Dependency – Wife

The Dependency Claim for a Wife’s Death

The court following a fatal accident claim agreed that the child was dependent on the her mother’s income and in once case awarded £5074 pa with a multiplier of 7 = £35,520). It is the damage to the dependent herself resulting from the death which must be assessed for which damages are to be awarded and not to anyone else. The judge dismissed the defendant’s argument in the fatal accident claim, that the a discount should be made since the husband was better off as a result of his wife’s death as he did not have to support two households. The child had a dependency of 57.5% of the joint family purse. The father’s contribution continued following the fatal accident of his wife, she was entitled to be compensated for that part which originated from her mother and has ceased. To the extent that her father has made good the loss caused by the death of the mother, it was a benefit which had to be disregarded.

The Services Dependency

The child’s loss following a fatal accident of the mother, was to be measured by the loss of earnings incurred on behalf of the husband’s partner or a commercial cost of employing a housekeeper, which was assessed by a child expert. Damages under the Fatal Accidents Act is to be treated as a jury question. The judge considered that the jury in a fatal accident claim, would not assess damages on the basis that the commercial cost of employing a housekeeper had been incurred but they would “have had an eye to” to the cost.

If a husband gave up work to look after the children following the fatal accident of his wife, the value of the mother’s services may be that of the lost wage of the husband, where the husband’s wage was greater than the cost of employing a housekeeper) or in the case of Bailey v Barking & Havering Area HA [1979] Law Society Gazette, the actual loss which the husband incurred, (where his wage was less than the cost of employing a housekeeper).

Posted: November 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm