Personal Injury Claims-Accidents on Construction Sites

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Construction sites pose a large variety of risks, making the possibility of an accident quite high. Builders often work at height, which presents the obvious danger of falling, or other employees on the same site may encounter the risk of falling objects whilst they themselves work at ground level. Construction workers may be obliged to contend with holes in the ground, heavy machinery, hazardous substances, and the lifting of heavy objects – all of which can increase the chance of a potential injury.


The first issue to be considered when pursuing a compensation for a personal injury sustained as a result of a construction site accident is whether a work injury has, in fact, been sustained. The plaintiff (the person making the claim) must have sustained some form of injury either physical or psychological in the course of his or her employment. Even where an employer has acted negligently, even criminally so, it should be noted that, with regard to the civil law, a potential plaintiff can only claim compensation for a personal injury, loss, or damage that he or she has in fact sustained. A near miss – other than where it can be proven to have caused, for example, a severe psychological trauma – is not sufficient to justify compensation being awarded.


Construction accidents do not necessarily always result from the direct action of an employer. The failure to provide and maintain a safe working environment for staff be it through lack of action or training and any other form of contributory negligence where it is apparent that the employer did not take the precautions required to protect employees from possible injury will almost certainly result in the employer being held liable for those injuries.


Construction Accident Liability
For a personal injury claim to be successful, the injury sustained must result from the negligence or breach of duty of someone who had a duty of care to the injured party. In almost all circumstances, employers owe a duty of care to their employees. The onus that the law places on employers in relation to protecting their employees is very strict indeed and, therefore, the law is very protective of employees and, although there are cases where employees may be injured through their own fault and no fault of their employers, it is fair to say that in a large proportion of cases where injuries are sustained in the workplace, it is possible to establish that an employer has not provided a safe place of work or a safe system of work or proper training to their employees, thereby giving rise to a liability on the part of the employer.


Contributory Negligence
In circumstances where there has been a disagreement between the employer and the employee as to who shall bear the responsibility for the building site accident (or more precisely there is doubt as to who is responsible), the court may decide, or indeed the parties may ultimately agree that both the employer and the employee were partially at fault for the employee’s injury and in such circumstance the principle of contributory negligence will apply.


Contributory negligence is the legal principle that an injured party, i.e. the employee, may possibly have contributed to his or her own injury by acting in a negligent manner when faced with the obvious and known risks, which may reduce the amount of compensation awarded. Often, for example, it may be agreed that th.e employee bore 25% of the responsibility for his or her accident while the employer was responsible to a degree of 75%. In such circumstances, the employee’s damages will be reduced by 25%.


Your Employment Status
A work accident personal injury compensation claim (for a construction accident or otherwise) cannot be pursued unless you have actually come to harm while in employment. This must be supported by evidence in the form of, for example, witnesses, medical examinations, health and safety reports, etc. An initial, if obvious query that should be addressed, is therefore to ascertain whether you were actually employed by the defendant at the time of the accident. Perhaps surprisingly, it is in fact a common occurrence for claimants to think they are employed by someone when such is not the case, because, for example, they are self-employed or were engaged as a sub-contractor or supplied by an agency. In such circumstances, it is important to note that a potential claim may nonetheless exist against a number of potential defendants e.g. the proprietors of the building in which you were working. A solicitor should still be consulted at the first opportunity.


Procedures Following Construction Accidents
Your Physical Health and Safety
As obvious as it may seem, it should be remembered that your health and safety are more important than any potential claim that you may have against your employer. If you have been seriously hurt, an ambulance should be called immediately.


It is of the utmost importance that you report to the casualty department of the nearest hospital, or at the very least make an emergency appointment with your general practitioner/doctor, should your injuries occur at work. Even if you feel that your injuries are not particularly serious, it is still advisable that you see a doctor. Never underestimate peace of mind. The reality is that monetary compensation is no substitute for your health and well-being and as any solicitor who specialises in personal injury litigation can tell you, a common remark from clients who have received large settlements after being seriously injured is that they would exchange the money in order to revert to their prior health and fitness ‘in a heartbeat’.


