Acquired Brain Injuries Explained

brain injury claim compensation

Acquired Brain Injury can have a profound impact on the lives of those who suffer them, as well as their families and those close to them. Each injury effects everyone differently, making them complicated and sometimes difficult to treat.

Unlike brain damage caused at or before birth, an acquired brain injury is the result of an accident obtained in day-to-day life, rather than a birth complication.

For a visual guide to acquired brain injury, click on the below thumbnail to see our Acquired Brain Injury in Ireland infographic.


The Different types of Brain Injury: Ireland

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury is the most common form of acquired brain injury. Caused by an external impact to the head, the damage to the skull and brain can affect a person’s social behaviour, memory and physical abilities.

Traumatic brain injury in Ireland is often caused by road accidents, descents from great heights along with general trips and falls. The affects of these injuries can vary depending on the severity of the impact and which part of the brain is damaged.

Non-Traumatic Brain Injury

Unlike traumatic brain injuries, non-traumatic brain injuries are caused within the brain, as opposed to an external object penetrating or striking the head.  Illnesses and infections are a main cause of this kind of injury, such as encephalitis, a blood clot, an aneurism or a haemorrhage.

Many illnesses are associated with non-traumatic brain injury; meningitis, strokes and brain tumours can all cause injuries within the brain. Some surgical procedures can also damage the brain if they’re not executed correctly.

The Issue with Brain Tissue

When brain tissue is damaged, the cells don’t regenerate like cells in other parts of the body. This means that once damaged, the brain cannot repair itself. The damage from an acquired brain injury can cause emotional, cognitive and physical changes in a person and learning to cope with a sudden change in ability in any of these areas is extremely difficult.

Altered behaviour, memory loss and inability to complete skills learnt before the brain injury are common and instead of cell regeneration, the brain has to learn new ways, or paths, within itself to complete the same tasks as it did before the injury.

Rehabilitation is used to help patients explore these new paths. This is an on-going process, one that can be undertaken for a long period of time, sometimes lifelong and is dependent on the severity of the injury. Most commonly, individual rehabilitation sessions are used to help individuals overcome daily difficulties.

This is perhaps one of the biggest hurdles when living with an acquired brain injury and takes a huge amount of patience and persistence. However, there are dedicated groups and organisations in Ireland who can offer support and education.

Acquired Brain Injury in Ireland : The Infographic

We’ve created the below infographic to help explain acquired brain injury, the effects it can have, the treatments available and where you can find further support in Ireland.

Acquired Brain injury Ireland Infographic

Our sincere thanks go out to the team at Acquired Brain Injury Ireland who helped us create this infographic. Without them we wouldn’t have been able to create what we hope is a comprehensive and informative visual guide for people in Ireland who have encountered acquired brain injury in some form.

Acquired Brain Injury Support in Ireland

Acquired brain injury in Ireland is a growing issue, with 13,000 people acquiring a brain injury each year in Ireland. Although limited, Ireland is home to organisations that can offer support, education and research for people suffering with an acquired brain injury. You can find out more about the different services and support they offer below:

  • Acquired Brain Injury Ireland

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland - Brain Injury Compensation Acquired Brain Injury Irelands’ mission is to enable people with an Acquired Brain Injury to live an independent life in the community by providing and maintaining a supportive living environment.

Concentrating on a person-focused, tailor made programme, they offer rehabilitation that works to maximise a person’s abilities, whatever their individual requirements. They are also pioneers for awareness and information on acquired Brain Injury in Ireland, providing information for those affected by brain injury as well as the wider public. They also provide assisted and transitional living, case management and community rehabilitation. Find out more about what they can offer on their website.

  • Bri Ireland

Brí - Brain Injury Compensation Ireland
Meaning strength and understanding in Irish, Bri aim to promote self-support, medical care, rehabilitation, general public awareness about brain injury and brain injury prevention.

As part of their service, they offer phone and email support as well as support groups around Ireland. As a strong force of advocacy and understanding surrounding acquired brain injury, Bri are also the developers of the brain injury identity card, a card for users to show members of the public when they’re having difficulties communicating.

  • Headway

Headway - Acquired Brain Injury Compensation Ireland
Headway offers a range of services to those suffering with acquired brain injury, including support for their family members. They’re also able to offer training and educational support for sufferers hoping to get back into work or education.

They specialise in day rehabilitation, offering group and individual work to help get the most of out their sessions. Find out more about how they can help you on their website.

