What is a Fatal Injury Claim?
If the death of a person was caused by the negligence of someone else, the family of the deceased (the dependents) will be able to bring a fatal injury claim against the person or company/institution whose actions/inactions resulted in the fatality.
Who can take the claim?
The Personal Representative of the deceased person can bring the fatal injury claim within six months of the death. After that initial six month period has elapsed any one of the statutory dependents can bring the claim. There can only be one fatal injury claim and this claim is brought on behalf of all statutory dependents. Under the legislation, a dependent is defined as a “spouse, parent, grandparent, step-parent, child, grandchild, step-child, sister, brother, half-sister or half-brother” of the deceased. A dependent is also “a person who is not married to the deceased but, who until the date of the deceased’s death, had been living with the deceased as husband or wife for a continuous period of not less than three years”.
What is the time limit?
There is a two year statute of limitation period within which to bring a claim for fatal injuries. The two year period commences either at the date of death or the date of knowledge of the negligence which caused the death whichever is the latest.
What is included in the claim?
There is a cap on the amount of compensation that dependents can receive for “mental distress” arising from the death of the deceased. This cap is currently €35,000.00 regardless of the number of relevant dependents.
In order to assess the other types of claims that can be brought as part of the overall fatal injury claim regard must be had to the financial benefits each dependent would have expected to receive from the deceased had he or she not died as a result of the Defendant’s negligence. For example the surviving spouse and infant children would have expected the financial benefit of such matters as the deceased’s earnings and/or pension and they could be at a loss of services provided by the deceased such as the deceased’s contribution to the running of the family home, garden maintenance, child care, painting and decorating the family home, preparation of family meals, etc. The financial loss of these services are calculated by an actuary.
What do I do now?
At Douglas Law Solicitors we understand how the unexpected loss of a family member can have a devastating impact on the surviving members of the family. It is all the more difficult in circumstances when the death was caused as a result of the negligence of someone else whether that be a road traffic, workplace or medical accident.
Unfortunately, the time allowed by law to take legal action and bring a claim is relatively short, particularly so when an unexpected fatality has occurred. It is therefore important to take steps as soon as possible to protect your interests and to ensure the evidence needed to prove the fatal injury claim in court is secured.
At Douglas Law Solicitors we will look after all of the legal requirements for you and take all necessary steps to protect your interests. We will obtain the necessary expert evidence, deal with and obtain reports from the relevant authorities to include the Gardai, HSE, Health & Safety Authority and the Coroner. If it arises we will attend at the Coroner’s Court and represent your family’s interests at the hearing of any Inquest.
For more information please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 021 489 7256.
*In contentious business a solicitor may not charge fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award of settlement.