It should be noted further that your attendance at hospital or with your local doctor will be recorded in your medical records which may later be used in evidence to support your claim.


Have the Incident Recorded in the Accident Report Book
Your employer or foreman should keep an accident report book on the site. If possible, you should insist that details of the incident are recorded immediately following an accident. It is important that you do not admit responsibility for the accident. Your solicitor will usually later request copies of the accident report book which will be used to support your case.


Summary
•Construction accident claims are a result of an employer failing to make the construction site a safe environment in which to work.
•The employer may not be directly responsible for causing a construction accident, but a lack of training for other employees can make him liable.
•Any area in which an employer fails in his duty of care for his employees makes him liable for construction accident claims.
•Your employment status may affect the amount of compensation you are entitled to when making construction accident claims.
•Any contributory negligence or actions on your part which caused the accident will also influence construction accident claims for compensation.
•Construction accident claims are complicated issues, and it is in your best interests to seek professional legal advice from our team of experts before making a claim.


Personal Injury Claims- Farm Accidents

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Farms are regarded as notoriously hazardous places of work because not only are employees obliged to work around lots of different machinery, they are also working in a busy environment and with unpredictable animals. Indeed, it is not only farm workers who suffer accidents at farms: children and members of the public can also be injured through the negligence of another on a farm.


The first issue to be considered when pursuing a compensation for an injury sustained on a farm is whether a work injury has, in fact, been sustained. The plaintiff (the person making the claim) must have sustained some form of injury either physical or psychological as a result of the incident. Even where an employer has indeed acted negligently, even criminally so, it should be noted that, with regard to the civil law, a potential plaintiff can only claim compensation for a personal injury, loss, or damage that he or she has in fact sustained. A near miss – other than where it can be proven to have caused, for example, a severe psychological trauma – is not sufficient to justify compensation being awarded.


“Farm accidents” do not necessarily always result from the direct action of an farmer/proprietor/employer. The failure to provide and maintain a safe working environment for staff be it through lack of action or training and any other form of contributory negligence where it is apparent that the employer did not take the precautions required to protect employees from possible injury will almost certainly result in the employer being held liable for those injuries.


Liability for Farm Accidents


For a personal injury claim to be successful, the injury sustained must result from the negligence or breach of duty of someone who had a duty of care to the injured party. In almost all circumstances, employers (be they farmers or otherwise) owe a duty of care to their employees. The onus that the law places on employers in relation to protecting their employees is very strict indeed and, therefore, the law is very protective of employees and, although there are cases where employees may be injured through their own fault and no fault of their employers, it is fair to say that in a large proportion of cases where injuries are sustained in the workplace, it is possible to establish that an employer has not provided a safe farming environment or a safe system of work or proper training to their employees, thereby giving rise to a liability on the part of the employer.


Contributory Negligence


In circumstances where there has been a disagreement between the farmer and the employee as to who shall bear the responsibility for the farm place accident (or more precisely there is doubt as to who is responsible), the court may decide, or indeed the parties may ultimately agree, that both the employer and the employee were partially at fault for the employee’s injury and in such circumstance the principle of contributory negligence will apply.


Contributory negligence is the legal principle that an injured party, i.e. the employee, may possibly have contributed to his or her own injury by acting in a negligent manner when faced with the obvious and known risks, which may reduce the amount of compensation awarded. Often, for example, it may be agreed that the employee bore 25% of the responsibility for his or her accident while the employer was responsible to a degree of 75%. In such circumstances, the employee’s damages, will be reduced by 25%.


Your Employment Status


A work accident personal injury compensation claim cannot be pursued unless you have actually come to harm while in employment. This must be supported by evidence in the form of, for example, witnesses, medical examinations, health and safety reports, etc. An initial, if obvious query that should be addressed, is therefore to ascertain whether you were actually employed by the defendant at the time of the accident. Perhaps surprisingly, it is in fact a common occurrence for claimants to think they are employed by someone when such is not the case, because, for example, they are self-employed or were engaged as a sub-contractor or supplied by an agency. In such circumstances, it is important to note that a potential claim may nonetheless exist against a number of potential defendants e.g. the proprietors of the building in which you were working. A solicitor should still be consulted at the first opportunity.


