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 Charity 2018  

Case Study of a Family who suffered Personal Injuries as a consequence of a Road Traffic Accident

This case is not real and has been created to demonstrate the type of Personal Injury cases that we are currently undertaking at Malcomson Law. The names and details in the case study are fictitious.

Background Information
Name: Mary and John
Age: 32
Marital Status: Married
Children: two (aged 7 and 3)
Occupation: Carpenter (John), Book Keeper (Mary)

John and Mary's Story
John and Mary are both 32 and have been married for 10 years and have two children, aged seven and three. John works as a carpenter, and is self-employed. Mary works as a part-time book keeper three mornings a week for a local builder.

One day, Mary drove into town with John to meet some friends for Sunday lunch. As they came to a dangerous junction, Mary stopped and checked for oncoming traffic. As the junction was on a sharp bend, Mary checked carefully before progressing out onto the road. In the meantime, a car came upon them around the bend, travelling at a high speed on the wrong side of the road. Mary did not have a chance to take action and the car ran into the side of her car.

Road Traffic Accident - Injuries suffered
The injuries that Mary suffered as a result of the accident were as follows:

She briefly lost consciousness

Suffered injuries to her head, neck and abdomen.


The injuries that John suffered as a result of the accident were as follows:

Injuries to his head, collar bone, sternum and leg
John suffered injuries to his head, collar bone, sternum and leg.

They were kept overnight in hospital but were discharged the next day and returned home. Both parties were given follow up appointments with consultants. Both were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.

Loss of Earnings
John's work was severely affected by the accident and he was unable to work for five weeks. When he finally returned to work, he was unable to work at the rate he had been working at previously and as a consequence, his profits have been greatly reduced.

Psychological Injuries
Mary is terrified to leave the house as she continues to have flashbacks about the accident and is overly protective of her husband and children. She has given up work due to her psychological problems.

Legal Advice provided to John and Mary
Six months later, John and Mary approached Malcomson Law for legal advice and to ascertain their legal entitlements as a result of the accident. They are not barred from taking a claim by the Statute of Limitations as they contacted Malcomson Law within 2 years of the accident occurring. However, the legislation states that a letter of intention to bring a claim should be sent as soon as practicable. If they had approached a solicitor after two years from the date of the accident, they would have been statute-barred, or alternatively, they would have had to show that they were unable to instruct a solicitor, in order to overcome the statute issue.

Taking a claim - how Malcomson Law proceeded
The solicitor drafts a letter of claim setting out the allegations against the driver. The driver passes this letter to his insurance company and the company nominate solicitors to represent them. These solicitors write to John and Mary's solicitor indicating that they have been nominated by the insurance company and they deny liability.

John and Mary's solicitor writes to the Gardai Siochana to obtain the accident report and the Garda abstract report in the matter.

Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB)
John and Mary's solicitor submits claims on behalf of John and Mary to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB). The solicitor advises that, as liability is denied, John must name Mary as defendant to allow him to recover the full amount of his claim, in the event of success. The solicitor also advises that John should seek separate advice in relation to his claim.

High Court Proceedings
The Personal Injuries Assessment Board cannot assess the case within the time frame allocated by the legislation and issue an authorisation for both John and Mary's claims. This authorisation is required in order to issue proceedings in the High Court against the driver of the other car (and in John's case, Mary).

John and Mary's solicitor issues Personal Injuries Summonses in the Central Office of the High Court on behalf of each of them, which details the Particulars of Negligence and the Particulars of Injury. These summonses are served on the solicitor for the insurance company who accepts service and files an appearance on behalf of the insurer. The legislation obliges those taking a claim to also file an Affidavit of Verification with the Personal Injuries Summons, which verifies the assertions made in the pleadings.

Their solicitor then raises a Request for Further Information (formally known as a Notice for Particulars) in response to the Personal Injuries Summons. Once John and Mary's solicitor has furnished the relevant information, she writes to the insurer's solicitor seeking their defence. A defence which denies each count of the Personal Injuries Summons is delivered to John and Mary's solicitor. An Affidavit of Verification is filed by the defendant at this point.

Medical Assessments
The solicitor organises medical appointments for both John and Mary to be assessed by their medical advisors. The solicitor also arranges appointments with a psychiatrist and a vocational assessor in order to estimate both the psychological impact of the accident upon them and the impact that the accident has had upon their careers. These reports will be the basis of the general damages in the case.

Financial Report from Forensic Accountant
The solicitor also engages a forensic accountant and an actuary to examine the past losses and future loss of earnings of John and Mary. These losses, together with any cost incurred by John and Mary as a result of the accident, such as scans, consultant visits etc, will form part of the special damages. As John and Mary have retained receipts from their out-of pocket expenses, there is documentation to vouch the special damages claimed.

John and Mary's solicitor prepares the case for hearing in which the principal issue is the value of the case. After the case has been called on for hearing and a date has been set, the insurer's solicitor makes an approach regarding settlement of the case.

Settlement Talks
The parties meet in Four Courts in Dublin to negotiate a settlement, if possible. The actuarial figures are quite high and are disputed by the insurer's solicitor. He points out that, in particular, Mary has not taken enough action to mitigate her loss and therefore she cannot be entitled to the amounts she is seeking.

The parties eventually agree an amount which is acceptable to both sides, together with legal costs of John and Mary. The amount is in full and final settlement of the case and no further action may be taken by John or Mary on foot of the case. Had the case gone to hearing, it would have been reasonable to expect this amount to be awarded by the court and therefore the settlement is a satisfactory one for John and Mary.

Contact Specialist Law Firm
If you, or someone you care about, have been affected by an accident that resulted in a personal injury, it is important that you choose a legal team with the knowledge, expertise and skill in the area of personal injuries and work accidents that Malcomson Law can offer. Personal Injury claims are extremely complex, which is why you should have the experienced legal team of Malcomson Law representing you.