Polish Lawyers and Solicitors in Dublin

Road Traffic Accident with uninsured or unknown driver

What happens if I am hit by an uninsured or untraceable driver?

When you are involved in a road traffic accident you would hope that the responsible party would stop at the scene and you would exchange contact and valid insurance details. However, this is not always the case and if you have been involved in an accident resulting in material damage or personal injuries by a driver that is either uninsured or untraceable you may be unsure of how to proceed.

MIBI

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) was established by the government in 1955 and is currently regulated by the 2009 Agreement. Their main objective is to compensate victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles.

What MIBI can help with

In respect of uninsured drivers, the MIBI Agreement provides for the following;

  • Payment of compensation for personal injury claims in respect of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured vehicles.
  • Payment of compensation of vehicle/property claims where the alleged offending vehicle can be identified by means of a valid registration plate.
  • Where the vehicle cannot be identified, the MIBI has no liability to pay compensation for vehicle/property damage except in circumstances where there are significant personal injuries arising from the same accident.

In respect of unidentified drivers, the MIBI Agreement provides for the following;

  • Payment of compensation for personal injury claims in respect of road traffic accidents caused by unidentified vehicles.
  • Agreement does not extend to vehicle or property damage caused by unidentified vehicles unless very serious injuries have also been sustained in the same accident.

What you should do

If you have been involved in a road traffic accident caused by an uninsured or unidentified driver it is important to get as many details as you can from the scene and contact a Solicitor as soon as possible. The Solicitor will be able to advise the appropriate course of action which may include making a claim to the MIBI.

 

Parental leave -what’s new

The Parental (Amendment) Act 2019

Parental leave is entirely separate to maternity benefit and entitles both parents to take unpaid leave from work to spend time looking after their children. Eligible parents may avail of unpaid Parental Leave additional to their paid Maternity Leave and paid statutory Annual Leave in order to assist them in raising their young families while maintaining their employment.

Parental leave can be used in a variety of ways; a continuous period of leave, two separate blocks (must be a minimum of 6 weeks each) or if your employer consents, it may be split into working days and/or hours.

Your employer cannot refuse parental leave to an eligible parent. While you are not entitled to be paid during this leave, you are still employed and all other employment rights will stand.

The Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 introduces several changes to parental entitlements in this area. Prior to this amendment, eligible parents were entitled to 18 weeks of unpaid leave per eligible child and the leave had to be taken prior to the childs eighth birthday.

What’s new

The main changes introduced by the 2019 act which came into effect from the 1st of September 2019 are as follows;

  • Parents can now avail of 22 weeks of unpaid Parental Leave per eligible child (increased from 18 weeks).
  • The age of eligible children is increased from 8 years to 12 years, meaning the leave must can now be taken up to the date of the childs 12th

Further changes

From September 2020 the act will allow for 26 weeks of unpaid parental leave per eligible child. The increase is being introduced on a phased basis in order to allow employers to adapt to the change.

Ireland currently offers one of the lowest levels of Parental Leave in the E.U and these amendments aim to bring Ireland further in line with EU standards.

 

Employment Law – Prawo-pracy

Accident at work

Accidents in the Workplace

Under the Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act 2005, your employer has a duty of care to ensure your safety during working hours.  When you have an accident at work that results in injury, it is likely that this accident will be covered by your Employers Liability Insurance. This means that in the vast majority of cases, your employer won’t be personally liable for any compensation awarded for your injury should you choose to pursue a case for personal injury.

Often when people suffer injuries at work they are understandably reluctant to take legal action against their employer for fear of negative personal consequences or even that it may put their employment at risk. It is important for potential claimants to be aware that an employer cannot discriminate against an employee on the basis of pending litigation and any such behaviour could be sufficient grounds for a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission.

If you have suffered serious personal injuries as a result of an accident in your workplace it is advisable that you speak to a Solicitor as soon as possible. The Solicitor will be able to review the facts, consider any potential negligence and advise on the appropriate course of action in the circumstances. We advice to seek initial information within one month of the accident, as there is law which requires a letter to be send within 30 days form accident date advising of your intention to claim compensation.

personal injury letter of claim

Less Time for personal injury victim to start the case

Responsibility on Injured Party

Irish law places an obligation on a party initiating proceedings in respect of personal injuries to send a letter of claim in advance of the litigation. This letter sets out the basis of the alleged wrong and gives the Defendant an opportunity to admit liability. In reality, the function of this letter is to notify the defending parting that proceedings may be imminent.