What should you do following a Farm Accident?


Your Personal Health


As obvious as it may seem, it should be remembered that your personal health is more important than any potential injury claim that you may have against a farm owner. If you have been seriously hurt in a farm accident, an ambulance should be called immediately.


It is of the utmost importance that you report to the casualty department of the nearest hospital, or, at the very least, make an emergency appointment with your general practitioner. Even if you feel that your injuries are not particularly serious, it is still advisable that you see a doctor.


It should be noted further that your attendance at hospital or with your doctor will be recorded in your permanent personal medical records, which may later be used in evidence to support your farm accident injury claim.
Record Incident in Accident Report Book


Your employer should keep an accident report book on the farm. If possible, you should insist that details of the incident are recorded immediately following an accident. It is important that you do not admit responsibility for the accident. Your solicitor will usually later request copies of the accident report book which will be used to support your case.


Summary


* Farms are notoriously hazardous places of work, but farm accident claims can also be made by visitors to a farm when they sustain an injury through somebody else´s negligence.
* Work related farm accident claims will have to show that the farmer, proprietor or employer failed to make the farm a safe environment in which to work.
* As well as potential confusion over who exactly farm accidents claims should be made against, your employment status may affect your eligibility to compensation.
* Contributory negligence may also be a factor in deciding whether farm accident claims for compensation are successful.
* Farm accident claims should be submitted with your medical notes and a copy of the farm´s accident report book in which your accident is recorded.
* This information should be given to a solicitor to help make the strongest possible case for farm accident claims compensation. Seek further advice on our free expert claim advice service.


Solicitors Lien- A Warning

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Solicitors Lien – a word of Warning.


The Guide to Professional Conduct of Solicitors in Ireland, 2nd Edition, deals with the provisions that apply in relation to a Solicitors Lien.


In short, when a file is being transferred from a former Solicitor, to the current Solicitor, the former Solicitor is entitled to exercise a Lien on the file, in relation to the former Solicitors costs. There are some exceptions to this. However, this article proposes to deal with a General Lien on costs in a Litigation matter. The procedure as per the Guide to Professional Conduct is that a courteous request for files should be made by the new Solicitor to the former Solicitor. The former Solicitor then draws a Bill of Costs. The fees may then be agreed, arbitrated or, taxed.


According to the Guide to Professional Conduct, the former Solicitor is under no obligation to furnish his or her original file and papers to the new Solicitor, without first being paid. The former Solicitor may opt to accept an undertaking in respect to the payment of costs, as alternative security to the Solicitors Common Law Lien. Even in those circumstances, the Guide to Professional Conduct provides that all Outlays should be refunded immediately to the former Solicitor.


This is a matter which arises on numerous occasions during the lifetime of a Litigation Solicitor. A Client may leave a former Solicitor for a myriad of reasons. The Client may leave because of a perceived lack of Service, or, simply because the client has moved to a different part of the country, and finds it difficult to deal with a Solicitor, now operating a significant distance from where that Client resides.


In any event, the Guide to Professional Conduct does not draw a distinction, which ought to be made, between a retainer of a Solicitor which is discharged by the Client, and a retainer which is discharged by the Solicitor.


The matter came up for discussion, in a Decision of the High Court made by Ms. Justice Laffoy, on the 11th of July 2008, in the case of John Ahern and Others ~ V~ The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Ireland and the Attorney General.


It is clear, that the Guide to Professional Conduct deals only with a situation where the Client discharges the Solicitor.


However, there are many occasions upon which a Solicitor may discharge a retainer. When a Solicitor comes on record for a Client in Litigation, a Solicitor is accountable to the Client, and also accountable, to the Court, and, to the other side, in relation to the Delivery of Pleadings. That is an obligation that can only be withdrawn by Leave of the Court. Solicitors come off record all the time. Solicitors may come off record because they cannot receive proper instructions, or because irreconcilable differences have arisen between the Solicitor and the Client, or, in other words, the Client refuses to take the advices of the Solicitor. It may also be the case that the Client has refused to comply with the Terms and Conditions of the Solicitors retainer as regards payment of fees.


