Fatal Injuries

Fatal Road Accidents

Fatal Injuries actions are generally taken by the next of kin of the deceased for 2 reasons.

1. To establish liability so as to protect the good name of the deceased.

2. To provide for dependants such as a spouse or partner and children.

Characteristics of a Fatal Injury Case

i. The Inquest

In cases of fatal injury, there will always be an inquest. An inquest is a type of court inquiry presided over by the Coroner for the county or city where the death occurred. Usually the inquest will tale place within several months following the death though it may be delayed in cases where there is a criminal investigation or where complex medical or other technical opinion is required by the coroner.

You should have legal representation at an inquest . Cian O'Carroll has represented clients in some of the most complex inquests around Ireland over the last 10 years. We provide specialist representation through our advocate solicitors saving you the expense of barristers.

In most cases, our fees are treated as an expense arising from the death and are paid by the party responsible for the death following the successful conclusion of an applicaton to the Injuries Board or any civil proceedings that may follow.

ii. Other Investigations

In particular cases there may be other investigations into the death that you will require specialist legal assistance with. The most common will be the Health and Safety Authority and An Garda Siochana but if the death arose from a failure of medical care, there should be a investigation by the hospital or health care provider concerned, with the possiblilty of an investigation by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) and / or The Medical Council Fitness to Practice Committee.

In other circumstances, the death may be investigated by any company or business entity involved such as in a transportation related death where there may be multiple investigations by the Department of Transport, the Gardai and the transport company itself.

While you will not automatically have a voice in these investigations, strong and effective legal representation will be essential in ensuring the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones.

iii. Claim for Solatium

This is a sum capped by statute at €25,400 and is the maximum allowable for the suffering and distress caused to the family of the deceased. This sum is to be shared among them. Its derisory amount often causes insult to injury as it is seen as “the value of a life”.

iv. Claim for loss of dependency

This is where the deceased was contributing to the income of the household through direct income or benefit in kind such as work around the house.

Who may claim for loss of Dependancy?
The law provides that only a “Statutory Dependant” may be considered when calculating compensation in a fatal injuries action and this includes the following:

· Spouse;
· Parent;
· Grandparent;
· Stepparent;
· Child;
· Grandchild;
· Stepchild;
· Brother;
· Sister;
· Half brother/ sister of the deceased;
· 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.

v. Claim for Special Damages

'Special Damages' is the legal terms used to describe those damages that are quantifiable and are generally the out-of-pocket expenses arising from the death. Such special damages will usually comprise;

  • Funeral expenses,
  • Inquest expenses such as attendance costs and legal representation costs,
  • Memorial expenses such as works relating to the grave and headstone.
For more information, Contact Us.



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  • Friar Street, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland. 
  • Phone: 1-800 60-70-80 & 062 64455
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  • Email: cian@tipplaw.com


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