A fatal accident claim is a legal action where a person has died as a result of a wrongful act and usually arises out of a road traffic accident or accident at work. The loss of a loved one due to a fatal accident is extremely devastating and dramatic and while that loss cannot be compensated for, their financial burden that their loved ones bear can be alleviated through a fatal accident claim and can provide some financial stability. At Baxter Mimnagh Solicitors we take great care to ensure that thoughtful and clear advice is given to those left behind.
The relevant legislation dealing with fatal claims is Part 4 of the Civil Liability Act 1961 Claims can be brought by dependent persons of the deceased and include :-
- Partner/Former Partner
The action must be brought by the personal representative of the deceased on behalf of all dependents. If a legal personal representative does not do so or if a legal personal representative is not appointed then a dependent or dependents can be appointed.
There are a number of different types of damages that can be recovered in a fatal injuries claim.
Pecuniary loss and benefits that each dependent is expected to receive had the deceased not died as a result of the defendant’s wrongful conduct. An actuary will be employed to calculate the pecuniary loss amounts suffered as follows:
- Loss of services provided by the deceased person e.g. childcare, home repairs etc.
- Loss of financial dependency since the accident
- Loss of future dependency up to retirement age
- Loss of future financial dependency after retirement
- Accelerated value of deductible assets passing on death
These include funeral expenses including the cost of burial, cremation and the cost of a headstone. Other expenses include travelling expenses incurred by the dependent travelling to the funeral, cost of the acknowledgement cards, a wake, mourning clothes and legal representation at the inquest relating to the death.
The amount awarded to dependents of a deceased person for mental stress following a fatal accident is known as solatium. The maximum amount of such compensation for this aspect is €35,000. It is intended as an acknowledgement of grief rather than any attempt at compensating for it. In certain circumstances where dependent have suffered a recognized psychiatric illness, a dependent can bring a separate action for nervous shock/ psychiatric injury. Baxter Mimnagh Solicitors will fully advise in respect of such claims.
It is important that immediate steps are taken to investigate the cause of death, to include obtaining garda reports, reports from the Health Service Authority, coroner’s reports and engineers reports if necessary. Baxter Mimnagh Solicitors have successfully acted for dependents of deceased persons who lost their lives as a result of both road traffic accidents and workplace accidents, and we can take immediate steps to protect your interests by securing relevant evidence prior to its destruction. We can also assist and represent families at a loved ones inquest.
There is a limitation on the length of time a dependent has to bring a fatal injury compensation case. Proceedings cannot be brought after the expiration of two years either from the date of death of the deceased or the date of knowledge of the person for whose benefit the action is brought, whichever is the latest. Any claim taken outside of this would be statute barred which would mean that the dependents would not be able to pursue an action for compensation. The only exception to this rule is where a person is under a disability which includes where a person is under the age of 18 years.