In the case decided by Ms. Justice Laffoy, the Solicitors had applied to come off record. The Court granted Leave to the Solicitor to come off record.


The new Solicitor then sought the original files and papers, and, offered the former Solicitors to accept an unqualified Undertaking from the new Solicitors to pay in full the costs as to be agreed or taxed, before a certain date. If that Undertaking was forthcoming the former Solicitors would then release the Clients files to the new Solicitors.


The Court drew a distinction between a client discharging the retainer of a Solicitor and the Solicitor discharging his or her retainer by the Client.


Ms. Justice Laffoy indicated that “where the Solicitor has discharged his retainer, the Court will then normally make an Mandatory Order, obliging the original Solicitor to hand over the Clients paper’s to the new Solicitor, against an Undertaking by the new Solicitor to preserve the Lien of the original Solicitor.”


In this particular case, there was a dispute as to who terminated the retainer. The former Solicitors argued that it was the Client who discharged the retainer. The Client argued that it was the Solicitor who discharged the retainer. Ms. Justice Laffoy found that there was no evidence of an expressed discharge by the Client of the former Solicitor’s retainer. Ms. Justice Laffoy went on to say that “whether there was an implied or a constructive discharge is not something which can be determined on the basis of the Affidavit Evidence, no more than, if it were an issue, the Court could determine whether the former Solicitor terminated the retainer for reasonable cause. Affidavit Evidence, which is the type which is before the Court is not an appropriate foundation for the non exercise by the Court of the Equitable Jurisdiction indentified in Gamblen Chemical Company ~V~ Rochem Limited, which I have no doubt the Courts in this Jurisdiction enjoy. Therefore, I am constrained to adopt the approach I adopted in Mulheir ~V~ Gannon, and deal with the matter on the basis that it was the former Solicitors who terminated the retainer, but, that they did so for reasonable cause.”.


Ms. Justice Laffoy made an Order directing the former Solicitors to deliver to the current Solicitors the Clients files, provided that the current Solicitors gave to the former Solicitors an Undertaking in writing, to hold the said file subject to the former Solicitors Lien, and to return them to the former Solicitors on the conclusion of the Plaintiffs claim in the proceedings. The Court indicated that the delivery of the files must be without prejudice to the former Solicitors claim for costs against the Client, such a delivery to be effected within two weeks of the furnishing of the Undertaking.


The Court made it clear that the former Solicitors entitlement to recover costs from the Client, and the Clients Liability therefore, were matters of Contract between a Client and the former Solicitors and the Court had no Jurisdiction in this particular case to adjudicate on that matter.


An Application had been made in the case by the Client to defer payment of the former Solicitors costs to the successful outcome of the clients claim. Ms. Justice Lafoy found that this Application was “totally misconceived” and dismissed it.


Ms. Justice Laffoy made it clear, that the Court had to maintain a “fair balance between the proponents”


The Order made in this case, in Ms. Justice Laffoy’s rein preserved the former Solicitors Lien, while at the same time enabling the Client to prosecute his Claim.


It is clear, that each case will be taken on its merits. However, it is also clear that where the Court determines that the solicitor discharged his or her retainer, the provisions of Paragraph 7.6 of the Guide to Professional Conduct will not apply.


There was nothing in the Order made by Ms. Justice Laffoy preventing the former Solicitors from immediately taxing their costs and pursuing those costs against the former Client. However, the Solicitors Lien, as we understand it, did not apply, fundamentally, because the Solicitor had been deemed to discharge his retainer.


In summary, the provisions of the Guide to Professional Conduct apply in circumstances where the Client discharges the Solicitor’s retainer. However, the guide will not apply to a situation in which the Solicitors come off record for failure to receive instructions, or in any manner, discharge their retainer by the Client.


It is the writer’s view that the Guide to Professional Conduct needs to be amended and restated, in light of the Decision made by Ms. Justice Laffoy and that a clear distinction be drawn between the two types of discharge of retainer. This would be to the benefit of all Solicitors dealing with such situations.


