When you lose a loved one to a premature or accidental death, it is a terrible shock and creates great sadness. When that death is due to the negligence of another person, the sensation of grief for your loss can be embittered with confusion and anger. These emotions may be compounded by concerns over being able to cope financially and, although no amount of money can ever compensate for the loss of a loved one, making a wrongful death claim for compensation could be the only way in which you are able to guarantee your family´s financial security.
This is especially true when the deceased was the main income provider for your family, but there are also consequences if the wrongful death happened to a mother with young children or an adult responsible for supporting aging parents. Although making a wrongful death claim for compensation may be furthest from your mind at the time of your loss, the financial consequences of losing an income provider or carer for members of your family may make it inevitable.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death can be due to a number of reasons. In 2009, 239 road users died in road traffic accidents, 43 people lost their lives in work-related accidents and there are no statistics to reveal how many people suffered a premature death due to previous injuries they had sustained or work-related diseases that developed over a period of time. With almost 90% of road traffic accidents due to driver error, and nearly all the work-related deaths due to a lack of safety equipment being used, most of these fatalities are examples of a wrongful death.
No statistics are ever released to reveal the number of wrongful deaths which are caused by medical negligence* in Ireland. Whereas wrongful deaths on the operating table due to surgical error are believed to be rare, the misdiagnosis of fatal diseases such as cancer can lead to a wrongful death claim for compensation. Ailments which are commonly misdiagnosed amongst children in the accident and emergency departments of hospitals include the potentially fatal diseases appendicitis and meningitis. A report published in the States disclosed that more than a third of birth injury lawsuits are due to death of the infant or mother caused by medical negligence*.
Making a Wrongful Death Claim for Compensation
There are many obstacles to be overcome when making a wrongful death claim for compensation – not least your own feelings of grief as you compile the documents which are required to support your application. With the exception of wrongful death claims which are due to medical negligence*, applications for compensation have to be made to the Injuries Board Ireland. Where you have lost a loved one, the Injuries Board Ireland do not allow you to complete the application online – instead everything has to be done by mail. It is frequently in your best interests to allow an experienced personal injury* claims solicitor to submit the application on your behalf. The application form will needed to be completed comprehensively if you are to receive a fair and adequate assessment of your wrongful death claim.
Circumstances that will cause the Injuries Board Ireland to reject your wrongful death claim for compensation include where the negligent party denies liability for the accident which lead to the death of your loved one or claims that they contributed to their death by their own lack of care. These situations may be too painful for you to bear, and the Injuries Board Ireland will issue you with an authorisation to pursue your wrongful death claim through the courts. For this part of the process, you will most definitely require a solicitor.
Solicitors are also necessary in wrongful death claims which involve medical negligence*. A solicitor will have to prove that the wrongful death was due to the lack of care by a medical practitioner, and that the actions which were responsible for the wrongful death – or lack of action – were avoidable. He will use the assistance of a medical expert to compile a case with sufficient strength that it rarely goes to court. Instead the medical insurance company with whom the medical practitioner has a medical insurance policy or the Health and Safety Executive will offer to make an out of court settlement to prevent the bad publicity that is attached to a wrongful death claim for compensation.
Further Information about a Wrongful Death Claim for Compensation
If you have recently lost a loved one in an accident which you believe was due to somebody else´s negligence and would like to find out more about making a wrongful death claim for compensation, you are invited to call our free advice service. This service enables you to discuss a wrongful death claim for compensation with an experienced solicitor, and receive practical and helpful advice about the options available to you. Our solicitors are very understanding of how you may be feeling after your recent loss, and there is no obligation on you to pursue a wrongful death claim for compensation once you have spoken with us.
Our helpline is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and all calls to our free advice service are treated with the utmost confidentiality. If you prefer, you can leave your contact details in our call-back box at the foot of the page – tell us when would be a suitable time for us to call – and one of our team will get back in touch with you. We are sorry for your loss and we will do everything in our powers to ease the financial trauma you may now be experiencing.