Fatal Accidents

Unfortunately, some accidents result in death. In these cases, personal injury claims are brought to us by relatives. When families approach us, they are often deeply traumatised, and we handle these cases with the utmost care and delicacy. We aim to help them reach a settlement that acknowledges the loss they have experienced and brings them some peace of mind.

Fatal accidents often lead to disastrous financial consequences for families. In the case of an injury, loss of earnings is temporary, but when the main breadwinner in a family dies, families may lose all of their income. We look for settlements that will help them return to a firmer financial footing.

Filing a Fatal Accident Claim

It is necessary to inform your lawyer as soon as possible after the fatal accident takes place. Section 8 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act, 2004, requires that a letter of claim be sent to the wrongdoer before the expiration of two months from the date of accrual of the cause of action, ie the accident, or as soon as practical thereafter.

When our clients come to us for their initial fatal accident appointment, we understand that the family is in mourning and the last thing they want to do is address a claim for a fatal injury. However such a claim can alleviate the financial hardship that may result from the death of a family member we ask them when, where and how the accident happened. We will also gather the extra documentation we will need to back up their claim if applicable. These include

  • Garda statements ascertaining the cause of the accident.
  • Medical reports detailing the cause of death.

We will then assess all available material in the case and based on our expertise in fatal accident claims we can then give an honest and accurate opinion to our clients about their chances of success.

We will always advise our clients about any possible exposure to legal costs in a fatal accident claim. If a plaintiff loses his or her case, they will usually be liable for legal costs, which can be quite considerable. We give our clients the power to decide whether taking legal action is worthwhile.

Your Fatal Accident Consultation will include:

  • An assessment of whether you have a valid claim
  • A realistic assessment of the chances of success of your fatal accident claim
  • Provision of all the information you will need to make an informed decision on whether to pursue the claim.

The Legal Process

If it is clear who is responsible for the accident, we will write to the defendant’s insurance company. Usually this leads to an admission of total responsibility and the matter does not go any further. We agree settlement at this stage. If the case is not resolved at this stage, the case goes to the Injuries Board, the body responsible for assessing personal injury and fatal accident claims in Ireland. The Injuries Board will assess the case and, subject to the other party agreeing that liability is not disputed, it will issue a written assessment. It is then open to either party to accept or reject the assessment.

If our client or the other party decides not to accept this settlement, we will issue court proceedings. We will arrange a settlement meeting with the representatives for the defendant. We will have filed all relevant documentation with them in the case, known as updated particulars. During the meeting, we will usually be offered a settlement figure. We will then consult with our client and advise them on the best course of action to take. This may result in a final settlement at this point or if the settlement offer is inadequate the case may go to a full hearing before the court.

If the case goes to court the Judge will hear all the facts presented by us and by the representative for the defendant and will decide on liability. The Judge, assuming the plaintiff succeeds on liability, will consider all the medical evidence regarding the plaintiff’s injuries and will make an award to the plaintiff. The plaintiff will also be awarded his or her legal costs.

When dealing with Michael A O’Brien & Co Solicitors you can rest assured that you are dealing with a firm of solicitors who will:

  • Empower you with the information required to make a decision as to whether to proceed with a fatal accident claim
  • Guide you through the legal process in plain and simple English
  • Ensure that you will get the right settlement to compensate you for your accident
  • Reassure you that you are dealing with a family run practice with a depth of experience in fatal accident claims across Tipperary, Waterford and Kilkenny.

There are three main areas where compensation can be received in the event of a fatal injury claim. These are:

  • Special damages arising from the death, e.g. Funeral expenses
  • Loss of dependency
  • Emotional Distress.

If you have you lost a loved one as a result of an accident and would like to book a consultation please contact us today.