Home > “Secondary Victims” Seeking Compensationpost>

“Secondary Victims” Seeking Compensation

It has been widely reported in the Press that the retired chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, Sir Norman Bettison, has been stripped of his honorary fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University after an Independent Police Complaints Commission report into his behaviour over the Hillsborough Tragedy in 1989.  Mr Bettison was an off-duty inspector with South Yorkshire Police at the time.

Has any compensation been paid?

A tragedy such as this brings to the surface the question of compensation for the victims and their families.  Numerous people applied for compensation, some were successful and some were not.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report stated:

“In cases that concerned the death of children, their parents received no more than the statutory bereavement allowance of £3,500 and funeral expenses.  Cases that concerned the death of adults survived by dependants resulted in higher payments.  Compensation for those who endured physical or psychological injury was assessed on the nature and extent of the injury, resulting loss of earnings or any ongoing medical costs.”

Some people applied for compensation as “secondary victims.”  This article explains in more detail what a secondary victim is.

What is a secondary victim?

A secondary victim is someone who has suffered psychological injury as a result of the injury or fear of injury to a primary victim, ie, a family member.

However, anyone being informed of the death or injury of a close relative, in whatever circumstances, is always likely to be shocked and therefore, to prevent a flood of claims, the Courts have introduced through Case Law a number of control mechanisms as a matter of policy to restrict the number of potential claims.

What are the Control Mechanisms?

  • The Claimant (the person claiming compensation) must have a close tie of love and affection with the person killed, injured or imperilled
  • The Claimant was “close to the accident” in time and in space
  • That Claimant directly perceived the accident or its immediate aftermath rather than, for example, hearing of it
  • The Claimant must be of reasonable fortitude

An example of a Secondary Victim Situation

A Claimant’s son is injured in an accident and the Claimant witnesses the aftermath on the television.  The Claimant suffers psychological injury as a result.  If the injuries were not significant as a result of the accident and were not near fatal, the Court may find that a Claimant of reasonable fortitude, whilst naturally being upset and concerned for the welfare of their son, would not subsequently have suffered from nervous shock arriving at the scene of the accident as you did.  In this situation, the Claimant has only suffered psychological symptoms and no physical injuries.

What medical evidence is needed?

The Claimant would need to obtain medical evidence from a Psychiatrist to confirm whether they suffered from a recognised psychiatric condition such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and thereafter pursue a claim against the responsible party.

What We Can Do For You

We are experienced serious injury Solicitors and specialise in dealing with serious injury claims.   We will run your accident compensation claim against the responsible party to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of accident claim compensation.