lifelong care or funds to provide what the bread-winner was providing. l

edam Mon 01-Aug-05 22:11:14

I suppose money is the only way we have of showing that a large, faceless institution recognises that it got something badly wrong though. Yes, you can have assurances that things have changed, but if there was no financial marker, would large organisations actually bother to do anything about the problem? We don't have an effective corporate manslaughter law yet. Directors of companies that have exposed their employees/ customers/passengers/clients to huge and sometimes fatal risks know they don't face any personal risk. So I guess we have to hit them in their pockets so they take notice.

bubble99 Mon 01-Aug-05 22:19:32

I understand MP's point that during WW2 children were evacuated and placed into the care of total strangers. This was in response to the very real threat of bombing of major UK cities. These parents had no way of knowing when, or even if their families would be re-united, and how their children would have been affected by the experience.

Did the Climbie have no access to a 'phone? Did they follow up their daughter's progress in the UK?

QueenOfQuotes Mon 01-Aug-05 22:22:25

"Did the Climbie have no access to a 'phone? "

Quite possibly not - Ivory Coast is a very poor country, and a reliable phone in Zim was hard enough to find (we often struggle to get through as the lines are so dodgy)

Even if they did have access to a phone, it's very easy to lie when talking to someone on a phone.

stitch Mon 01-Aug-05 22:26:22

i totally disagree with the entire compensation culture.
yes, the death of the main breadwinner is a major blow, and i suppose life insurance could be termed compensation, but that is the only sort of situation i think it is at all okish.

the climbie case, well, the parents thought they were doing the best for their child. i dont see how thay can be to blame, but equally i dont see why they should get compensation for the uk system failing either.
monetary value cannot be placed on a life.

bubble99 Mon 01-Aug-05 22:29:43

Would you send your child abroad and not follow up their progress? If the Climbie's were from an area where Victoria's death was a certainty due to famine or war I could understand that the day to day struggle for survival would over-ride any attempts at contact but I don't think this was the case. I believe that parents are ultimately responsible for the welfare of their child.

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