Compensation following the death of a linesman?

Ten days ago, a linesman at SC Buitenboys died after being assaulted by 16 and 17 year-old amateur footballers. Last weekend, all amateur football games were cancelled as a mark of respect. The suspects are being charged with manslaughter. But what about compensation for his family?

Anyone who acts unlawfully must compensate others for the loss or injury caused. Causing physical injury is generally unlawful. When a boxer knocks out an opponent or one footballer tackles another, this rule may not apply. But hitting a referee is never acceptable, so this is unlawful in any circumstances.

When an unlawful act is perpetrated, we ask who has suffered by it and what loss or injury has been caused. The basic principle is that only loss or injury to the victim himself is compensated. However unfair it may seem, when a victim dies the loss that is compensated is often minimal.

So what about the family of the linesman who died? They are only entitled to compensation for funeral costs and for the contribution he would have made to their living expenses had he lived.

But will the teenage footballers be able to pay any compensation anyway? Can their parents be held liable? The law does not hold parents responsible for the actions of their children aged 16 years and older. Will the teenagers’ third party liability insurers pay compensation? Where the actions concerned were deliberate, the answer is almost certainly no.

If the culprits were younger and the parents liable, then the insurer might pay compensation. If there’s a lot at stake, a lawyer can quickly assess your options. These can vary considerably.

Everyone is affected by mistakes other people make when acting unlawfully. For example, a traffic accident or an accident at work. If you can prove your loss or injury, you can recover it from the perpetrator.