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Civil Liability in Ireland for Death

Occasionally, a person suffers personal injury of such degree that they die of the injuries. If the injury is inflicted in circumstances where civil liability would lie in favour of the injured person, that is, where some person is at fault for the injuries, the injured person’s right of action for compensation for pain and suffering ceases with the death of the injured person.

However, in those circumstances, under the Civil Liability Act 1961, a right of action continues, on the death of the injured person, in favour of the dependents of the injured/deceased person.

The method for the assessment of damages will differ from those applicable to a claim for personal injuries.

Instead, damages are mostly confined to the award of financial loss to the dependents of the deceased person, arising from the death. Loss arising from the absence of income would make up, by and large the greater share of this loss. Funeral and travel expenses are recoverable.

There is also a modest award, with an upper limit of €25,394, for mental distress.

These actions are commonly called “fatal injuriesâ€? actions.

The variation frequently seen in the sums awarded reflect, usually, the differing earning capacities of the deceased and the degree of dependence of the claimants on the deceased. A dead stockbroker will usually have been earning more than a deceased garbage collector. A young, highly paid stockbroker will possibly leave dependents behind whose loss will be greater because of the high earnings of the deceased and the degree of dependency on the deceased.