A question which often arises when somebody has died as a result of injury caused either by an accident or medical procedure is who can take a case.
The Civil Liability Act 1961 governs claims that can be made where a person has died as a result of the wrongful or negligent act of another person or an institution such as a Hospital.
The Dependants of the deceased person can make a claim for compensation due to the wrongful death. Dependants include (among others): Spouse/ Divorced Spouse/ Children/ Step Children/ Step Parents/ Parents/ Grandparents/ Grandchildren/ Brothers/ Sisters/ Half Brother/ Half Sister and Civil Partners can also be included for a claim for compensation. Also, the definition of Dependant now encompasses Cohabitees if you have been living with the deceased person as husband or wife for a continuous period of not less than three years or, in the case where you have a child together, one year.
In practice usually the Spouse or Cohabitee, Parent or immediate Next of Kin of the deceased person would bring the action on their own behalf and on the behalf of all the other Dependants.
The Irish State has limited the amount that can be received by way of compensation for mental distress, upset, pain and suffering. This is currently set €35,000.00 which is to be divided between all of the Dependants who have suffered mental distress, upset, pain and suffering (although a former Spouse who is divorced from the deceased is not included for compensation for mental distress).
There is also a claim for compensation for any financial loss suffered by the Dependants as a result of the death. The usual categories of financial loss would be funeral expenses, probate expenses, loss of earnings, loss of pension and loss of services to the home such as childcare, DIY and home repairs or any other benefit that the deceased provided that can be measured in money.
Furthermore if a Dependant has suffered nervous shock or an abnormal grief reaction due to the negligent nature of the death any of the Dependants may be in a position to take a separate personal injuries action for their own injuries.
It is important to note that any legal action must be started within two years of the date of death.
If you have any queries please contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at 021 – 4275673 or [email protected].
* In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or any award or settlement.