Since 2004 the law has allowed the proposed Plaintiff a period of two months to serve a letter of claim, beginning from the date of the cause of action. If the Plaintiff failed to deliver the letter within such a period, ‘the court hearing the action may’ per Section 8 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004

‘’ (a) draw such inferences from the failure as appear proper, and
(b) where the interests of justice so require—
(i) make no order as to the payment of costs to the plaintiff, or
(ii) deduct such amount from the costs that would, but for this section, be payable to the plaintiff as it considers appropriate. ’’

The Amendment

As of the 19th of June 2019, Court rules now stipulate that the proposed Plaintiff has a period of one month only from the date of the cause of action in order to send the letter of claim. This places a greater responsibility on parties seeking to initiate a claim not to delay matters at the initial stages. Inferences can be drawn from a failure to serve the letter within one month or as soon as practicable thereafter and there can be financial consequences at the conclusion of the matter in respect of the awarding of costs.

The other significant aspect of this amendment is that under the previous legislation it stated that the Court ‘may’ consider the failure whereas under the new legislation it is stated the court ‘shall’ consider the failure, therefore the judicial discretion in this regard has been removed.

Consequences

The consequence of this amendment for Plaintiffs is that a failure to serve a letter of claim on the Defendant within one month will certainly be considered at the conclusion of the matter in the awarding of costs. Of course, if there is a legitimate reason for the delay the judge will take this into consideration but this does not remove the possibility that the Judge will either make no order as to the payment of costs or deduct certain amounts from the Plaintiffs costs.

What does this mean for personal injury victim? If you have suffered personal injury and intend on proceeding with a claim, it is very important that you do not delay in coming to your Solicitor after the injury occurs so that there is sufficient time to consider the merits of your case and if appropriate, deliver a letter of claim to the relevant parties in a timely fashion.

Important

Do not confuse a period of two years that injured party in general have to claim compensation for personal injury before their claim becomes statute barred. You still have that two year time limit to claim but there are potential financial consequences if a letter of claim is not sent within one month  from the date of accident/injury.

Trip & Fall on a public footpath yet again

A young Sportsman was recently awarded €51,936.02 following a trip on a public footpath on Lower Baggot Street, Dublin. This ruling may mark a slight departure from the court’s traditional reluctance to award damages for minor falls on public footpaths.

What Happened
The accident occurred on the 29th July 2014 when the Plaintiff was returning to work at the Shelbourne Hotel. While walking down the footpath he was caused to stumble when his right foot got caught adjacent to a cover over a chamber which was believed to have been fitted by Eircom. The Plaintiff did not fall to the ground but felt some pain and after composing himself returned to work.

Footpath but crucial is another element

In cases that occur on public footpaths, the most important thing to establish is who (if anyone) may be liable. In this case, the Plaintiff was not caused to trip by the path itself but rather a small hole that had formed around the poorly fitted cover. On this basis the Plaintiff sued Eircom as the party responsible for the upkeep of the chamber and cover and also Dublin City Council, being the Roads’ Authority for the relevant area.

Who is responsible

In his judgement, Mr Justice Barr identified that ‘the essential dispute in the case revolved around the question of which of the defendants was responsible for the concrete surround around the chamber cover’. Some conflicting propositions were put forward about who had fitted the poorly secured surround and there was some suggestion from the First Named Defendant that the Second Named Defendant may have taken the locus in charge at the time in order to complete these works. However, given the lack of documentary evidence in support of this assertion coupled with the first Named Defendants continuing obligations under the Telegraphs Act, the Judge was not satisfied that the Second Named Defendant had any liability in this case whatsoever.

Injured person should look where they walk?

In such cases, the Judge will always consider whether the injured party contributed to or even caused the accident by not acting with due attention and care for their own safety. This can be a significant consideration in relation to the assessment of liability in trip and fall cases. On the facts presented, the Judge felt that given the size of the hole, the Plaintiff could not have been reasonably expected to notice same as he walked along the path and consequently found no contributory negligence on the part of the Plaintiff.

The Judge ultimately found the First Named Defendant 100% liable for the accident and awarded damages in the sum of €51,936.02.

What slightly differentiates this case in terms of trip and falls on public paths is that responsibility for the precise accident locus was not found to rest with Dublin City Council, being the relevant Roads’ Authority. Nonetheless, this judgement opens the possibility of success in such cases where the relevant portion of the footpath creates a ‘substantial danger’ to pedestrians.

Polski Prawnik Dublin Personal Injury Law Odszkodowania

Be careful when suing MIBI

In essence if the uninsured driver is either known or can be tracked with use of some reasonable efforts, such responsible uninsured driver must be named in proceedings or otherwise the injured party risk losing their case and no compensation will be paid by MIBI.

