The maximum amount of damages for mental distress that can be awarded to the dependants of a deceased person in wrongful death cases was increased from €25,394.76 to €35,000 with effect from 11th January, 2014. This is a total sum to be divided between all dependents of a deceased individual. It applies only to deaths on or after 11th January 2014. It will not affect either existing cases or cases in which a death occurred prior to 11th January 2014 but proceedings have not yet issued; in those cases the old limit of €25,394.76 will continue to apply.
Minister Shatter has been reported as stating that the intention of the payment is to recognise the significant loss that a family suffers on the death of a loved one, rather than compensation for that loss.
This is the first increase in the award since it was last modified in 1996 when it was increased to £20,000 (€25,394.76). The payment has been increased to restore the value of the payment, taking into account increases in the cost of living in the intervening period.
If you require further information please contact Tríona Walsh, Solicitor, Defence Litigation Unit.