If a person in Ireland is killed through negligence or the fault of somebody else, then his or her next of kin (dependants) will have a right to claim compensation for the tremendous loss suffered. Compensation will be payable for the emotional and psychological trauma as a consequence of the loss of a loved one along where appropriate compensation for loss of dependency where for example a next of kin is financially dependent on the deceased person.
Am I legally allowed to claim?
The law in Ireland states that the following people (known in law as ‘dependent’) are legally allowed to claim if they were financially dependent on their deceased loved one:
A ‘dependent’ or next of kin is defined as a spouse, civil partner, parent, grandparent, stepchild, child, grandchild, brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister of the deceased person. This also extends to any person who is not married to or a civil partner to the deceased but had been living with the deceased person for a period of not less than three years. In order to qualify as a dependent, the person must have suffered financial loss or mental distress as a result of the death of their loved one.
The law in Ireland provides a maximum compensation for mental distress to a limit of €35,000 and should this be awarded it is to be split amongst all the statutory dependents. In practice we generally see that most if not all statutory dependents waive their entitlement usually for the benefit of any surviving children or spouse of the deceased person. It is always open to any of the next of kin to bring separate shock induced psychiatric injury claims against the wrongdoer who is the person that negligently caused their loved one’s death. There is no limit on the amount of compensation that may be awarded in these types of legal proceedings.
I was financially dependent on my deceased loved one
Other types of compensation that may be claimed in a fatal injuries case are loss of dependency and funeral and other expenses. Out of pocket expenses may include a claim for loss of dependency and this can be claimed by any next of kin who was financially dependent on the deceased person for example the surviving spouse or civil partner. It is for the person bringing the claim to prove the financial loss and it will be necessary to show what could reasonably have been expected to be received from the deceased person had they lived. Financial loss may include loss of services for example where the deceased person carried out home repairs or decoration, childcare for example where the deceased person looked after the children in the family home on a full-time basis, financial contributions normally made by the deceased person to the next of kin and monetary loss in general for example the loss of salary of the deceased person. When calculating financial loss the Court will take into account the loss actually incurred from the date of death to the date of trial as well as future financial losses. The statute of limitations in a fatal injuries case is the same as in any other personal injury case which proceedings must be issued within two years from the date of death. If legal proceedings are not issued within these two years then it most likely will be statute barred.
It is important you seek advice as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. Should you require further information and to speak with one of our solicitors in relation to your loved one’s death please call 0818 888 555 or WhatsApp/call 087 398 7386 or complete our online enquiry form