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Hillsborough families 'cheated' of their compensation - outdated compensation laws need urgent review

20th May 2016

Hillsborough families are being cheated of the compensation that they deserve and will not receive it due to draconian laws which says you can’t claim unless you actually witness a death, says specialist law firm Moore Blatch.

Hundreds of family members have suffered 27 years – almost three decades - of being subjected to the continued reinvestigation of the horrific disaster, which killed 96 people, with tortuous graphic images in the media depicting ‘bodies on the pitch’. 

Since the disaster, it has rarely been out of the news and, as a result, the implications are as raw and sensitive now as they were the day after in April 1989. Countless family members and close friends of the victims have suffered from a range of psychiatric trauma since the disaster, such as chronic anxiety, nervous breakdown, compulsive stress disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder.  Many survivors have turned to drugs and alcohol and suffered marriage or relationship breakdowns because of ‘survivors’ guilt’ and, in the tragic worst case scenario, at least 3 people have reportedly committed suicide as a result. The issue is compounded by the advent of social media meaning that wherever friends and relatives turn they will see reference to the disaster and their loved ones.

Moore Blatch believes case law, established in 1991 designed to prevent claims, reportedly due to the cost that might result, needs urgent and immediate review. The Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police case also does not encompass the changes in technology which means that people often re-live gruesome events on a daily basis through the graphic depictions of death and injury of loved ones, whether through news or video channels.

Ciaran McCabe, partner at Moore Blatch and specialist in personal injury law comments; “The curse of modern technology is that harrowing events, such as Hillsborough, are often continually surrounding us and, consequently, those closest to the victims can never truly escape the horrific memories that live on.  The Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police case no longer reflects today’s society.  To suggest that only those people who were in close proximity or witness the death or injury of a close friend or family member suffered psychiatric harm, is to trivialise the scale of the problem. Mothers, brothers or sisters have constantly re-lived this ordeal, and most likely will do so for the rest of their lives, but they are currently excluded from claiming.  It is for this reason that this case law needs urgent and immediate review.”

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