In practice, these situations are quite difficult, because the former Solicitor is normally aggrieved about the discharge of his or her retainer and the new Solicitor is also keen to ensure that the former Solicitor gets paid. It is a balancing act, which is quite often difficult to maintain.



The dangers of untreated footpaths

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HAVE YOU FALLEN ON AN UNTREATED FOOTPATH?
If you have fallen on an untreated pavement and sustained an injury you will be aware of the upset and the expense this can cause.
Whether or not you can be compensated for this is not a straightforward answer. There is an unfounded fear that actually doing something positive to help the situation will result in claims being made.
The irony is that clearing the foopath, in itself, is unlikely to lead to a claim. It will in most cases prevent any falls from happening unless it is done in a haphazard and negligent way.
If you have fallen on ice it will be unlikely for you to take a successful action against the Local Authority. However you should not confuse the situation with ice causing a fall and some other reason, as you may be entitled to make a claim caused by a defect in the footpath. You should also consider the differences when your fall or trip was in a privately owned property rather than a public place. The important thing to do is to seek advice in relation to your rights.


Road Traffic Accients-Keeping your eye on the road is no longer enough

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Traffic accidents

An accident is defined as a traffic accident if it occurs on a road or in a place to which the public have access. This can include footpaths and bridleways.


If you are injured in a road traffic accident – whether it is simple bruising and whiplash, or something more serious it is worth finding out if you can claim for those injuries


Who is responsible for a traffic accident

It may be obvious that someone caused the accident and there will be no dispute about liability. However, there will be cases where it is not obvious, or where the extent of liability is difficult to work out. For example, as a general rule, the driver of a vehicle which runs into the back of another vehicle will be held liable for the accident. This is the case even if the car in front has braked sharply or unexpectedly, because drivers are required to drive a safe distance behind other vehicles. However, there may be circumstances when this does not apply, and if liability is disputed, legal advice will be necessary.


What must a driver involved in a traffic accident do

1. STOP: A driver involved in a traffic accident should stop whether or not the accident was their fault if:-


  • anyone, other than themselves, is injured; or
  • another vehicle, or someone else’s property, is damaged; or
  • an animal in another vehicle or running across the road is injured; or
  • a bollard, street lamp or other item of street furniture is damaged.

2. Gather Information: Get the following details:


  • Number Plate
  • Insurance details
  • Name and Address of other party

3. Report the accident to the Gardai within 24 hours if possible.


4. Get witness details


  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone Number

5. Take photographs If you have a mobile telephone with a camera or a camera in your vehicle.


6. Attend your Doc


tor or local Accident and Emergency Department


What a Driver involved in an accident should not do

1. Don’t admit liability at the scene of the accident. Many people will be surprised to learn that it is actually very often a condition of their Insurance Policy not to admit liability following an accident.


2. Don’t leave the scene of the accident until you have exchanged details with the other party. If someone has been injured you should remain at the accident scene until the Gardai arrive.


Payment for medical treatment

If someone else is responsible for your accident you will be able to claim all Medical Expenses back from the Insurance Company.


Witnesses

It is important to obtain evidence from independent witnesses about what happened at an accident. If someone who is present at an accident refuses to act as a witness, it is advisable to ask the police if the witness has been called to give a witness statement. If this is not possible, it is very difficult to do anything, unless the name and address of the witness are known. With this information they can be called as a witness in any civil court proceedings that might take place.


Witnesses should write down their evidence and keep their original notes, as it may be some time before any claims are settled or court proceedings are heard. Whatever witnesses may say, the people involved in the accident should make their own written accounts of what happened, including making sketches and taking photographs as soon as possible and keeping their original notes.