Natalie Grimes V Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland

This recent judgement relates to the circumstances in which a case can be taken against the MIBI as a sole Defendant. The MIBI Agreement 2009, Section 6 states that such a case can only be taken where the third party responsible for the accident has been determined untraceable and thus cannot be sued.

In this case, the Plaintiff sued that MIBI as a sole Defendant on this basis, despite the responsible party being personally known to her for well over a decade as well as being the father of her child. The circumstances of this particular case are somewhat unusual but this is a defining judgement in terms of what it actually means to be ‘untraceable’ within the meaning of the MIBI agreement. It is clear that on this particular set of facts, the judge did not opine that the third party was untraceable under the MIBI agreement (Section 6). Of particular relevance was the fact that the inspecting Garda actually had several addresses for the relevant party which the judge felt could have been obtained by means of more persistent enquiry from the Plaintiff herself and more particularly from her Solicitor.

The function of the MIBI is to allow those who suffer as loss at the hands of an uninsured driver to seek compensation but this does not impose a responsibility to be listed as a sole defendant in circumstances where the responsible party is traceable and reasonable enquires would have confirmed that he was within the jurisdiction at the relevant time.

This judgement clarifies that Section 6 of the MIBI Agreement cannot be relied upon to solely impose liability on the MIBI for the payment of compensation for the personal injury or death of any person caused by the negligent use of a vehicle in a public place’ where sufficient efforts were not made to trace the responsible third party. The MIBI is not a tortfeasor and the courts will not tolerate them being treated as such.

 

 

 

Grandparents access

We all have to agree that grandparents are hugely important in the lives of our children and especially so where parents do not live together. They can and do provide invaluable love, care and support. Where a dispute arises it is open to the grandparent seek access to a child. It involves two applications. The first application is applying for leave to apply which involves asking the courts permission to apply for access to the child. The Court will have regard to the grandparents connection with the child, any risk of the application disrupting the life of the child or indeed any possibility that the child might come to harm. The Court will also have regard to the wishes of the child’s guardian(s). If the Court gives permission the grandparent can then go on to obtain a date for hearing in relation to the application for access. It should be noted that there is new legislation not yet commenced where under the new Child and Family Relationships Act 2015 a grandparent will be able to apply for guardianship in relation to a child in their case.

Maintenance and Rent Allowance

 

There are huge practical difficulties before the District Court in relation to couples breaking up in a non-marital situation where an unmarried mother becomes entirely dependent on the father of her child for support. Where the relationship ends suddenly for whatever reason the District Court Judge will have serious practical difficulties in measuring and making an order for the right amount of maintenance. If the judge orders the maximum maintenance allowable in the District Court of €650 per month and an application is pending from the mother for rent allowance that sum may be taken into account by the Department and most of it could be eaten up by the rent allowance living little or nothing to support the child of the relationship. It appears that the more the father can afford the worse of the child will be – particularly if the father is not minded to providing support other that as directed by the Court. The Judge has no power to compel the father to pay the rent for any period of time thus allowing an adjustment period while the mother can secure alternative means of support for herself and the child. It appears that the mother may have the option of applying for legal aid through a Law Centre and seeking maintenance for herself under the new cohabitants legislation where the parties have a child and have lived together for more than two years. Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to test this yet as Private Practitioners are not authorised to represent clients in the Circuit Court leaving the mother with an awful dilemma where she can only seek maintenance for the child and may or may not be able to survive given that the maintenance will not pay the rent but will be wholly eaten up by the rent allowance leaving little or nothing to live on. This situation may well leave mothers and their children with no other alternative but to rely on sheltered accommodation where spaces are few and far between. It is vital to remember though that a mothers custodial rights in Ireland it appears are not in any way diminished by her having to resort to seeking sheltered accommodation.

Agency workers win a case for equal back pay

With the EC Directive and its Irish implementation introduced in 2012, all agency workers were to receive the same rates of pay as the direct employees. Our clients were ensured by their agency that they will be paid back their money for the year 2012. Agency ensured them for a long time, until in August 2013, when they chose to bring their case to the employment courts.

Read more “Agency workers win a case for equal back pay”

Structural survey- what is it and why it is important

We always advise our clients when purchasing a second hand property to carry out a structural survey. A structural survey is different from the Valuation that the Bank will carry out as the valuation by the bank only relates to how much the property is worth not the condition it is in.

Read more “Structural survey- what is it and why it is important”