Fatal Accident Claims in Northern Ireland

What is a fatal accident claim?

Fatal accident claims arise when someone loses their life because of the negligence or wrongful act of another person or body.

What circumstances could lead to a fatal accident claim?

There are many different circumstances that can lead to fatal accident claims, and the specific details of each case will vary depending on the individual circumstances involved. Some common examples of circumstances that can lead to fatal accident claims include:

  • Car accidents: Car accidents are a leading cause of fatal accidents. Factors that can contribute to car accidents include speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, and poor weather or road conditions.
  • Workplace accidents: Workplace accidents can occur in a wide range of industries and settings. Examples of workplace accidents that can be fatal include falls from heights, exposure to toxic chemicals or materials such as asbestos, and accidents involving heavy machinery.
  • Clinical negligence: Clinical negligence can occur when a healthcare provider fails to provide appropriate care to a patient. This can lead to serious injuries or death in some cases.
  • Defective products: Defective products can pose a serious risk to consumers. Examples of defective products that can lead to fatal accidents include faulty airbags in cars, defective medical devices, and dangerous household appliances.
  • Accidents on public property: Accidents that occur on public property, such as slip and fall accidents, can sometimes result in fatal injuries.

Who can bring a claim for damages when a person is fatally injured in an accident?

This is determined by the provisions in the Fatal Accidents Northern Ireland Order 1977. Under the Fatal Accidents (Northern Ireland) Order 1977, the following people are entitled to bring a claim for compensation on behalf of the deceased:

  • The spouse or former spouse of the deceased.
  • The civil partner or former civil partner of the deceased.
  • A person who was living with the deceased as husband or wife for at least two years before the date of death.
  • A parent of the deceased.
  • A child of the deceased.
  • Any person who was treated by the deceased as a child of his or her family.
  • A person who is the personal representative of the deceased's estate.

What is the time limit for a claim?

Under the Fatal Accidents (Northern Ireland) Order 1977, a claim for compensation must be brought within three years of the date of the deceased's death. This period can be extended:

  • If you were a child under 18 at the time of the accident, in which case you must claim before your 21st birthday.
  • You lacked the mental capacity to claim in which case there are no time limits.
  • It was not known that negligence resulted in the deceased’s death within the three-year time limit, in which you can claim within three years of becoming aware of the negligence.

What damages can be claimed in a fatal accident claim?

If you are eligible to bring a claim under the Fatal Accidents (Northern Ireland) Order 1977, you may be able to claim compensation for the following:

  • Bereavement damages: This is a fixed sum of money that is intended to compensate the deceased's spouse or parents of a deceased child for the grief and sorrow caused by the death. The current amount of bereavement damages in Northern Ireland is £17200.
  • Funeral expenses: You may be able to claim for reasonable expenses incurred in connection with the deceased's funeral, such as the cost of the coffin, burial or cremation fees, and flowers.
  • Loss of financial dependency: If the deceased was the main earner in your household, you may be able to claim for loss of financial dependency. This will take into account the deceased's income, benefits, and any pension entitlements, as well as the costs of running the household.
  • Loss of services: You may be able to claim for the loss of services provided by the deceased, such as childcare or household chores.
  • Pain and suffering: If the deceased suffered pain and suffering before they died, you may be able to claim for this.

Will an inquest be held?

An inquest is a legal process that is conducted by a coroner to establish the cause of a person's death. In Northern Ireland, an inquest must be held if the death was sudden, violent, or unexplained. Many fatal accident claims do involve inquests and this can be an important part of the process. The inquest may provide important evidence that can be used to support the claim, such as witness statements or medical reports. The outcome of the inquest may also help to establish liability for the death of a loved one.

It is important to note that the inquest process is separate from the compensation process, and a successful claim for compensation is not dependent on the outcome of the inquest. However, the evidence gathered during the inquest can be very helpful in establishing liability and proving the case for compensation.

What should I do if I have a fatal accident claim?

You should contact a solicitor who can advise you of your rights and who has experience in handling and litigating fatal accident claims. Once instructed, your solicitor will report the death to all the relevant authorities and begin to gather all the evidence necessary to bring a successful personal injury claim. They will also help you navigate what can be a complicated legal process. You should act as quickly as you can as cases can take some years to litigate to a successful conclusion.

How can Kearney Law help?

We appreciate that no amount of money can go anywhere near putting you and your family back to the position you would have been in prior to the fatal accident. What we can do is provide as much financial and other assistance as is possible to alleviate the burden of your loss. We will do everything in our power to ensure that you and your family are compensated fully and are provided for now and into the future. We have an expert team ready to deal with your claim and we will ensure you recover compensation for your loss, swiftly and professionally.

We only do personal injury law and are experts at it.

For further assistance please ring us at 02890 912 938 or email us on [email protected] or fill in our contact form

The content of this blog is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice. No solicitor/client relationship or duty of care or liability of any nature shall exist or arise between the Kearney Law Group and you and we refer you to our disclaimer on our website.

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Kearney Law Group specialises in legal services relating to Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence. We are committed to achieving the best results for our clients.

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