Traffic accidents related to work

An employee who has a traffic accident whilst travelling for work (or possibly on the way to work) should bear in mind the following points:-


  • if the vehicle is insured by the employer, the employee will be covered by the employer’s vehicle insurance, whether or not they were responsible for the accident
  • if the employee is an injured pedestrian or cyclist, the employer will normally be liable in the same way as for any industrial injury, unless the employee clearly acted negligently

Bicycles

If someone has been in an accident involving a bicycle, they should be aware that cyclists do not have to be insured for damage to the bicycle, any other vehicle or for personal injury. However, the cyclist may be covered under another insurance policy, for example, their home contents policy. If the accident happened on the way to or from work, or whilst at work, the person who had the accident may be covered by their employer’s insurance or may be able to obtain advice and assistance from a trade union.


If the cyclist has inadeq


uate insurance it will probably be easier to claim on the insurance of the person who had the accident and let the insurance company take action against anyone who is liable.


If none of these is possible, the cyclist could be sued in court for compensation.


Stationary or fixed objects

If someone hits a stationary object, either on the road itself or alongside the road, they should consider the following:-


  • was the object adequately marked or lit to enable the driver to see it clearly and in time to avoid it, for example, an unlit car, skip or roadworks. If not, it will be necessary to find out who was responsible for failing to do so. For example, if the object was a parked car, the responsible person is the owner. If the object was roadworks, then whoever is carrying out the roadworks is responsible, for example, the local authority, a gas, water or electricity company, or contractors doing the work on their behalf
  • had the object been left on the road either unlawfully or in an unsafe way, for example, a car parked on a blind corner. If so, the owner of the object or vehicle may be liable
  • have there been any similar accidents caused by the object. If so, this is evidence that the object had contributed to the accident.

The condition of the road surface

An accident may be caused by the condition of the road surface, for example, by pot holes, ice, mud or leaves. Adequate warning may not have been given of a problem with the road surface, for example:-


  • the local authority (County or Town Council)  may have failed to respond reasonably to a problem with the road surface. If so, they may be liable for any accident caused
  • individuals or firms, for example, farmers or contractors may have left mud or grease on the road surface for an unreasonable period of time without adequate warnings. If so, they may be liable for any accident caused
  • a contractor who has failed to reinstate the road surface properly after carrying out works.

Drivers from abroad

If an accident happens in Ireland and the driver is from abroad their obligations are the same as if the driver came from Ireland – see under heading .


It may be difficult to get compensation for any damage or injuries. You could try contacting the Motor Insurers Bureau Ireland. They can obtain details of the driver and their insurance company if the vehicle’s registration number can be provided and the driver comes from a country participating in the green card scheme. If the driver was not insured, or the insurance company does not have an agent in Ireland, the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland will take up the case. If the insurance company does have an agent in Ireland, you will be advised to contact them.


Personal Injury Claims-What you need to know

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What is a Personal Injury Claim?


A personal Injury is defined in the Civil Liability Act 1961 as ‘including any disease and any impairment of a person’s physical and mental condition.’


Clearly this is a very wide definition.


Types of Injury


They types of injury which constitute claims for compensation are wide and varied.


They include:


  • Neck Injuries
  • Back Injuries
  • Broken/Sprained Limbs
  • Dental Injuries
  • Psychiatric/Psychological Injury-Including Post Stress and Depression
  • Army Deafness
  • Asbetos Poisoning
  • Blood Tansfusion Claims
  • Sexual Abuse Injuries


How can I bring a Successful Claim?

If you are involved in a car accident or some other type of injury and you wish to recover your damages from the insurance company of the individual who is at fault, then you will need to be able to prove liability for an insurance claim. Understanding liability insurance claims rules is key to being able to achieve an out of court settlement for damages you suffered, and is also essential if you can’t reach an agreement with the insurer and you decide to sue.


Proving Liability in Insurance Claims

Liability insurance protects an individual from being sued. Almost everyone has some type of liability insurance: drivers have liability insurance on their cars, homeowners have liability insurance to protect them from being sued for injury that happens in the home, and doctors have liability insurance to pay the bills when medical malpractice cases are brought against them.


