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Claiming for Friends & Family Following a Workplace Accident

As specialist workplace accident solicitors, we are regularly approached by individuals looking to bring accident at work claims on behalf of a friend or close family member. On this page, we have provided answers to common questions about this issue.

Circle of hands representing friends and family

Can I make a claim on behalf of someone who has been seriously injured at work?

In law, a next friend is the individual who represents another person who is under a legal disability such as, for example, if they are unable to maintain a compensation claim on their own behalf because of mental incapacity.

So if a loved one has been left with a mental impairment arising out of a workplace injury to the extent that they are legally deemed not to be capable of looking after their own interests (which can often happen where there has been a head injury sustained in an occupational accident), a relative – usually their spouse, a parent or a child – will be authorised to bring the action on their behalf.

This next friend will have complete authority to run the proceedings on the injured worker’s behalf up until the point that a settlement has been reached at which point it must be put before a judge who must then be satisfied that the amount of the settlement represents adequate compensation for the injured person on whose behalf the claim is being brought.

A settlement will need to be ruled by a court regardless of whether or not the next friend’s legal advisors are recommending its acceptance, but of course the judge will be heavily influenced by whether or not the injured person’s legal team believes that the amount on offer represents proper compensation.

Workers who have been left mentally impaired by an accident also receive different treatment for taxation purposes. Normally under Irish tax law an amount received in compensation is not liable to income tax but any income which is derived from investing this compensation payment will be taxable.

However, a total exemption from income tax is available in the case of any personal injuries compensation payment and all income arising from the investment of that payment provided that the person receiving the compensation is, as a result of the injury, permanently and totally incapacitated from looking after themselves and they have no other source of income.


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If someone is fatally injured in a workplace accident does the family have any right to be compensated?

If a loved one has been fatally injured at work and the death can be shown to be as a result of the negligence or breach of statutory duty of the employer, the dependants of the deceased worker are entitled to bring a claim for compensation arising out of the wrongful death.

The statutory definition of who is a “dependent” includes a spouse, parent, grandparent, stepparent, child, grandchild, stepchild, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, or someone who was cohabiting with the deceased person for more than three years at the time of death.

While it will be seen from this definition that many people who are related to a deceased person might have a potential claim arising out of their wrongful death, only one claim may be brought for the benefit of all of them. In other words, a deceased worker’s spouse could not bring one action with a child then bringing another separate action – they would both have to state their claim in one set of proceedings. Therefore whoever brings an action for wrongful death must do so on behalf of all of the statutory dependants and the court will then decide on who gets what.

Generally speaking, a wrongful death claim must be commenced within two years of the date of death.

Compensation in fatal injuries claims is broken down into three general categories as follows:

  • Mental distress. The maximum amount of damages that can be awarded to dependants of a deceased person in wrongful death cases is €35,000.
  • Expenses incurred as a result of the death such as the cost of burial, plane fares and accommodation costs for travel to and from the funeral by relatives living abroad, etc.
  • Loss of financial dependency. Anyone who was dependent on a deceased worker for their financial wellbeing (which is usually their husband or wife and any minor children) will be entitled to an amount in damages to be calculated by making the assumption that the deceased worker had continued to live and earn wages up to retirement age. This can often be a very complicated calculation which will require the input of specialist experts such as forensic accountants and actuaries.

Speak to our specialist workplace accident solicitors to start your claim

If you have any questions about injuries you or your friend or family member has endured in the work environment, our live chat operator is available to help you with any queries you may have at any time or, you can just give us a call on our nationwide Local number 1800 390 555 during office hours.

If you would prefer, we can call you, just leave your number on the callback form on this page, and we’ll call you back at a time that is convenient for you.

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About McCarthy + Co

With more than 30 years of experience in dealing with personal injury claims, McCarthy + Co. has experience bringing claims relating to a wide variety of workplace scenarios. We are a family-run business, and we pride ourselves on offering honest, impartial, and helpful advice.

Our offices are based in Dublin and Cork but we work with clients throughout Ireland in locations ranging from Galway to Waterford. You can count on us for legal advice, guidance, and assistance on any form of personal injury.

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We are a multi-award winning firm, accredited by the Law Society of Ireland.

Law Firm of the Year - Irish Law Awards
Irish Law Awards 2022 - Winner of Excellence & Innovation in Client Services
Irish Law Awards 2022 - Excellence & Innovation in Client Services
Irish Law Awards 2021 - Litigation Law Firm of the Year (Munster)
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Flor McCarthy

Flor McCarthy

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Twitter: @flormccarthy LinkedIn: /in/flormccarthy/

wears multiple hats, not only as the managing partner of one of Ireland’s leading law firms, but also as an author, speaker and an acknowledged expert in client service, innovation and marketing.

Beginning his academic journey at UCC, Flor furthered his education with a master’s degree in law from UCD. After gaining valuable experience as a solicitor in Dublin, the allure of home and the family brought him back to West Cork to contribute his expertise to the family business.
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John McCarthy

John McCarthy

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LinkedIn: /in/johnmccarthysolicitor/

is a seasoned solicitor with almost 20 years of experience, specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims, focusing particularly on high-value compensation cases. His extensive litigation experience spans Circuit Court, High Court and Supreme Court levels.

John's practice involves a diverse range of cases, from personal injury and wrongful death to property damage, defective products, professional negligence and judicial reviews.
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