Acquired Brain injury Compensation Ireland

Brain injuries don’t only have a devastating effect socially, but they can also have a financial impact on a sufferer and their family. Preparing a home to support someone with an acquired brain injury can be expensive, along with any non-funded treatments and travel.

If your brain injury wasn’t your fault, and caused by negligence or an accident of any kind you could claim brain injury compensation.

Get in touch with one of our understanding solicitors today and find out how we can help. We understand how delicate brain injury is and will do our best to provide you with the best outcome. You can learn more about our processes and our solicitors here, and our personal injury* help page has more information on how we can help.

Alternatively, you can call us on 1890 989 289, email us on info@gibsonandassociates.ie/ or complete an Online Enquiry and we’ll be in touch with you shortly.

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

I had a fall at work can I claim*?

Fall At Work Claim

It’s reported that every working day seven people are injured in a slip, trip or fall at work, or on the way to work. This is the highest cause of injury in the workplace. The HSA estimates that around 29% of non-fatal injuries are a result of a slip, trip or fall at work.

Sometimes, we’re asked, “ What should I do after suffering a fall at work?”. So, below we’ve outlined a few informational points on common causes of falls at work, high-risk jobs, what to do after a fall at work/steps to take, whether you can claim for a fall in the workplace, and slips, trips and fall compensation.

Common causes of falls at work

Different industries will have different typical causes of fall or slips in the workplace, but usually, these can be categorised into failures in health & safety procedures or falls caused by employee carelessness.

Every employer has a duty of care to provide a safe work environment, and will usually identify hazards to lower or prevent the risk of accidents in the workplace. But, failures in health & safety procedures still occur. On the other hand, employee carelessness in the workplace is a contributory factor for some slips, trips and fall accidents. Most workplaces will implement employee training helping to prevent these accidents.

High-risk areas in the workplace for slips, trips and falls

There are reportedly places of higher risk for falls in the workplace, where more diligence is required. But, history does have a habit of repeating itself — so where slips, trips or falls have happened before, it is likely to happen again.

High risk areas include:

  • Steps and stairs. Every day someone has an accident on steps or stairwells, this most commonly happens while a person is walking down the steps and slips.
  • Wet surfaces or where liquids are stored or transported.
  • Mats, rugs or uneven floor coverings.

Dangerous Jobs

Sometimes jobs that we would think of as being high risk or dangerous e.g. mining, firefighting etc.,  aren’t necessarily the ones that cause the most accidents or injuries. Below is a list of the most dangerous jobs/industries in Ireland:

  • Farming
  • Construction
  • Vehicle garages
  • Manufacturing
  • Admin and support services
  • Transportation and storage
  • Health and social work

Farming is Ireland’s deadliest occupation. Farmers are 10 times more likely to be killed at work than any other profession. Most fatalities are caused by taking risks with machinery and animals. There are many tasks on the farm that poses a risk of slips, trips and falls, these are the largest cause of non-fatal accidents on the farm.

These include:

  1. Working at height
  2. Working on uneven or slippery surfaces
  3. Using ladders
  4. Getting on and off tractors
  5. Working in the milking shed
  6. Working with vats, tanks and silos
  7. Working with livestock.

The second most hazardous occupation is the construction industry. Much work has been done to create a health and safety first culture in the construction industry, but accidents and injuries are still high among sole traders and small firms. In 2017, a man died after falling from a ladder whilst working on a new house build.

HSA statistics:

“There were five fatal falls from height in 2016 and 2 in 2017. All involved small contractors or self-employed construction workers.”

“Falls, slips and trips were the main cause of non-fatal accidents in construction in 2017, with movements such as lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, bending and twisting the next most common cause.”

What to do after a fall

Firstly, if you or the person involved in the fall has an injury, you should seek medical help. You should be aware to that sometimes soft tissue injury symptoms don’t appear for a few days, so if you notice pain at a later date it might be best to get it checked out.  The doctor or hospital will complete a medical report; these reports are important and might be required at a later date.

Contact your employer

You need to inform your employer or supervisor of the accident and/or injury. There is likely to be a time limit on reporting an injury, so from a legal perspective, you need to report the incident as soon as possible. Sometimes this needs to be done in writing, so you should ask for the company procedure on reporting accidents.

Reporting the accident

Health, safety and welfare at work regulation in Ireland obliges all employers and self employed persons to reports all accidents and injuries, that caused the employee to be absent from work for more than three consecutive days, to the Health & Safety Authority.

