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What is a Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury* claim is a legal case in which the claimant has suffered an injury or illness because of the actions or negligence of another person or entity.

The claim serves to seek compensation from the responsible party for damages caused by the injury, for example medical fees or loss of wages due to missing work.

How do I know if my claim is eligible?

The best way to find out if you have a claim worth pursuing is to contact a personal injury solicitor, who will be able to discuss your claim and advise on whether you can raise a claim.

Overview of Common Terms

If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, you may come across some unfamiliar terms, or terms you may have heard before but don’t fully understand. To help ease any confusion, we have outlined some of the most common terms that may crop up: 

  • A personal injury is an injury of a person’s body, mind or emotions.
  • In a personal injury claim case, the claimant or plaintiff is the person who suffered the injury. 
  • The defendant is the person or entity (such as an organisation) who is responsible for the injury. This party may also be referred to as the respondent.
  • The Personal Injury Assessment Board (PIAB), also called the Injuries Board, is the statutory body that assesses personal injury claims. All personal injury claims, apart from medical negligence claims, must be submitted to the PIAB.
  • There are two types of damages that can be incurred due to a personal injury. General damages are non-economic costs associated with the injury, such as emotional distress. Special damages are the economic costs incurred due to the injury, such as medical fees. This includes any future costs that the claimant will incur, such as ongoing medical fees due to long-term injury.
  • Contributory negligence is a term referring to situations in which the claimant is partially responsible for their injury. You may still raise a claim in this instance.
  • Letter of Claim is sent by the claimant to the defendant. It provides details of the accident and invites the defendant to propose compensation procedures. This letter needs to be served to the defendant within 2 months of the accident.
  • The date of knowledge is the date on which the plaintiff discovered they were injured. This may be the same date as the accident, however some injuries may take some time to develop. Claims must be made within 2 years of the date of knowledge. This 2 year period is called the statute of limitations. If you do not file your claim within this period, you will be statute barred, meaning you are prohibited from raising a claim.
  • If you are making a personal injury claim, you will likely be required to submit a medical report from your GP or the medical practitioner who treated your injury.

What are the most common types of personal injury claims?

According to the PIAB Annual Report 2021, 18% of personal injury claims were public liability claims, 13% were employers liability, and 69% were motor liability. (Source)

Road Accidents*

Road accidents claims* pertain to any type of injury sustained on the road by road users including motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Accidents include: 

  • Car accidents*
  • Pedestrian accidents*
  • Rear-end or side-impact collisions*
  • Bicycle accidents*
  • Motorcycle accidents*
  • Accidents due to poorly maintained roads*
  • Bus accidents*
  • Hit and run Accidents*
  • Accidents on the motorway*
  • Passenger accidents*

Work Accidents*

Employers have a duty of care to their employees. If employees sustain an injury in the workplace due to the employer’s failure to fulfil this duty of care, the employee may raise a work accident* claim, also known as an employer liability* claim.

These may include:

  • Construction site accidents*
  • Farm accidents*
  • Dangerous or faulty machinery accidents*  
  • Health and safety violations*
  • Accidents caused by poor lighting*
  • Ladder accidents*
  • Repetitive strain injuries*
  • Faulty personal protective equipment*
  • Manual handling injuries*

Public Claims*

Property and business owners, councils, and government bodies have a responsibility to ensure that any public space that they own is safe for public use.

If someone is involved in an accident in one of these spaces and sustains an injury because the area was not fit for public use, they would have grounds to raise a public claim.

Common public accident* claims include:

  • Slips, trips and falls in public places*
  • Car park accidents*
  • Accidents caused by a poorly maintained footpath, public park or a hazardous public space*
  • Food poisoning from a restaurant*
  • Accidents caused by spillages or wet floors*

Common causes of these kinds of accidents include:

  • Damaged pavements/footpaths
  • Untreated roads, footpaths, cycle paths during winter
  • Failure to display ‘wet floor’ signs in supermarkets
  • Tripping over 

Exceptions to the PIAB process

There are a couple of exceptions to the PIAB emit to assess all Personal Injuries* Actions.

