Dangerous driving proposal gets huge response from the public

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Consultation on dangerous driving proposals attracts amongst the highest number of responses for a Ministry of Justice consultation.

There is no better endorsement for an issue than the public engaging in a consultation with the government. Consultations keep the government accountable to public views and are an effective way of having your voice heard directly by law makers.

The government opened this consultation between the MOJ and the public on 5th December 2016 and in 3 days it had attracted 1000 responses.  At its closure on 1st February 2017 the number had reached 9000. This is in comparison to other recent response rates of 4, 41, 84 and 790 in MOJ consultations.

The responses included contributions from victims, bereaved families, road safety groups and charities.

The proposals from the MOJ included:

  • increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving from 14 years to life;
  • increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs from 14 years to life;
  • creating a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, with a maximum sentence of 3 years;
  • increasing minimum driving bans for those convicted of causing death.

The plans build on the government’s pledge to consider sentencing powers available to the courts for the most serious driving offences. The government will consider the responses and set out its plans in the coming months.

At Novum Law, we see the devastating effects of dangerous driving and serious injuries our clients must deal with on a daily basis. The award of financial compensation will go as far as it can, to place the victim back into the same position but for the accident, in so far as it can. Tragically, in many instances the victims will be unable to return to the lives they had before  and in the case of death by dangerous driving, compensation will never make up for the loss of a loved one.

Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said:

“Killer drivers ruin lives. While we [the criminal system] can never compensate for the loss of a loved one, we are clear that the punishment must fit the crime.”

At Novum Law we specialise in serious injury compensation that sadly, can arise from a fatality.

When a family suffers the loss of a loved one that they depend on then the loss is not only devastating emotionally but can also have a huge financial impact.

The claims that can be considered in these circumstances are as follows:

A claim by the Estate on behalf of the deceased;

The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 enables the Estate to recover funeral expenses, loss of earnings and pain and suffering up to the date of passing.

Any claim that the deceased may have had against a defendant survives them. The award will then be paid to the estate and distributed to the beneficiaries according to their Will.

Statutory Bereavement Award

Under the Fatal Accident Act 1976 an award of £12,980 that can be given to certain relatives of the deceased, to recognize the wrongful act and the emotional loss of a victim.  This is usually claimed by a spouse, civil partner or the parents of a child under the age of 18.

A claim for dependency upon the deceased at the time of death.

Dependants of the member of the family can make a claim for compensation under The Fatal Accident Act 1976 (Dependency Claim).

This legislation also provides an independent cause of action for near relatives of the deceased who have been deprived of their support and services. It is a claim for damages not for the deceased but for their family after death. It is not a claim which the deceased could have pursued in their own lifetime because it is for damages suffered not by them, but by their families after death. This can include their spouse, children under 18 and de facto dependants.

A dependency claim can include all financial losses incurred by the dependants due to the loss of their loved one, such as a proportion of the deceased’s earnings (ongoing or in the form of savings for the future including non-essential such as annual holidays). They can also claim the ‘value’ of the ‘lost services” of the deceased- for example, if they were the main childcare provider, carried out DIY, gardening services or other such services.

The recognition by the government that the criminal sanctions attached to this crime are lacking is a very positive step which will also further assist a civil compensation claim.

If a charge of dangerous driving is proven beyond all reasonable doubt in a criminal court then it will undoubtedly pass the balance of probabilities test for negligence in a civil court, therefore assisting in establishing liability.

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