If your loved one is in a fatal accident due to the wrong of another party, then you have redress as his next of kin. When the unthinkable happens and your partner or loved one is killed as a result of an accident, whether a road traffic accident or accident at work or otherwise through the fault of another you should protect your entitlements and that of your family and visit your solicitor.
Fatal injuries is governed by Part IV of the Civil Liability Act 1961. Essentially, the Act provides that a “dependent” who has suffered injury or mental distress as a result of the death can bring a claim for damages where the death was caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another.
The damages payable in fatal injury claims are normally divided into two broad categories. The first category is compensation for mental distress, often called “tear money” and is capped currently by legislation at €35,000.00 – an almost insulting limit.
The second and more significant category in fatal injury claims is compensation for “loss of dependency” which is in turn divided into two subcategories of loss, namely (a) loss of financial dependency and (b) loss of services. In order to make up for the disgraceful limit on compensation for mental distress, the Courts normally award reasonable amounts under these categories.
In order to value the loss of financial dependency, the Court will look at the income that the deceased loved one contributed to the households and the dependants and the resulting loss for the remainder of his/her life is calculated based on that.
In order to value the loss of services, the services provided by the deceased to the household or his dependants prior to his death are valued – services such as cooking, gardening, repairs, maintenance etc. This is then multiplied based on the number of years that it would be expected that these services would be provided for.
The next question is who is a “dependent”. This is broadly defined and includes a spouse, former spouse, civil partner, former civil partner, co-habitant within the meaning of the Civil Partnership Act, parent, grandparent, step-parent, child (including adopted children), step-child, grandchild, brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister of the deceased.
There is also in some cases an additional and separate claim for psychological injury and this will be covered in a separate article.
The above is only a brief synopsis of the nature of fatal injury claims. If a fatal injury has occurred in your family, then I would recommend that you contact a solicitor for advice.