Chapter 21 Pointers to 'pause for reflection' and 'counterpoint' boxes

Damages for death and personal injuries

Page 632

The key word in the first part of this 'pause for reflection' is 'deserving'. After many years of asking this and similar questions, the polarity of opinions held by our students still surprises us. A key factor to keep in mind when considering which of these claimants are 'most deserving' or 'less deserving' is that all of the harms were caused by the fault of another. That is, you are not being asked to think about which of these harms is the most deserving of compensation, but which of these harms, when caused by someone else becomes the most deserving. (It may also be worth considering whether your answer would differ depending on who the defendant would be, and exactly what they did.) Depending on how you think about this you may be able to rank the harms – or, interestingly, you may not be able to (for example if you think that all of them are equallydeserving of compensation). The other thing to remember – or to use to help focus your mind – is that you are not being asked, at question 1, to work out how much each party would deserve, only whether they deserve compensation at all: quantum comes into question 2 only (and you may be surprised about the kinds of sums involved – see section 21.3 and in particular Figure 21.1 and surrounding text)

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