C.M. Haughey Solicitors Compensation Guide

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1 C.M. Haughey Solicitors Compensation Guide

2 Athena Goddess of Wisdom, Strength and Strategy. When your experience needs our experience

3 About Us C. M. Haughey Solicitors, located at Christchurch in Dublin 8 deals exclusively with Personal Injury, Medical Negligence and Employment Law Claims. The firm s Principal Caoimhe Haughey qualified as a Solicitor in Caoimhe holds the NITA Certificate (National Institute of Trial Lawyers) an internationally accreditation in trial advocacy and is also admitted as a Solicitor in England and Wales. Throughout her career Caoimhe has successfully represented many thousands of clients from all over the Country seeking compensation arising out of accident claims, medical negligence and employment law disputes. Uniquely C. M. Haughey and their highly dedicated Team only deal with claims for victims of accidents, medical mishaps and employment law disputes ensuring a fully independent, impartial and professional service. At C. M. Haughey Solicitors we aim to listen, understand and give our clients the best possible advice. Our Client Care Policy guarantees an immediate consultation either on the telephone or face to face with no obligation and in many cases we do not charge fees unless and until the claim is successful* What We Do Injuries Board Applications Road Traffic Accidents Motor Insurance Bureau Claims Trip, Slip & Fall Claims Public Liability Claims Holiday Accidents Accidents at Work Assault Claims Medical Negligence Dental Negligence Cosmetic Procedure Negligence Dog Bite Injuries Sports Injuries Elder Abuse Claims Insurance Claims Employment Law Unfair/Constructive Dismissal Bullying/Harassment in the Workplace Cyber Bullying Bullying/Harassment in Schools

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5 Index 1. Compensation Guide Have I a case? 2. How soon should I contact C. M. Haughey Solicitors? 3. What is the value of my case? 4. What is the procedure for making a claim? 5. Will I have to go to Court? 6. Minors 7. How long with the procedure take? 8. What is the cost involved? 9. Contact us

6 1. Compensation Have I a case? Once you have given us all the details about your accident or illness, one of our experienced legal team will advise you as to whether or not you have a stateable case. This will depend upon whether we can prove negligence i.e. the party legally at fault? Proving negligence is of course a matter of law however photographs of where and what caused your accident; witness statements; medical records and official accident report forms can be invaluable in helping to prove your case. For further information about the types of cases we deal with please see our website and newsfeed.

7 2. How soon should I contact C. M. Haughey? The bringing of an accident claim is subject to strict time limits, which is in most cases is 2 years. In other words a claimant has two years from the date of the accident within which to bring his/her claim. We advise all clients that claims should be pursued as soon as possible to ensure the availability of witnesses, any relevant evidence and most importantly to ensure the claim is not statute barred. There are some exceptions to the two year time limit, for example in the case of minors (children and teenagers who are under 18). If the accident occurred when you were under 18 then the two year limit does not begin until your 18th birthday. You can commence your claim in relation to the accident up until your 20th birthday. However it is important to note that legal proceedings in relation to your claim must be issued before the date of your 20th birthday. Another exception is where the injury, illness or condition you have suffered does not become obvious or goes undetected for a period of time. This arises commonly in cases involving medical negligence where there is a late diagnosis or a misdiagnosis. If you are in doubt about whether you are in time to bring a claim always seek legal advice immediately. It is important to note that cases for Unfair or Constructive Dismissal can only be brought where one has been in continuous employment with the person or Company they intend to sue for a period of one year. Cases such as these must be lodged with the Employment Appeals Tribunal or Rights Commissioner within six months of the date of dismissal

8 Principal Caoimhe Haughey BCL

9 3. What is the value of my case? If your case is successful either by way of an Injuries Board Assessment, Court Award or Out-of-Court Settlement you will receive compensation for the pain, suffering and losses suffered. The amount of compensation varies for each case and will depend upon the nature and severity of the injury, the length of time of recovery, the prognosis into the future and the effect upon your daily living. How compensation is awarded is not an exact science and every case is treated on an individual basis. This is how we approach every case and we understand that some accidents can have devastating effects on the injured person and their families. You may also be entitled to out of pocket expenses reasonably incurred as a result of the accident, such as medical bills and loss of earnings. Compensation for pain and suffering comes under the heading of GENERAL DAMAGES. The maximum the Courts allow under this heading is currently 450,000, for example in catastrophic cases. There is no limit for out-of-pocket expenses which comes under the heading of SPECIAL DAMAGES for example ongoing care and medical costs and future loss of earnings. In relation to Employment Law Cases you can seek the following by way of remedies: - 1. Re-instatement to the same position; 2. Re-employment with the company but in a different but similar role; o 3. Damages to compensate your actual loss up to a maximum of two years salary. As employment law issues can be very complex and case specific we suggest an immediate consultation to consider a potential claim.

10 4. What is the procedure for making a personal injury claim? If you have been involved in an accident or suffered a personal injury and you wish to make a claim, the first step is to make an application to the Injuries Board (formerly PIAB). This is required by law. The Injuries Board requires the Claimant to fill out a detailed form, submit a formal medical report and to pay a fee of C. M. Haughey will deal with all aspects of this application on your behalf, ensuring your application is fully prepared and properly presented. The Injuries Board is a Statutory Body and only deals with claims where liability is not in dispute. If your claim cannot be dealt with by the Injuries Board or you are unhappy with the level of compensation offered we will prepare your case for the next stage (Court Proceedings) and deal with the Defendant s insurers/legal representatives on your behalf. We will guide you through the paperwork, advise you of the steps required and ensure that your instructions are acted upon at all stages. It is important to note that the majority of cases settle out of Court. In order to claim compensation for personal injury medical evidence in the form of medical reports is required. We will arrange to have you medically examined by an appropriate doctor, usually your own treating doctor, for the purpose of obtaining a medical report. It is standard procedure for the Defendant s insurers to also have you medically examined by their own doctors. Depending on the complexity and severity of your injuries we may need you to be seen by other doctors with a particular area of expertise. This is to ensure that each and every aspect of your personal injury is fully investigated. For example, a person who has been involved in a serious road traffic accident in addition to having suffered physical injuries may find themselves suffering from associated nightmares, flashbacks and general upset many months after. This is recognised as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a severe psychological reaction which should not go untreated. The cost of medical reports can vary. As part of our professional