For exclusive psychological or psychiatric injuries, the Board will not assess such claims. However, where there is a psychological or psychiatric element to a personal injury claim, it is often the case that the Board will proceed to make an assessment in this matter.

At Martin A. Harvey & Co. Solicitors, we have been helping people for decades to navigate personal injury* claims. If you have been injured due to someone else’s wrongdoing, we can help you with the claims process. Contact us on 021-496 3400 or maharvey@martinharvey.ie.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

**Please note that the PIAB may allow you to take your claim straight to the courts without an assessment ‘if your injury consists wholly or in part of psychological damage which would be difficult to assess by means of PIAB’s assessment procedures’. (Source)

Are You Eligible for the Help-to-Buy Scheme?

The Government’s announcement regarding the extension of the Help-to-Buy Scheme means that prospective homeowners can continue to apply for financial assistance in purchasing a new home until the end of 2022.

If you’re thinking of applying, there are a number of eligibility requirements that you will need to bear in mind. To help you understand this process, we’ve put together a short guide which will give you a better understanding of the scheme.

What is the Help-to-Buy Scheme?

The purpose of the scheme is to assist first-time buyers to purchase new residential builds, or to self-build a residential property. The incentive has assisted many prospective homeowners to get started on the property ladder and has encouraged increased activity in the construction industry. 26,744 claims have been approved on the scheme so far. (Source)

During the unveiling of Budget 2022 on 12th October, the government announced that present scheme rates will remain until the end of 2022.

What are the requirements?

To be eligible for the scheme, you must be a first-time buyer of a newly built apartment or house, or you must be undertaking the self-build of a residential property. The purchase or build must take place between 19th July 2016 and 31st December 2022. As of 1st January 2017, the help-to-buy incentive has applied to properties worth €500,000 or less (Source). Investment properties do not qualify, nor do cash-bought properties. However, properties that are inherited or gifted are eligible. (Source)

Under the scheme, if you are purchasing a new build, you must take out a mortgage of at least 70% of the buying price. If it is a self-build, the mortgage must be 70% of the mortgage provider’s valuation. The purchaser must also reside in the property for a minimum of 5 years after it is bought or built. Revenue has provided a list of developers and contractors that are approved for the scheme.

In July 2020, the maximum refund amount was increased, and this will now be extended until 31st December 2022. To qualify for this enhanced relief, you must have either signed a contract for the purchase of a new house or have drawn down a mortgage for a self-build between 23rd July 2020 and 31st December 2022. (Source)

If you qualify, you can claim a rebate on your income tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) for the previous four tax years. Successful applicants will receive 10% of the property value, or €30,000, whichever is the lower amount. (Source) (Source)

How do I apply?

You can apply online through myAccount or Revenue Online Service, where you will have to fill out a Form 12 Tax Return. As part of your application, you will be required to provide the contract for your new home, which you can acquire from your solicitor. You will also need to provide details of the property, including its purchase price and completion date. Details of your mortgage lender, your mortgage, and your property developer should also be submitted with your application. If your claim is approved, the refund will be provided to the developer, and then deducted from the price of the property. (Source)

If you would like a personal consultation regarding your application for the Help-to-Buy Scheme, our experienced team would be happy to help. Contact us by calling 021 427 1006, freephone 1800 396396, or email maharvey@martinharvey.ie.

CAMHS Misdiagnosis

In April 2021, the HSE stated that it was reviewing the files of over 1,500 children and adolescents who had received care between 2016 and 2020 at Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) South Kerry. This was a result of concerns and CAMHS misdiagnosis claims that had been raised as a results of the care given to a number of patients.

The parents have recently been informed that their child’s mental health issue was misdiagnosed and consequently, they may have been prescribed incorrect medication over an extended period.

Martin A. Harvey & Co Solicitors understands that there may be over 1,500 children from all over South Kerry who attend CAMHS and have been impacted by this prolonged misdiagnosis. Such failures are likely to have a detrimental effect on those who have been misdiagnosed and administered incorrect medication over a long period of time.

