Fatal Accident Claims * Compensation Explained
The loss of a loved one due to a fatal accident is difficult to put into words. In this event, although the loss cannot be compensated for, the financial burden that their dependants bear thereafter can be alleviated through the fatal accidents claims process.
When do Fatal Accident Claims * Arise and Who Makes the Claim?
Fatal accident claims (a.k.a. fatal injury actions) arise in situations where a person has died as a result of the wrongful acts of another person. It is the dependants of a deceased person that bring a fatal accident claim against that wrongdoer.
The relevant legislation (Part 4 of the Civil Liability Act, 1961) states that only one claim may be brought against the same person in respect of the death and it must be brought on behalf of all the deceased’s dependants.
What compensation is recoverable?
A dependant is only entitled to make a claim in a fatal accident claim if they have suffered financial loss or mental distress as a result of the death of a loved one.
The legislation permits a claim to be brought under three headings –
A person who was financially dependent on the deceased may suffer financial losses in the event of their death, for example, the surviving spouse and immediate family. The onus is on the person making the fatal accident claim to prove the financial loss that they and each dependant suffered. They do this by proving how much they would have received had the deceased lived, this may involve actuarial calculations.
Funeral expenses can include the usual costs of burial/cremation and a headstone. Other expenses that can be included are the costs of acknowledgment cards, travelling expenses etc.
The amount awarded to dependants of a deceased person for mental stress following a fatal accident is known as solatium. The maximum amount for this aspect of a fatal injury claim is €35,000. The solatium claimed is intended as an acknowledgment of grief rather than any attempt at compensation for it. To this figure would be added financial dependency loss into the future.
While this compensation may help relieve the financial burden in the short term, it will never replace a loved one. We understand that this is a very difficult time and are here to help you move through the fatal accident claim process with ease. Should you wish to discuss, do feel free to contact our office for further information.