The details of the fall accident should be recorded in your employer’s Accident Report Log including details of the injuries sustained. You should keep a copy of this report as you might require this information if a claim is made against your employer for negligence.

It might be useful to keep a diary of time and dates, eyewitness reports, photographs etc.

Common injury types from falls

A fall from heights is likely to cause the most serious of injuries. Out of non-fatal falls, the worst injuries are to the head, even what might appear to be a minor head injury needs medical attention — if there is swelling, bleeding or loss of consciousness treat it as a medical emergency.  One of the most devastating type of head injury is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), severity various but it can lead to permanent damage to the brain.

Other serious injuries from falls include back and spinal cord injuries, these injuries can cause serious pain and limited mobility, immediate medical attention should be sought if this injury is suspected. On the other end of the scale, injuries include shoulder dislocation a condition called brachial plexus injury. Injuries on the other end of the scale include: sprains and fractures, twisted knee, sprained ankle, arms or wrists. Slips, trips and falls mostly lead to some form of musculoskeletal injury, and/or cuts and bruises.

Injury Benefit

If your fall at work injury forces you to take leave from work, you might be eligible for injury benefit. The payment is provided under the occupational injuries benefit scheme, find out more information on the Citizens Information website.

Can I claim?

Your employer has a duty to provide a safe work environment for employees.  If you have suffered an injury physical or psychological due to someone else’s negligence, or hazardous work conditions, or inadequate equipment, you are entitled to claim compensation for pain and suffering caused. How do you know if you have a personal injury case?

Slips, trips and falls are common in the workplace and not all will be eligible for compensation. For a claim to be successful, negligence or blame must be established. There may be more than one employer involved in the negligence, this is where contributory negligence comes into play.

Contributory negligence also applies to the victim of the accident, i.e how the victim’s actions or lack of actions, led to the accident an example would be the injured party not wearing inappropriate footwear.

Case example: A shop manager in Dublin received €47,000 after suffering a knee injury from slipping on a wet floor in her work premises. Liability was admitted by the shop, so no assessment of contributory negligence was made.

It’s best to get your personal injury solicitor involved now, he/or she will talk you through your claim eligibility and the steps you need to take.

Where do I submit a claim?

Claims for slip, trips and falls are made through the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB), applications should be submitted along with your medical reports and the copy of your employer’s accident report. It’s recommended to hire a personal injury solicitor, they will take care of this application for you and all necessary documentation.

Fall at work claims should be initiated within two years of the accident occurring, this time period is legally known as the statute of limitations.

Fall at work compensation

Some people may feel reluctant to make a compensation claim against their employers because of fears of victimisation or workplace reprisals. But, you are protected against termination from employment, and if you are off work for any length of time, your employer does not have to pay you — so compensation awarded will help cover the loss of earnings.

Employers usually have employee liability insurance cover to protect their business, and to cover the cost of compensation, if a fall at work compensation claim is made against them.

Falls at work are common, so no matter where you work you should be vigilant of risks; not only risks of harm to yourself, but also of harm of others. Report hazards to your employer or health & safety officer. If you are unfortunate and have been injured in a fall, you are welcome to call our friendly and helpful personal injury solicitors, how will guide you on the best steps to take, if you have a personal injury* claim.

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

What is Medical Malpractice? And some examples that happened in Ireland.

Medical Malpractice Solicitor

Have you suffered an injury while receiving treatment under the care of a medical professional: doctor, dentist, nurse etc? You may have suffered a medical malpractice incident. But, this does not mean that all injuries caused by medical practitioners are a result of malpractice, it refers to injuries that are caused when a trained professional doesn’t execute his duties correctly.

This commonly happens if a medical practitioner breaches his duty of care to the patient, or does not practice at an expected standard of care. In other words, if the medical practitioner had adhered to a duty of care, then the injury would not have occurred.

You might also come across another term medical negligence. For the most part, medical malpractice and medical negligence (as terms) can be used interchangeably but there is a subtle difference… . (that is useful to know to help determine the type of legal case you have).

The difference is usually in the situations; medical malpractice usually relates to misconduct of a medical person performing as a professional e.g a dentist operating a tooth extraction, or a cosmetic surgeon performing a liposuction procedure. Misconduct is measured against the medical council guidelines.

Medical negligence arises from situations when your injury is caused by mistreatment or lack of treatment by a capable person: for example, if a patient is taken to the hospital with a broken leg but is given medication to treat a stomach ulcer then collapses as a result of side effects from the medication — this would be medical negligence by the doctor that assessed the patient, prescribed the medication, and the staff that administered the drugs without checking.

