Bereavement is always difficult to deal with, but if the circumstances of death are complicated, it can be even more challenging. Dealing with the emotional trauma of bereavement, as well as the many practical losses that may follow from the death of someone you love, can be incredibly stressful and often leads to significant problems.

Many people do not know that dependents of the bereaved may be entitled to bring a case for their loss where negligence has occurred. A dependent may be compensated for loss of income or services provided by the deceased, for example, childcare or driving, as these losses will have a significant financial impact on their life.


If someone you love has died as a result of personal injury or medical negligence, including accidents at work or road traffic accidents, you may be in a position to investigate a claim of negligence. A claim can be made by any of the following dependents:

  1. The spouse of the deceased
  2. Co-habiting partner of 3 years or more
  3. Children or stepchildren of the deceased
  4. Grandchildren
  5. Parents of the deceased
  6. Grandparents
  7. Siblings or half siblings

However, there can only be one fatal injury case per fatality, so all statutory dependents must be named within this case.


If an unexpected death, or a death where blame may be apportioned, has occurred, there will usually be an inquest to establish cause of death, amongst other particulars. This may involve medical or expert witnesses, statements from witnesses or others involved, post mortem reports and medical records if necessary. An inquest does not make decisions regarding liability for death, but often information will be revealed during an inquest may be pertinent to your case..

What does the court consider in such cases?

When a fatal injuries case is considered, the outcome of the case is related to the following three categories.

  1. Special damages. This category relates to expenses that have arisen as a direct result of the death, such as funeral expenses, inquest expenses and travel.
  2. Emotional distress. This will usually be divided between all statutory dependents.
  3. Loss of dependency. This relates to the actual financial cost of the loss to the dependents in the case. Individual circumstances, including services performed by the deceased such as childcare and driving, will be taken into consideration when a case is made, and this element of damages will include loss of earnings where these impact on the dependents. Your solicitor will work with you to ensure that the impact of losing the deceased is considered with regard to every aspect of your life.


How to Proceed with your case

If you feel that you may be entitled to bring a case as a result of a fatal injury to a loved one, it is important to consult with a solicitor experienced in this area of law.

At S.T. O’Sullivan & Co Solicitors, we have 35 year’s experience in dealing with claims of this type and are sensitive to the burden that such litigation places on the claimant. This is why we take the time to understand the impact such bereavements have on our clients everyday lives, wellbeing and any practical losses they may be carrying.


S.T. O’Sullivan & Co Solicitors, 6, Bindon Street, Ennis, Co.Clare.

Telephone: 065 – 6820620. Email: info@stosullivan.ie

We guarantee to return calls within one business day.