3 1956

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Number 3 of 1956.


FATAL INJURIES ACT, 1956.


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Section

1.

Commencement.

2.

Definitions.

3.

Action where death caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default.

4.

Damages.

5.

Sums not to be taken into account in assessing damages.

6.

Survival of cause of action on death.

7.

Death caused by negligent driving of State-owned vehicle.

8.

Adaptation of references to repealed Acts.

9.

Repeals.

10.

Short title.

SCHEDULE.

Enactments Repealed.


Act Referred to

Adoption Act, 1952

No. 25 of 1952

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Number 3 of 1956.


FATAL INJURIES ACT, 1956.


AN ACT TO MAKE BETTER PROVISION FOR COMPENSATING MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY OF ANY PERSON KILLED BY THE WRONGFUL ACT OR DEFAULT OF ANOTHER. [14th February, 1956.]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:—

Commencement.

1. —(1) This Act shall come into operation on the first day of April, 1956.

(2) This Act shall not apply in relation to the death of any person before the commencement of this Act.

Definitions.

2. —(1) In this Act—

dependant”, in relation to a person whose death is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default, means any member of the family of the deceased who suffers loss;

member of the family” means wife, husband, father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, stepfather, stepmother, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister;

wrongful act, neglect, or default” includes a crime.

(2) In deducing any relationship for the purposes of this Act,—

(a) a person adopted under the Adoption Act, 1952 (No. 25 of 1952),

shall be considered the legitimate offspring of the adopter or adopters;

(b) subject to paragraph (a), an illegitimate person shall be considered the legitimate offspring of his mother and reputed father;

(c) a person in loco parentis to another shall be considered the parent of that other.

Action where death caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default.

3. —(1) Where the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another such as would have entitled the party injured, but for his death, to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, the person who would have been so liable shall be liable to an action for damages for the benefit of the dependants of the deceased.

(2) Only one action may be brought in respect of the death.

(3) The action may be brought by the personal representative of the deceased or if, at the expiration of six months from the death, there is no personal representative or no action has been brought by the personal representative, by all or any of the dependants.

(4) The action, by whomsoever brought, shall be for the benefit of all the dependants.

(5) The plaintiff shall furnish the defendant with particulars of the person or persons for whom and on whose behalf the action is brought and of the nature of the claim in respect of which damages are sought to be recovered.

(6) The action shall be commenced within three years after the death.

Damages.

4. —(1) The damages under section 3 shall be the total of such amounts as the jury or the judge, as the case may be, may think proportioned to the injury resulting from the death to each of the dependants, respectively, for whom or on whose behalf the action is brought, and each such amount shall be separately indicated in the award.

(2) In addition, damages may be awarded in respect of funeral and other expenses actually incurred by the deceased, the dependants or the personal representative by reason of the wrongful act, neglect, or default.

(3) It shall be sufficient for a defendant, in paying money into court in the action, to pay it in one sum as compensation for all the dependants without apportioning it between them.

(4) The amount recovered in the action shall, after deducting the costs not recovered from the defendant, be divided among the persons entitled in such shares as the jury or the judge, as the case may be, may have determined.

Sums not to be taken into account in assessing damages.

5. —In assessing damages under this Act account shall not be taken of—

(a) any sum payable on the death of the deceased under any contract of insurance,

(b) any pension, gratuity or other like benefit payable under statute or otherwise in consequence of the death of the deceased.

Survival of cause of action on death.

6. —(1) The liability of any person under this Act shall not be limited to himself or be terminated by his death but shall continue after his death and be a liability of his real and personal estate in like manner and with the like priority as a debt or other liability under a simple contract and proceedings under this Act may be instituted against his personal representative in respect thereof.

(2) Proceedings instituted against any person under this Act shall not abate on his death but may be continued against his personal representative.

Death caused by negligent driving of State-owned vehicle.

7. —(1) Where the death of a person is caused by the negligent driving, management or control of a mechanically propelled vehicle belonging to the State, the Minister for Finance shall be liable to an action for damages under this Act for the benefit of the dependants of the deceased.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other enactment, the proceedings may be brought against the Minister for Finance without obtaining the fiat of the Attorney General.

(3) Every plea in defence which would be open to a master sued for damages in respect of the negligence of his servant (including the plea of contributory negligence and also pleas to the effect that the person in respect of whose negligence the damages are claimed was not acting in the course of his employment) shall be open to the Minister for Finance and, if proved, shall be a good defence to the same extent as if the Minister were in fact the master of the said person.

(4) Nothing in this section shall operate to relieve any person from liability in respect of loss caused by his own negligence.

Adaptation of references to repealed Acts.

8. —A reference in any enactment to the Fatal Accidents Acts, 1846 to 1908, or to any of them shall be construed as a reference to this Act.

Repeals.

9. —The enactments referred to in the Schedule to this Act are, to the extent specified in column (3), hereby repealed.

Short title.

10. —This Act may be cited as the Fatal Injuries Act, 1956.

SCHEDULE.

Enactments Repealed.

Section 9 .

Session and Chapter or Number and Year.

Short Title.

Extent of Repeal.

(1)

(2)

(3)

9 & 10 Vic. c. 93.

Fatal Accidents Act, 1846.

The whole Act.

27 & 28 Vic. c. 95.

Fatal Accidents Act, 1864.

The whole Act.

8 Edw. 7. c. 7.

Fatal Accidents (Damages) Act, 1908.

The whole Act.

No. 48 of 1936.

Courts of Justice Act, 1936 .

Section 83 .

No. 25 of 1952.

Adoption Act, 1952 .

Paragraph (a) of section 28.