We have instructions on behalf of a number of families who have been affected. Please contact William Harvey of our offices for an initial consultation and advice on 021 4963400, complete the contact form here or email William directly at William.harvey@martinharvey.ie.

Apology by Department Of Children

Apology issued by Department Of Children after negligent data breach of those who attended mother and baby redress meetings

An apology has been issued by the Department Of Children after email addresses of 18 people were unintentionally shared with other participants attending the Online Consultation regarding redress for Mother and Baby Homes.

Reports detail that the incident occured due to an unplanned error concerning diary invites which were sent through the video meeting platform Zoom, for two Online Consultation Meetings on Monday the 22nd of March.

18 individuals were affected by the breach concerning the online invites sent out on the 19th of March to those due to attend the Consultations.

OAK, who were hired to oversee the public consultation process, notified the department on Monday of the breach and the department’s Data Protection Officer was informed.

Oak has discontinued the use of this invite function with all invitations for future consultations to be distributed on an individual basis.

if you would like to receive more information contact us at Martin A.Harvey & Co.Solicitors on 021-4963400 freephone or email us at maharvey@martinharvey.ie

Mother and Baby Home Redress Scheme

The devastation of Mother and Baby Homes came to light in January 2021 with final reports detailing shocking conditions, abuse and infant mortality.

The report contains a number of recommendations including a financial plan to compensate survivors.

For many, the next step will be to seek legal advice for details of compensation entitlements.

The expected plan will be similar to the Residential Institutions Compensation plan and the Magdalene Laundries plan.

A consultation period for development of the proposed plan is now open for submissions.

The findings will be recorded and sent in a report to the Interdepartmental Group, who will develop proposals for the compensation plan for Government consideration.

We are monitoring the development of the compensation plan and expected dates of implementation.

We at Martin A. Harvey & Co.Solicitors have specialised expertise with these situations and have dedicated legal staff on hand to advise survivors who may be entitled to apply for compensation under the new plan.

If you would like to receive information and updates please contact us at Martin A.Harvey & Co.Solicitors on 021-4963400 freephone, email us at maharvey@martinharvey.ie or contact us on our online contact form

COVID-19 – Where do employees stand?

In light of the unprecedented situation facing us at the moment, many employees have unfortunately found themselves self-isolating, on sick leave, laid off or on reduced hours. If you find yourself in this situation, you should be aware of your employee rights and the supports available to you.

Temporary Layoff

A layoff occurs when an employer is temporarily unable to provide an employee with work.

Many contracts of employment specifically provide for such a situation and state that such layoffs will be unpaid. In the event that there is no contractual provision, employers may be able to rely on an implied right based on custom and practice in the organisation, industry or even trade.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment provides support for the self-employed or employees who are laid off temporarily without pay due to the COVID- 19 pandemic for a 12-week period. You should apply for the new social welfare payment payments via MyWelfare.ie.

Alternatively, Employers can avail of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme which has replaced the Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme. The scheme allows an employer to keep you on payroll and provides a refund to eligible employers of up to 70% of an employee’s wage up to a maximum of €410 per week. You should discuss the possibility of the application of this scheme directly with your employer.

Short Time

If you were placed on short-time working (i.e. reduced hours) as a result of COVID-19, you may apply for Short Time Work Support Payment. The entitlement to this payment is based on your PRSI record and the number of days you are not working. To qualify, you must have been previously working full-time and now working 3 days or fewer per week.

Redundancy

Ordinarily, if layoff or short time continues for 4 weeks or more or for 6 weeks in a period of 13 weeks, an employee may serve written notice of intention to claim redundancy on his/her employer. During the COVID-19 emergency period, which is set as 13 March – 31 May 2020 but could be extended, you will not be able to claim redundancy from your employer if you were laid off or put on short-time work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Self-Isolation/Diagnosis of COVID-19

If you have been directed to self-isolate or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a doctor, you may apply for an Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment of €350 per week for up to two weeks. You must be confined to your home or a medical facility in order to be eligible.

