Boy awarded ‘grief money’ over sister’s death before he was born
A barrister has awarded a 23-month-old boy “grief money” of 1,500 for the death of his sister, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver more than a year before he was born. Marcel Siatka’s sister died on 6 April 2015 in Dublin. Marcel was born in May 2016.
Barrister Conor Kearney, counsel for Marcel and Vanessa’s father, Lukasz Siatka, told Judge Terence O’Sullivan in the Circuit Civil Court that while the Injuries Board had assessed damages of 42,777, no compensation had been included for Marcel. The sum was to be divided between Vanessa’s surviving family and to include the cost of her funeral.
Mr Siatka had taken a claim on behalf of members of his family, including Marcel, under the provisions of the Civil Liability Act. After expenses, which included the funeral, Mr Kearney said the ‘tear money’ (Solatium Fund) had been assessed at 14,500 each for Vanessa’s father and mother, with 2,000 each for three grandparents. He added that the parents had no issue with the money being shared with Marcel.
Judge O’Sullivan said that Marcel would experience grief for his sister’s loss. He ruled that the 6,000 allocated to Vanessa’s three grandparents should be reduced to 1,500 each to allow for Marcel receive 1,500. He directed that Marcel’s money be paid into court for his future benefit.
Ciaran Lane, of Ashington Avenue in Dublin, was sentenced to seven years in prison with the final two years suspended, after pleading guilty to dangerous driving and causing Vanessa’s death.
Vanessa was hit by a car being driven by Lane at a roundabout in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, while standing next to her mother’s car. Lane drove away but later turned himself in to police.
On the day of Vanessa’s death, Lane had drunk a litre of vodka and taken two grams of cocaine before getting behind the wheel. Victims in hit-and-run cases are eligible for compensation through a special fund set up under the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 called the “Solatium Fund”.