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Sep 26, 2018

Justice’s Ruling Was Monumental, Here’s why:

Sheena Pitts

Today’s ruling was monumental. It sets a new precedence in amounts to be paid to grieving families in Belize for fatal traffic accidents. Attorney Sheena Pitts explained that the conventional award for loss of life is usually three thousand five hundred dollars, but today her client was awarded twenty thousand dollars.  She explains how this happened and what it means for subsequent cases.

 

Sheena Pitts, Attorney for the Arana Family

“What we are pleased with is that this case sets precedence for hereafter in Belize in that to put it in common terms, it cannot be cheaper to kill than to injure. Before this case the conventional award for loss of life was three thousand five hundred dollars. Those cases that that award came from, they were short of an award that was made in 1962 by the House of Lord, a decision that said that loss of life is five hundred pounds. When that five hundred pounds is update to 2018, having taken the twenty five percent deduction, it comes now to twenty thousand four hundred and ninety dollars and some cents. So now the position in Belize, the new precedence in position in Belize in relation to loss of life is that the award is twenty thousand four hundred and ninety dollars and some cents. That feeling people had or gathered from it may be cheaper to kill than injure, no more. It might sound a bit harsh but that is the reaction we get when we hear loss of expectation of life the award is three thousand five hundred dollars. Only that? Well today is monumental in that this court said no, that award is not fair, that award is not just, that award when it was made at that time did not take into consideration a House of Lord decision that had already pronounced on what the sum would have been. And so it has been updated and that updated sum is not over twenty thousand dollars.”

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