But, it must be noted that not all medical negligence acts result in an injury, and there may be many people involved in the negligent act. If there is an injury, a good personal injury solicitor will determine who is to blame.

Recently, we saw medical negligence on a large scale in the CervicalCheck scandal. The State Claims Agency (SCA) dealt with at least 31 cases of cancer misdiagnosis related to the national cervical screening programme.

Examples of Medical Malpractice Cases

Below are some medical malpractice instances that have resulted in compensation;

  • Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a condition; this is one of the more common medical malpractice claims. And, cancer is the condition most often misdiagnosed. You will often see these cases reported in the media. This was the source of the most costly payouts by the state in 2018: €158m was paid to victims of cancer misdiagnosis malpractice (payouts spiked by the CervicalCheck scandal).
  • Childbirth injuries. During delivery of a child, sometimes, sadly, things can go wrong. And, a lifelong serious injury for the child can result. One such instance is a condition called Cerebral Palsy, this condition prevents the child’s brain developing normally, and is caused by a lack of oxygen during the birthing process.  Compensation in these cases are significantly large, deservedly so, to help with costs of lifetime care.
  • Dental Malpractice cases are on the rise in Ireland, assumingly due to more people now visiting dentists, and demand for cosmetic procedures. One woman in Dublin was awarded €255,000 after she was left in excruciating pain from fitted braces that she did not require.
  • Medication errors are a common problem, especially in Irish hospitals. ‘In 2016 there were a total of 5,505 medication incidents reported across 50 acute hospitals, resulting in an average of 110 medication incidents per hospital.’ – State Claims Agency
  • Anaesthesia errors. A scary prospect is accidentally awaking during a surgery. Thankfully, this is a very rare occurrence; approximately 1 out of every 19,000 surgeries in Ireland and the UK.
  • Surgical error. From time to time, reports come in of medical-surgical error. Typical examples of these errors are incorrect body parts marked for surgery, or, objects (such as swabs) left in the body after surgery.
  • Cosmetic surgery malpractice. One cosmetic surgery clinic in Dublin faced dozens of legal actions for a variety of surgical errors and malpractices — one woman died of a gastric band operation that went wrong. The surgery, Advanced Cosmetic Surgery (ACS) Ltd., has since been wound up and sold.
  • The above is not an exhaustive list of medical malpractice situations, so if you think you may have been a victim of medical malpractice you should speak to a medical negligence solicitor.

What causes medical malpractice

The Medical Council Of Ireland set out guidelines for the expected duty of care of patients.

Medical malpractice does not have to be intentional and in most cases, it’s not. Human error happens, and one issue in the medical field that can contribute to patient error is burnout.

In 2017, the RCPI National Study of Wellbeing of Hospital Doctors in Ireland claimed that 1 in 3 doctors experienced burnout to some degree in their profession: long working hours and shift work patterns causes safety complications.

But, there could also be a general incompetency of the practitioner that caused the injury. Sometimes, this is seen in cosmetic and teeth whitening clinics, where staff might claim to be cosmetic surgeons but don’t actually hold that specialised qualification.

How do you know if you have a Medical Malpractice case

Medical Malpractice rules:

  • The patient must be able to prove that his/her injury was a result of a breach of ‘duty of care’ by the doctor: the injury would not have happened if there was no negligence.
  • The injury caused the patient to suffer damages: financial or distress, or both.
  • The injury claim must be initiated within two years of occurrence. In 2018, there was a proposal put forward to extend this to three years.

What you should do

In Ireland when a case of medical negligence* results in injury or illness, or the deterioration of an existing condition, you are entitled to claim compensation. So, If you’ve been treated in a medical situation and something has gone wrong; you should contact a specialised medical negligence solicitor who will assess whether you have an actionable case.

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

What to do if your personal information has been compromised.

Personal Information Breached

Do you think your personal information has been compromised? You’re probably worried? Yes. For good reason. If your personal data falls into the wrong hands it can be used for criminal activity and fraud. Identify theft created from compromised personal data is a huge problem across the world. In 2017, nearly 60 million Americans were the victims of identify theft.

Anyone using the internet is vulnerable to security breaches and malicious threats. These can lead to unintentional consequences and leakage of information.  Personal information: names, social security numbers, bank account information, credit card details, phone numbers and email addresses are all pieces of valuable information that — once stolen — can be traded on the dark web.