When you are injured by another individual and you want to make a claim against that person’s liability insurance, there are several things you need to prove:


  • You need to prove the insured had a duty to you. For example, a driver has a duty to act with reasonable care; a homeowner has a duty to make his premises safe; and a doctor has a duty to act as a reasonably competent doctor would
  • You need to prove that the insured breached that duty. If a driver is so negligent that no reasonable person would have behaved that way, this is a breach of duty. For example, driving drunk, texting while driving, running a red light, and otherwise doing something dangerous can be a breach of legal duty.
  • You need to prove that the breach was the direct/proximate cause of injury: Not only must the person have been negligent, but the negligence must have actually caused you to suffer in some way

Generally, proving liability- or proving that the insured was negligent and caused injury- comes down to providing the appropriate evidence to the insurance company. This evidence can include:


  • Accident reports, which are usually written by the Gardai/Police in car accident cases
  • Expert evidence, such as from accident reconstruction experts or from other doctors in the case of a medical malpractice case
  • Eyewitness evidence, or personal accounts from people who saw what happened
  • Photographs that show the cause of the accident or damages
  • A personal account of what occurred

Provided the insurance company believes what they see in the evidence and accepts fault, they are likely to make you an out of court settlement offer that you can choose to accept on the claim. If you don’t accept, you may need to go to court.


Proving liability for insurance claims can be difficult, and you’ll want to have expert help to do it. You should consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible, which we can refer you too. Your Solicitor can help you to gather evidence against the insured and can help you present a strong case to the insurance company to convince them to see things your way.




Types of Compensation

General Damages


Compensation includes ‘General Damages’ which represents compensation items that are difficult to calculate accurately and include ‘pain and suffering’ , loss of the enjoyment of life and disadvantage on the open labour market.


Special Damages


In addition claims can be made for ‘Special Damages’ which represents compensation for losses that can be accurately calculated and may include;


  • medical charges
  • loss of earnings
  • insurance excess
  • damage to property
  • assistance for household chores
  • care and assistance
  • medical therapies
  • traveling expenses
  • vehicle damage
  • expenses
  • vehicle hire
  • aids and equipment
  • adapted accommodation and transport

If you’ve been injured we can help you to preserve your legal right to compensation. We can offer free consultations for advice to find out whether you have a good case, how to go about claiming and how much your compensation might be worth. We will give you clear unequivocal advice about your chances of success and the anticipated value of your claim. If after talking to us you decide not to take your accident claims further you are under no obligation to do so and you will not be charged anything at all.


Time Limits for taking an action to Court

For all personal injuries claims arising from negligence, nuisance or breach of duty arising on or after 31stMarch 2005- a claimant has 2 years in which to make a claim either from


(a) When the incident occurred (b) Knowledge of the incident.


This came into force uder Section 7 of the Civil Liabilities and Courts Act 2004.


In the case of an assault or defamation however the claimant has 6 years in which to pursue a claim.


What is the Injuries Board (PIAB)

The Injuries Board is the independent government body which assesses the amount of compensation due to a person who has suffered a personal injury.


It is a purely paper bases system, which conducts no oral hearings, and makes an award based upon medical reprts and with reference to a book of guidelines on damages.


An application is first made on behalf of a claimant and must be accompanied by a medical report.  Then the arty against whom the claim is being made, known as the respondent, decides whether to consent to such assessment by the Injuries Board.  If they do then an award is made which can be accepted or rejected by either or both parties.  If the respondent refuses consent to assessment or either party rejects the award then the claim may proceed to court.  If both parties accept the award the claim is settled.


What claims can be referred to PIAB


  • Claim against an employer for negligence and breach of duty
  • Action against driver because they own or were driving a vehicle involved in an accident
  • Action against owner or occupier of land or any structure or building
  • Action arising out of a health service provided to a person including the carrying out of a medical or surgical procedure

Which Court?


Whether your case is pursued in the District Court, the Circuit Court or the High Court, depends on the amount of damages you are likely to receive.



The District Court


This Court can award Damages up to €6348.69.


The Circuit Court

This Court can award Damages up to €38,092.00.


The High Court

This Court can award unlimited Damages.