Your doctor must provide a medical certificate regarding the self-isolation or diagnosis to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to commence the application process. Then you will need to complete an Illness Benefit Application Form (IB1).

An employee’s right to sick pay from their employer depends on their individual contract of employment. Employers are not legally obliged to pay employees during sick leave unless it is a term (expressed or implied, depending on the circumstances) of the employee’s contract.

How do I access the various payments/benefits?

Where possible, apply online or by post for the various payments and benefits. Calling into the Intreo offices should be avoided for social distancing reasons as they are expected to be busy.

Useful External Links/Contacts

The application form for COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
Applications for Jobseekers Payments can be made on www.mywelfare.ie
Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment application forms are available by contacting 1890 800 024 or by requesting a friend or family member to collect one from your GP surgery/local Intreo Office.
An Income Support Helpline for COVID-19 can be reached at 1890 800 024/ 01 248 1398

Employees and employers should monitor the situation and the Government and Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s updates regularly as further information may become available and measures may change.

For further information, please contact the team at Martin A. Harvey & Co. Solicitors on 021 496 3400, email us at maharvey@martinharvey.ie or contact us via our website.

Buying a home? Here’s what you need to know

If you’re actively looking to buy a new home, now’s the time to seek out a property conveyancing solicitor — they handle the legal transfer of property ownership. A solicitor works in your best interest to oversee the legality of the sale and to ensure the protection of your legal interests during the entire transaction. For many people, this will be their first real experience of engaging with a solicitor. Here’s what you can expect.

Agree of sale

The conveyance usually begins at the office of the auctioneer. As a purchaser, you will be required to pay a booking deposit for the house to an auctioneer. As this is not a binding agreement, the deposit is fully refundable. Your next step is to instruct a trusted solicitor like Martin A Harvey & Co. Solicitors to act on your behalf in the sale of the property. If the property is not new, your solicitor should advise you to have a full structural and planning survey carried out by a qualified architect or engineer. This is an essential step as ‘Buyer Beware’ still operates as the law today. So once the contracts are signed, you agree to take the property as it was at the time of the sale.

Dealing with your bank

The seller’s solicitors will draft Contracts for Sale for the property and send them, along with the Title Deeds, to your solicitor. If you’re taking out a mortgage, the financial institution will generally require you to instruct a solicitor as the bank will send the mortgage documents directly to them for review and your signature.

The pre-contract enquiries

Your solicitor will then investigate the title documents for issues relating to planning and environment searches, rights of way, or the responsibility for maintaining the property’s roads and services. Once the contracts are signed, you will obtain a ‘good marketable title’ to the property. This is a key condition of the financial institution for their loan offer as it means there will be no issues if you wish to sell the property later.

Contract of sale

The solicitors on both sides of the sale help negotiate the terms of the contract. After all terms have been agreed to and the title to the property thoroughly investigated, then the contract is signed. Now both parties are bound to complete the sale. This is when you pay a ‘contract deposit’— generally agreed as being 10% of the purchase price of the property less the booking deposit. A closing date for the sale will be agreed between the parties. In addition, your solicitor contacts the lending institution on your behalf for the drawdown of the loan funds. Note, the financial institution will often require you to take out life and home insurance policies before releasing the funds.

Closing the sale

On closing day, the seller’s solicitor will carry out ‘closing searches.’ These are Judgement, bankruptcy, Revenue and Sheriff searches which are carried out on both you and seller. Once satisfied with the results of the searches, your solicitor will release the balance of the purchase price to the seller’s solicitor. Then you’re given the keys, and you can now officially move in!

Stamp Duty & Registration of Title

The final stage of the conveyancing process involves the stamping of the Transfer Deed and registering the title with the Property Registration Authority. If you are in need of a trusted property conveyancer, call Martin A. Harvey & Co. Solicitors at 021 496 3400 or email at maharvey@martinharvey.ie. We will be happy to assist you.

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