In recent weeks, there has been much controversy surrounding the compensation culture that exists in Ireland relating to Personal Injury Claims. Maria Bailey’s claim is only one of a number of cases that have come under the spotlight and ultimately failed.
It is evident that the incentive is present in society for persons to take claims in circumstances where their injuries may not be worthy of compensation or in some circumstances do not exist at all. Currently, Ireland compensates persons who are successful in personal injury claims at a rate far higher than the UK.
Judges should be praised for their recent efforts to filter out cases that have no merit or could not possibly have led to the injuries allegedly suffered. It is important that there is a deterrent to persons who unscrupulously take claims or serial litigants who bring multiple claims.
In spite of the above, there is a concern that many solicitors who practice in the area of personal injuries litigation resulting from this recent trend with compensation culture. A genuinely injured person is of course entitled to bring legal action and certainly, they should do so if some responsibility for their injury lay with a third party. It is not uncommon for solicitors to come across persons who have been genuinely injured to a significant extent by the acts of a third party and they are reluctant to take a case and are worried about taking an action and feel that they shouldn’t.
They do not seem to think about the potential losses to themselves and the shortfall in income that they may suffer or their future condition resulting from the injury. The recent Maria Bailey case has led to a change in attitude around personal injury cases which was needed, but a side effect of same should not be that a genuinely injured individual feels they should not take a personal injury action because of fear of condemnation.
It is fundamental that all personal injury claimants are not tarred with the one brush and that any stigma about bringing such claims is not allowed to take hold and prevent the genuinely injured from bringing a justifiable claim.
The timeline for bringing a personal injury claims is typically two years from the date the incident occurred but this may be extended in certain circumstances.