TOP JUDGE PUSHES FOR MEDIATION INSTEAD OF LITIGATION

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THE Chief Justice has appealed to the Government to promote mediation as an alternative to costly court litigation. Mr Justice John Murray said such a move would generate social and economic savings. The Chief Justice speaking last night at the launch of the DSBA family lawyer mediation service, said that the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform could and should promote mediation for the benefit of society as a whole.


“It is governmental task” said Judge Murray, who also revealed that new rules were being considered that would enable Judges to facilitate mediation in all forms of civil disputes that come before the courts following the success of mediation in the Commercial Court and in competition law.


“It (mediation) is in a sense an antidote to a too casual recourse to litigation not only as a first but as the only option” he said. He also states that there may be a saving for society in legal costs and also reducing the burden of costly court systems. The Judge went on to say “for mediation as a process to take hold in this country there is a need to heighten public consciousness as well as that of legal practitioners and other professions of its usefulness its value and its availability” The DSBA has urged that the mediation, part of a broader alternative dispute resolution movement that has gained traction in the US, Canada and Europe and Britain, should be utilised in family law proceedings to maintain a positive parenting dynamic, post-separation.


EU SAYS GROUP LAWSUITS TO RECOVER LOSSES SHOULD BE ALLOWED

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CONSUMERS who suffer food poisoning from contaminated products that breach EU safety standards or people overcharged for services by price-setting cartels should be able to take class-actions to recover their losses, according to the European Commission.


They estimate consumers lose out on more than €20 billion a year in compensation from price-fixing and similar arrangements by cheating firms.


However, US-style multi-million euro compensation is being ruled out by the commission, which wants legislation that will compensate people for what they have lost rather than to penalise business.


The Consumers Association of Ireland has been campaigning for the introduction of such legislation here, saying people are being frustrated or discouraged from taking action against traders when they have a genuine complaint.


Previous attempts to introduce legislation that would give citizens across the EU the right to pursue claims against companies in other member states were shelved because of fears that it would result in massive US-style damages.


Victims banding together to take a business to court is relatively rare in Europe and Ireland, as the legislation makes any such attempt almost impossible.


Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he supported effective compensation for everyone who has suffered damages and that group claims are cheaper and more effective than a large number of individual claims.


He gave examples of French mobile operators who created a cartel and overcharged up to 20 million subscribers for two years. A consumer association tried to represent a group of them in court, but because of the French rules, did not succeed.


Similarly, Dutch brewers operating as a cartel raised the price of beer for a lot of bars and cafes in the Netherlands. The establishments tried to bring the brewers to court, but failed under Dutch law.


“In both cases the aggregate economic harm was large but the harm caused to each victim was too small to justify individual and separate lawsuits”.


A public consultation will be launched next month and will run until the end of February.


Slips and Trips-Dangers in the workplace

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One in five people who slip and trip at work are absent for over a month, according to the Health and Safety Authority.
The authority has just issued a new guide for employers to try to eradicate these accidents since they account for just under half of all awards against employers by the Injuries Board.
“Falls can be fatal. Slip, trip and fall accidents account for about one in five of all accidents reported to the HSA and are the second highest cause of accidents.
“They are preventable and everybody has a role to play,” says the authority.
A survey by the Authority also says that half of the workers who took part believed it was their company’s responsibility, not their own, to prevent slips and trips.
The new guide, entitled Get A Grip, points out that employers, senior managers and workers all have responsibilities to control risks from trips and falls.
It recommends that employers should track incidents, carry out a workplace risk assessment and commit resources to prevention.
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work had said: “Slips, trips and falls are the largest cause of accidents in all sectors, from heavy manufacturing through to office work.”
Accident risks are higher for those employed in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), particularly for those in enterprises with less than 50 employees.
It advocates the use of simple control measures to reduce risks.
These include safety signs, personal protective equipment, ensuring sufficient natural light and that floors are fixed, stable and level and have no bumps or holes.
A new code of practice for working in confined spaces has also been introduced by the authority and it took effect from last Monday.
It stipulates that where workers have to enter an area which is likely to contain a toxic or harmful substance or have insufficient oxygen levels, the area must be monitored and the worker must be watched at all times with measures in place to ensure the worker can be helped immediately when it is needed.


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