It is a tragic but a well-known fact that fatalities are often an inevitable outcome of accidents. Losing a loved one in such a way is highly traumatic, and there is little that can alleviate the pain. However, family members of the deceased should be made aware of their rights if their loved one’s death is a result of someone else’s wrongdoing.
In such cases, the relatives and the dependants of the deceased have the right to pursue a compensation claim.
Filing a fatal injury compensation claim
Within the first six months following the date of death, the legal representative of the deceased retains the right to pursue a damage claim. After the six-month period has expired, a compensation claim may be brought forth by the deceased’s dependants.
In a vast majority of cases, a fatal injury claim is pursued for two reasons:
- To protect the good name and reputation of the deceased
- To seek compensation for the dependants of the deceased
In both cases, only the deceased’s dependants can file a compensation claim against the culprit.
Persons eligible to pursue a compensation claim
In order to take legal action, the claimant must:
- Be related to the deceased
- Have depended on the deceased financially
- Have suffered financial loss or emotional distress due to the tragic course of events
The list of potential dependants of the deceased includes, and is in most cases limited to the following persons:
- Spouse or former spouse
- Cohabiting partner (under certain conditions)
Fatal injury compensation claims can be split into three parts – or ‘heads of damage’
Loss of dependency
Loss of dependency refers to the fact of losing financial support as a consequence of the deceased’s untimely death. It is calculated from the date of death, and it depends on several factors, including the deceased’s life expectancy.
Special damages cover funeral and other unexpected expenses. This includes the legal costs of attending an Inquest, which are also added as a part of the compensation claim.
Solatium is a required fixed payment that dependants may claim as compensation on account of the mental and emotional distress. It is capped at €35,000, and it is to be divided amongst the dependants of the deceased. This type of compensation claim, however, is not to be confused with the nervous shock claim.
Nervous shock claims
In addition to compensation claims, some family members may be in a position to file a nervous shock claim. Namely, if they have witnessed the accident or its immediate aftermath, they may require compensation on the account of post-traumatic stress.
Fatal injury cases are not only emotionally stressful but also legally complex. In an event of losing a loved one due to another person’s wrongdoing, dependants should seek expert legal advice.
Granted, there is no sum of money that would bring back the deceased or compensate for the hardship. However, in many cases, pursuing a fatal injury claim is the right course of action for a number of reasons.
Should you have any doubts or questions regarding fatal accidents and fatal injury claims, do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation.