Fatal Injury Claims

At Douglas Law Solicitors we understand how the unexpected death of a family member can have a devastating impact on the surviving members of the family. It is even more difficult when their death was caused as a result of the negligence of someone else whether that be a road traffic, workplace or medical accident.


What is a Fatal Injury Claim?

When a person’s death is caused by the negligence of someone else, the family of the deceased person can bring a fatal injury claim against the person or company/institution whose actions or inactions resulted in the fatality.


Who can bring a Fatal Injury 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 deceased person’s 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.


Who is a “statutory dependent”?

Under the legislation, a Dependent (in a fatal injury claim) 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”.


Is there a time limit to bring a Fatal Injury Claim?

A claim for fatal injuries must be brought within a two-year period. 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 later.


What is included in a Fatal Injury 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.

Other types of claim that can be brought as part of the overall fatal injury claim depending on the deceased person’s circumstances. For example a surviving spouse and infant children would be at a loss of the deceased’s earnings and/or pension and they could be at a loss of services provided by the deceased e.g. 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. An actuary will calculate these financial losses.

It may also be possible to take a separate claim for personal injuries for a Dependent who has suffered nervous shock due to the negligent nature of the death.


What do I do now?

Unfortunately, the time allowed by the law to bring a claim is relatively short at only two years, particularly when you are dealing with the grief of an unexpected fatality. It is really important to instruct an experienced personal injury solicitor as soon as possible who will take all necessary steps to protect you & your family’s interests.


At Douglas Law Solicitors we have a dedicated team of experienced personal injury solicitors who are available to answer your questions and provide advice about a potential fatal injury claim. You can email our specialist personal injury solicitors Gráinne O’Donovan on grainne@douglaslawsolicitors.ie or Aoife McCarthy on aoife@douglaslawsolicitors.ie to arrange a consultation or contact us by telephone on 021 4897254.  We also offer video consultations via Skype or Zoom.


*In contentious business a solicitor may not charge fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award of settlement.

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