11 commitment to you we do cover the cost of additional expert medical reports required. In cases where we believe or are made aware at an early stage that liability will be in dispute, we advise bringing in the expert services of an Engineer. We will engage the Engineer on your behalf at no extra cost. For example, in an accident at work case where a defective machine requires a technical inspection; or where a local authority denies that it is responsible for a hole in the footpath; or where there is a dispute as to how a road traffic accident came about. The function of the Engineer in such cases is to inspect the scene of the accident, take official photographs and prepare a detailed report addressing the issue of liability. Involving an Engineer early in your case can strengthen the likelihood of success. What is Medical Negligence? In relation to medical negligence generally this is the failure of a Doctor, Consultant or any other medical personnel to meet certain standards of care relating to the medical profession. These standards are commonly based on what a reasonable doctor with the requisite knowledge and skills would or would not do. In other words it is the medical professional s failure to exercise reasonable medical judgment in a particular case. Unlike in other professions, negligence by a doctor, physician, consultant, midwife or other medical professional can have dire consequences for the patient and their family. Although health professionals have a duty of care towards their patients, when something goes wrong the medical fraternity tends to become highly elusive and defensive. In Ireland taking medical negligence claims is often the only way to learn precisely what went wrong with your treatment. Medical negligence claims in Ireland are very complex. The outcome of a case will often depend on whether the action taken or not taken by the professional is deemed unreasonable in the circumstances. This can be difficult to prove, which is why it is essential that a qualified and experienced legal team be engaged for medical negligence claims. The first step required for considering a claim for medical negligence (dental, cosmetic or in relation to the provision of a health service) is to take up the relevant medical records from the doctor or hospital concerned. The records will initially be analysed by us and then sent to an appropriate medical expert to consider the question of negligence. In our experience the choosing of a suitable medical expert is best done from outside the jurisdiction. This is to ensure objectivity, independence and impartiality.

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13 5. Will I have to go to Court? Most claims are dealt with through the Injuries Board. If Court Proceedings are necessary our team will ensure your claim is fully prepared for a Court Hearing. Preparing for Court involves the appointment of a Barrister from our established panel. In reality the vast majority of cases settle outside of Court either at a pre-arranged Settlement Meeting or on the day of the Court Hearing. Along with your appointed Barrister we will advise you as to the adequacy of any offer of settlement made and the decision to accept an offer of settlement will be entirely yours. We also ensure that Clients are in a position to make an informed decision whether in relation to an offer of settlement or proceeding to Court and it is our job to give you the best advice possible based upon our experience. 6. Minors Persons under the age of 18 are seen as minors by the law. Cases can be taken on behalf of minors by a next friend who is usually a parent or guardian. Any settlement of a case involving a minor must be approved by the Court. The compensation is then held in a Court bank account and becomes available with a Court rate of annual interest when the minor reaches the age of How long will the process take? The length of time it takes to finalise a case will vary and will depend on a number of factors including whether liability is in dispute, the nature and extent of the injuries and how long it takes you to recover. Most cases conclude within 18 months to 2 years however more serious cases can take longer. Once the medical picture in your case has been established it is possible to give a time-frame.

14 8. What is the cost involved? C. M. Haughey operates on the basis of no win no fee in personal injury cases. This means we do not charge any fees unless and until your case is successful i.e. you have received compensation. Once we have taken on your case we will write to you with the details of our fees, or an estimate of our fees, or the basis upon which our fees will be calculated which is generally based upon an hourly rate. PLEASE NOTE - *In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement* * This statement is made in compliance with regulation 8 of the S.I. 518 of In some instances you may be required to pay certain interim expenses, for example attending medical appointments or discharging other fees due for services provided by experts deemed necessary as part of your case. If this arises it will be decided when we initially assess your case and complexities of the issues involved. At the end of your case our bill of costs will set out a summary of the legal work done on your behalf, the total amount of the Court award or Settlement recovered from the Defendants and details of any charges recovered from the Defendant Party.

15 If your case is successful and the Defendant Party is ordered by the Court or agrees to pay costs, we will inform you of how much they are willing to pay towards your total costs. We will endeavour to recover as much of the costs as possible from the Defendant Party however ultimately you are responsible for paying your bill and any shortfall that may arise. Shortfalls can and do arise for example where we have discharged the cost of expert medical reports, the full extent of which are not recoverable. Disputes in relation to fees can be referred to a court official called the Taxing Master who will decide what costs and charges should be paid by the Defendant Party. C. M. Haughey has an excellent record of success, which is why we are in a position to offer a no win no fee service however there are circumstances in which you may have to pay some or all of the Defendant Party s cost; If you lose the case; If you refuse the money paid into court by the Defendant and the court later awards you less money; The court tells you that you must pay the other Defendants costs; It is part of a Settlement Agreement. The matter of costs and fees generally is dealt with by Section 68 of the Solicitors (Amendment) Act 1994, a detailed summary of which is contained in the Law Society handout we enclose with all letters to clients confirming receipt of instructions.

16 Contact Us Contact our experienced team to arrange a call back or consultation. Phone: C. M. Haughey Solicitors Christchurch Hall High Street Dublin 8

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