Accidents* Causing Death
Taking a claim* for injury* or accident* causing the death of a loved one / fatal injury claim*
Accidents* or injuries* causing the death of a loved one are often referred to as Fatal Injuries / accident*. Where a loved one has died as a result of accident*, the family may be entitled to compensation. No level of compensation can ever make up for the tragic loss of a loved one however, compensation may go some way of alleviating the financial hardship for those left behind after the death of a family member.
A dependent of the deceased person may bring a fatal injury claim* arising out of the wrongful death.
Under the Civil Liability Act, the definition of a ‘dependent’ person includes a cohabitant who is not married to the deceased but until the date of the deceased’s death had been living with the deceased for a continuous period of not less than three years.
Other dependents obviously include a spouse, parent, grandparent, stepparent, child, grandchild, stepchild, brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister of the deceased. A number of individuals may bring a fatal injuries claim*. However only one claim can be brought and the person who brings the claim* seeking damages arising out of the wrongful death of the deceased brings the action/claim* on behalf of all of the statutory dependents. In order to take such a claim* the consent of all of the statutory dependents is required.
When must a fatal injuries claim* be taken?
You should inform us immediately or as soon as possible after the fatal accident* takes place because the Civil Liability Act requires that a letter of claim* is sent to the Defendant before the expiration of two months from the date of accrual of the cause of action, i.e. the date of the accident or as soon as practical thereafter.
The time limit in order to take a fatal injuries claim* is two years from the date on which the cause of action accrued i.e. two years from the date that the party taking the claim* had the appropriate knowledge.
There are certain exceptions to the time limit in circumstances where the Defendant or wrongdoer is deceased or where the fatal injuries claim* is against an airline operator or maritime vessel.
Types of damages recoverable in fatal injuries claims*
The types of damages recoverable in fatal injuries compensation claims* are determined on the following basis:
Special damages arising from the death to cover funeral expenses and out of pocket expenditure
• Loss of dependency
• Emotional distress
Special damages in the context of fatal injuries claims* will include damages for funeral expenses and if the deceased is a foreign national it would also include the transporting of the body abroad and the air fares applicable.
Loss of Dependency Claim*
This may be brought as stated above in relation to any individual who is dependent upon the deceased for their financial wellbeing. It is generally brought by a husband or wife or an immediate family member.
In recent years in circumstances where parents are not married, it is often brought by a child of the decease by his or her next friend/parent.
Certain factors will be taken into account in determining the loss of dependency claim*. For example the income of the deceased at the time of his or her death and their outgoings will be taken into account in determining the loss of dependency claim*.
The loss of earnings claims* are generally vigorously defended by the defendant’s insurance company and it may be necessary for us to employ an appropriate Actuary in order to present expert evidence before the Court to support the claim* for loss of earnings.
The Court will also consider the children of the deceased and in particular any minor children who were completely dependent upon the deceased. As with every minor child claim*, any funds will be lodged to the Court until the child reaches the age of 18.
Compensation for emotional distress
There is a statutory limit of €35,000 for compensation for emotional distress in the case of fatal injuries claims*. Under the Civil Liability Act and this sum is divided between all of the statutory dependents of the deceased.
Nervous Shock Claims*
In addition, family members who witnessed the accident or the immediate aftermath may be in a position to pursue a separate claim* if they have suffered psychological trauma. This type of claim* is often described as a ‘nervous shock’ or post-traumatic distress disorder (PTSD) claim*.
Fatal injury claims* can be quite complex and our expert legal advice should always be sought.
What Our Customers Say
“From the time I engaged with Paul, his expertise and confidence, he displayed to me, had a life changing effect on the situation. I was able to relax and not worry as he dealt with every situation that came up, and supported me and not just professionally but in ways that helped my fragile mental health at that time.”
“My personal experience with Mullins & Treacy Solicitors was positive from the very first consultation. They were professional and confidential, attentive and thorough combined with compassion and understanding during a very stressful time. I have no hesitation recommending this company.”
“I found Paul very helpful and he gave advice freely in laymen’s terms. He put us at ease immediately. All work was carried out in a prompt and efficient manner.”
To discuss whether you may potentially be able to claim* compensation for you or someone close to you, call Mullins & Treacy today on 051 391488. Alternatively, complete our “call back request” and we will contact you at a time that is convenient for you.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*