Compensation claims crisis: judges told to slash payouts

Judges have been told to sort out the compensation claims crisis - which would help lower insurance premiums.

An unpublished report by former High Court President Nicholas Kearns warns personal injury awards in this country are a multiple of those paid in other states, and recommends judges compile new guidelines for lower awards.

The guidelines would take account of the benchmarking of international award levels, according to the report by the Government's Personal Injuries Commission (PIC), chaired by Mr Kearns. The report has yet to be presented to the Cabinet, but represents one of the most serious attempts to sort out the compensation and the associated insurance crisis in decades. Lower claims should lead to lower insurance premiums.

Mr Justice Kearns's report found payouts here are among the highest in the world. The average motor claim is almost €21,000. This compares with close to €4,000 in the UK, €1,500 in France and between €2,500 and €6,000 in Germany.

The report says fraudulent and exaggerated claims carry a low risk of detection and "an even lower risk of prosecution".

You can read the full publication here.

(Weston, Irish Independent)

Taxi driver awarded €82,000 after car crash

A man who is unable to play golf and suffered post traumatic stress disorder after a car accident has been awarded a total of €82,000 by the High Court.

Taxi driver Patrick Murphy was unable to return to golf after the crash four years ago because of his inability to swing the golf club, Mr Justice Bernard Barton said.

The judge accepted the medical evidence on behalf of Mr Murphy that as a result of the accident, where a van turned right and collided with his taxi, that his arthritis was rendered symptomatic and he now has a severe and painful condition in his elbows.

Mr Murphy (62), Cranfield Place, Sandymount, Dublin, sued Malone Engineering Services Ltd, Ballycoolin, Dublin, owners of the van which crashed in to him, and the driver, Francis Cleary, an employee of the company.

He had claimed that on March 29, 2014 he was driving his taxi on the James Larkin Road, Dublin, travelling past the junction with the Howth Road, when without warning the van made a right hand turn and collided with the front of his car.

Liability was admitted in the case and it was before the court for assessment of damages only.

 (Healy, Irish Independent, 2018)

Good News for Claimants affected by Setanta Insurance 

We published a blog post a few months ago with communication from the President of the Law Society with good news for the personal injury victims affected by the liquidation of Setanta Insurance here

The latest update on this case is:

The Insurance Compensation Fund (the “Fund”) is maintained and administered under the control of the President of the High Court (the “President”) acting through the Accountant of the Courts of Justice (The “Accountant”). Payments from the Fund must be approved by the President of the High Court following an application by the Accountant. On the 11th of May 2018 President of the High Court made an Order authorising the payment of €7,681,568.91 in respect of 403 claims and representing 65% of the sum of €11,817,798.32 due under policies of insurance issued by Setanta Insurance Company Limited (in liquidation). Payments are expected to be made by 31st of May 2018. 

We will be contacting our Clients directly once funds are received.

Two Women come forward to sue HSE over CervicalCheck Smear Results

23rd of May 2018

Two more legal actions involving women suing over alleged delays relating to CervicalCheck smears have come before the High Court.

The cases are against the HSE and the labs who carried out the original tests & they are the first to be listed in the court since the CervicalCheck smear controversy arose last month. 

In the first cervical smear case, the court heard the prognosis for the woman is "not good" and she has been given a life expectancy of between six to 12 months. The woman only heard of the alleged misdiagnosis of a 2012 smear test on May 3 last. In the second cervical smear case the court heard the woman is currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy as she suffers from cervical cancer and breast cancer (Healy, Irish Independent 2018) .

Counsel said it was their case the cervical cancer should have been detected earlier. He said a review of the smear tests was carried out in 2014 and 2015 but the woman was not informed of the review or of the review results which showed the original tests results were incorrect.

Each case will be brought to trail in July. Mr Justice Cross urged the parties involved to explore alternative means of resolution. 

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