COMPENSATION for mental distress caused by the loss of a loved one in a fatal accident has increased to €35,000.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter has announced the move saying the rise in the payment takes into account the increase in the cost of living in the last 18 years.
The compensation, paid to dependents of individuals who die in an accident, had been set at IR£20,000 (€25,395) since 1996.
Mr Shatter last night said: "While money cannot compensate for the loss of a loved one, it is important that recognition be given to the significant loss that families have suffered."
The compensation, also known as 'solatium', is described by the Department of Justice as "an acknowledgement of grief rather than an attempted compensation for it".
In recognising that the level of compensation hadn't changed in nearly two decades, Mr Shatter said: "The new increased limit of €35,000 restores the value of the payment and takes account of the significant increases in the cost of living since 1996."
Stapleton solicitors, which specialises in personal injury claims, described the original figure of €25,395, as "very low." It pointed out that the sum might have to cover a large number of dependents, which has to be divided between them.