The Fatal Accidents Act, 1855


[Act No. 13 of 1855]

[27th March 1855]

An Act to provide compensation to families for loss occasioned by the death of a person caused by actionable wrong.


Whereas no action or suit is now maintainable in any Court against a person who, By his wrongful act, neglect, or default, may have caused the death of another person, And it is oftentimes right and expedient that the wrong doer in such case should be Answerable in damages for the injury so caused by him. It is enacted as follows: –

1A. Suit for compensation to the family of a person for loss occasioned to it by his death by actionable wrong.

Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would (if death had not ensued) have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, the party who would have been liable if death had not ensued, shall be liable to an action or suit for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured, and although the death shall have been caused under such circumstances amount in law to felony or other crime.

Every such action or suit shall be for the benefit of the wife, husband, parent and child, if any, of the person whose death shall have been so caused, and shall be brought by and in the name of the executor, administrator or representative of the person deceased,

And in every such action, the Court may give such damages as it may think proportioned to the loss resulting from such death to the parties respectively, for whom and for whose benefit such action shall be brought, and the amount so recovered, after deducting all costs and expenses, including the costs not recovered from the defendant, shall be divided amongst the before mentioned parties, or any of them, in such shares as the Court by its judgment or decree shall direct.

2. Not more than one suit to be brought.

Provided always that not more than one action or suit shall be brought for, and in respect of the same subject matter of complaint;

Claim for loss to estate may be added. –

Provided that in any such action or suit the executor, administrator or representative of the deceased may insert a claim for, and recover any pecuniary loss to the estate of the deceased occasioned by such wrongful act, neglect or default, which sum, when recovered, shall be deemed part of the assets of the estate of the deceased.

3. Plaintiff shall deliver particulars, etc.

The plaint in any such action or suit shall give a full particular of the person or persons for whom, or on whose behalf, such action or suit shall be brought, and of the nature of the claim in respect of which damages shall be sought to be recovered.

4. Interpretation clause.

The following words and expressions are intended to have the meanings hereby assigned to them respectively, so far as such meanings are not excluded by the context or by the nature of the subject matter, that is to say the word person” shall apply to bodies politic and corporate; and the word “person” shall include father and mother, and grand-father and grand-mother; and the word “child” shall include son and daughter, and grand-son and grand-daughter, and step-son and step-daughter.

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