1. Financial loss or loss of financial dependency
2. Funeral and inquest expenses
3. Mental distress
Only one claim may be brought on behalf of all dependants.
Usually, if a spouse survives the deceased that spouse is the most suitable person to take the claim on behalf of all dependants.
The word “dependants” is defined in legislation as follows:
“a spouse, [civil partner within the meaning of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010] , parent, grandparent, step-parent, child, grandchild, step-child, brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister of the deceased”
The definition in the statute covers a range of persons. Given that there can be only one claim it is necessary to ensure that each of the statutory dependants who wishes to be involved in the claim is given that opportunity.
1. Financial Loss/Loss of Financial Dependency
Financial loss can include both actual and expected financial loss and also covers losses that are not necessarily financial in nature but are capable of being measured in monetary terms, such as services that the deceased provided to dependants or work he or she carried out for them, e.g. home repairs, provision of transport services, child care. farm work, and so on.
In many cases, the majority of the damages which dependants seek will come under this heading.
To support the claim, it is usually necessary to instruct an actuary to advise and prepare a report detailing financial losses into the future.
Funeral and Inquest Expenses
This cap applies regardless of the number of statutory dependants and, as such, the figure of up to €35,000 must be shared between all dependants. It is for the court to determine how the award should be apportioned as it is not necessarily divided equally between the dependants.
It is often the case that statutory dependants of the deceased who were not financially dependent on him or her, such as brothers and sisters, will waive their right to be included in the fatal injury action.
There is a two year time limit from the date of death for bringing an action in respect of the accident and, given potential delays in obtaining all of the necessary information and assembling documentation, it is important to make progress as soon as possible to make sure the claim is made on time.
Alison Enright BL