A fatal traffic accident is a terrible experience for a family to endure, and over the past decade an average of 350 families have received the tragic news that their loved ones have been killed in a fatal traffic accident every year.
In a number of instances, family members have been present in the vehicle when the accident has occurred, and witnessed the death of a loved one when they have been injured themselves – adding immense psychological trauma to the physical pain they are already suffering.
Although family members and dependants may be able to claim compensation when a loved one has been involved in a fatal traffic accident, it can never bring back a mother, father, son or daughter.
Instead, it can only replace part of what the deceased brought to the family in terms of any financial security and damages for the loss.
Is there a Claim for Fatal Traffic Accident Compensation?
Although making a claim for compensation may not be at the forefront on one´s mind after a recent loss, it has to be established whether there is indeed a claim for fatal traffic accident compensation.
A claim for fatal traffic accident compensation can only be brought if the person who has died would have been able to make a claim had they not died.
Only where there is evidence of negligence by another party could the deceased be entitled to make a claim for compensation. They would have had to have shown that someone else (another road user, the body responsible for maintaining the roads, the garage which supplied or last serviced their vehicle etc.) was wholly or partly responsible for their death.
Similarly, any defence which could have been used against the deceased – had they been alive – can be used against somebody making a claim for compensation following a fatal traffic accident.
If the deceased was partly responsible for the fatal traffic accident, or contributed in some way to their death (for example, by not wearing a seat belt), then the compensation which would have been awarded will be reduced by the same amount as it would have been had the deceased not died.
If you would like to find out more about how a specialised personal injury claims solicitor can be of assistance after a loved one has been involved in a fatal traffic accident, please call our free advice service on 1-800 989 999. You will speak with an experienced solicitor, discuss the circumstances surrounding your loved ones fatal accident and establish whether you have a claim. There is absolutely no obligation for using this service which operates 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
You can also request a solicitor calls you back by filling in the form on the left.
How is Liability for a Fatal Traffic Accident Determined?
In the event of a fatal traffic accident, the Gardai will attend the scene and conduct their own investigation into the accident and how it was caused. They will use photography, the statements of other drivers and witnesses who saw the accident and roadside cameras to ascertain who was liable for the fatal traffic accident.
In the event that the driver who was responsible for causing the fatal traffic accident has left the scene (in the case of a hit and run), the Gardai will be able to determine their whereabouts and, if they left because they were driving without insurance, provisions are made by the Motor Insurance Board of Ireland to compensate the families of those killed in a fatal car accident.
Should the Gardai decide that there was an element of contributory negligence in the circumstances surrounding the fatal traffic accident, they will make it known by advising both the deceased´s family and the insurance company representing the partly liable driver.
In these instances, claims for fatal traffic accident compensation will not be processed by the Injuries Board Ireland, and compensation will have to be sought through the court system. Irrespective of how a case is being brought, handling matters such as compensation after a fatal traffic accident is best left to a specialised personal injury claims solicitor – especial lyat a time when a family may be shattered in their grief.
Claiming Compensation after a Fatal Traffic Accident
Compensation after a fatal traffic accident can be claimed by immediate relatives and dependants of the deceased. Applications for compensation – initially even those in which contributory negligence may be a factor – are submitted to the Injuries Board Ireland for them to either process or decline.
The Injuries Board application form only consists of four pages, and is totally inadequate for a claimant to explain the nature of the fatal traffic accident and the impact the loss of a loved one has made on their lives. It is far better to include an accompanying letter written by a solicitor with the application form in order to ensure that all the facts relating to your financial loss are comprehensively explained.
Should the Injuries Board Ireland proceed with the application, an assessment of the compensation to be awarded is calculated on the regulations within the Civil Liberty Act, plus special damages to account for expenses (such as funeral costs) which have been incurred and the future loss of income that would have been expected. Where they decline to process the application due to contributory negligence or the denial of the negligent party that they were actually to blame for the fatal traffic accident, the Injuries Board Ireland will issue an authorisation for the claim to be pursued through the court system.
A specialised personal injury claims solicitor should represent you in any court action that is required after a fatal traffic accident.
Although the Gardai´s report will confirm who is liable for the fatal traffic accident and to what extent, a specialised solicitor will be more experienced with presenting cases of this nature on your behalf to obtain a fair award of compensation. They will also be more familiar with the antics of insurance companies, who attempt to hijack proceedings with unethical approaches to the grieving family, and can negotiate an early settlement in certain circumstances.
If you would like to discuss your personal circumstances following a fatal traffic accident in which you have lost a loved one, you are invited to call our free advice line. You will be able to speak, free of charge, with an experienced solicitor who can offer impartial and practical advice in total confidence and without any obligation from you to proceed with a claim for fatal traffic accident compensation. The telephone number to call is 1-800 989 999, and our helpline is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
If you would rather that we call you, please complete your details in the call-back form on the left (above) – indicating when it may be a suitable time for us to call – and one of our considerate team members will be in touch.