Types of fatal medical negligence actions:
Fatal medical negligence actions can arise due to many reasons such as:
- A hospital-acquired infection.
- A misdiagnosis.
- A delayed diagnosis.
- An adverse reaction to the medication.
- The death of a mother during childbirth.
- An error during surgery.
How we can help:
With a vast range of experience in medical negligence actions, we can assist you in finding the answers to your unanswered questions if your loved one has passed away either during their stay in hospital or immediately afterwards. We can review the medical records of your loved one and investigate the circumstances surrounding their death. We would then be in a position to advise you whether you have a statable claim for compensation on behalf of your loved one’s estate.
How to make a claim:
A fatal injury action is pursued through the courts. It must be proven by way of an expert opinion that the treatment afforded to your loved one fell below an acceptable standard. If our chosen expert concludes that the standard of care was negligent then court proceedings are issued and served on the Defendant being the healthcare provider.
The Personal Representative of the deceased or the person entitled to be the Personal Representative of the deceased can bring the action on behalf of all of the dependants of the deceased. If however, the personal representative does not issue proceedings within 6 months from the date of death then in those circumstances any one of the defendants are entitled to bring the action.
One only set of proceedings can be issued, and these proceedings are brought on behalf of all of the dependants.
As the fatal injury claim arises as a result of medical negligence the claim does not come within the remit of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board and therefore, proceedings are issued in the court office initially.
What level of compensation:
Compensation in a fatal injury claim is broken down into three subheadings:
The Plaintiff can claim reasonable compensation on behalf of the dependants for mental distress suffered by them as a result of the death of their loved one. There is a collective limit on the damages under this heading to the sum of €30,000. This is a collective limit and applies regardless of the number of dependants.
- Funeral and other expenses:
Recoverable funeral expenses include the usual costs associates with burial or cremation, the cost of the wake/religious service, the undertaker expenses, the headstone, travelling expenses incurred by the dependants in attending the funeral, the cost of memorial cards, the cost of mourning clothes. If an inquest is required into the death of the deceased the legal costs involved in the representation at such an inquest may also be claimed.
Pecuniary loss refers to the contributions that the deceased would have made to the dependants had they survived. For example, deceased income into the household, the loss of services by a mother or father to their children, the loss of services to the household such as painting, decorating, maintenance, gardening, cooking, cleaning.
Pecuniary losses can be calculated up to the date of the proceedings and also can take account of future pecuniary losses.
- Nervous Shock/Mental Distress
A claim for a nervous shock for some or all of the dependants can arise in limited circumstances. Nervous shock is the development of a recognised psychiatric illness which is caused by either witnessing a negligent action or the results of negligent action, of another. The psychiatric illness must be diagnosed and must be something more than the normal grief and sorrow from losing a loved one.
How long does it take:
The time limit or the statute of limitations for bringing a fatal injury action is 2 years from:
- Date of death.
- Date of knowledge that medical negligence resulted in death.
Thereafter, depending on the complexity of the case, and the medical evidence involved it can take on average 2/3 years to conclude the case through the courts.