Same goes for corporate firms and financial institutions, they also bear the risk of security breaches and information theft. Without serious implementation of firewalls and another security setup, data hackers can access a company’s private information.

How information gets compromised?

Apart from common online threats: phishing, spyware and hackers. You should also be mindful that many instances of personal information leaks occur by simple human error such as misplacing documents, losing computer equipment or just sending information to the wrong recipient.

A few examples of how data might be compromised in companies;

  •         Non-standard processes are used for data protection and migration
  •         Could be an employee of the company mixed with attackers
  •         Weak security infrastructure
  •         During the migration of information, a serious virus took over the system
  •         Unauthenticated access to the personal information of the organisation

Motives behind the breach

Whenever a security breach takes place and personal, as well as financial information, is stolen; you should be considering all the possible factors. There could be tons of motives and objectives of the hackers behind the breach, and most common ones are listed below:

  •         Access to the financial assets of the company/organisation/individual.
  •         Using the personal information of the company, or employees, for blackmailing or other leverages.
  •         Just staying back and to spy over all the crucial activities of a company for its third parties or competitors.
  •         Installing crucial malware in the systems and taking control of everything including all the financial transactions taking place.

There could be various motives behind an attack or hacking to gain a company’s or your personal information. But, the most important thing is, what to do when your personal or financial information gets leaks either deliberately or accidentally…. This is where GDPR comes in.

What is GDPR?

Known as General Data Protection Regulation which operates in Ireland and most other European countries. GDPR give more data protection rights to individuals by setting standardised guidelines across the board.

This means you will have more control over the privacy of your personal data. A breach under GDPR rules is a serious offence for a company, that could result in a fine of up to €20,000,00.

Under GDPR personal data is defined: ‘as data that can identify a living person.’ Under GDPR rules: a company must notify you within 72 hours if they have experienced a data breach of your personal information.

What to do?

You have received a data breach notification from a company that indicates that your data has been compromised.  Firstly, look to what steps have the company taken to protect your data? Then…

Change your passwords

When someone has access to all of your personal and financial accounts they can cause a lot more damage than you think; you could be deprived of your accounts forever, or even money if they get their hands on it!

Try to change all your passwords within an hour of the hacking. This is the safest time limit advised by the authorities, during which you can pull back the control of these accounts. Log every unauthorised user out, and use two-factor authentication.

Investigate what got stolen?

Get to know what got stolen from you! If it was some casual or public information from a  website or a bunch of usernames without any other data, then you might be okay.

But if it was sensitive personal information or financial credentials, then you will have more to worry about. Finding what was actually stolen from you will help you tackle the situation. That is why you should know what was actually taken from you in the breach and act accordingly.

Contact your financial institutions

Sometimes companies don’t know they have been hacked for several weeks, but you might have noticed unusual charges on your bank statements recently, this is often one of the first signs that your personal data might have been compromised.

You should contact all relevant financial institutions immediately. Inform them of the unusual activity and that you suspect that you may have been a victim of a data breach.

If it’s identity fraud?

Someone that steals your personal information such as bank details, ID cards, social security numbers they could try to impersonate you. This is a serious matter. If someone is impersonating you, it is a criminal offence and should be reported to the Gardaí.

Compensation

If your data was stolen and the theft resulted in financial loss, then under GDPR rules you have a right to seek compensation. But, what about if your loss was psychological? GDPR also allows for compensation for distress caused by having your personal data breached or misused. You can find out more about data breach and GDPR here.

Criminal and hackers are devising more ways to access your personal data online; it’s important to use as many methods as possible to protect your identity, be careful what information you share online and remember to check companies’ data protection policies.

Law Firm wins landmark case to keep a widower in his home by debt for equity swap.

Gibson & Associates

Legal history was made this week in Trim circuit court. Concerning, a 67-year-old widower who was in mortgage debt and risked losing his home, a proposal for an insolvency arrangement was put forward to swap his debt for equity. This resulted in his mortgage loan written down from €139,500 to €18,500.

The arrangement meant that the creditor (Start Mortgages) was given 85% equity share of the property and the debtor left to pay 15% of the value of the property, in monthly instalments, without the risk of a forced sale.

This is the first Debt for Equity solution of its kind and is claimed to be a landmark ruling. The legal team involved in the case Gibson & Associates Solicitors are pleased with the outcome, solicitor Amanda Walsh, commented:

“This is the first debt for equity solution that has been approved after a fully contested hearing before the Court. We were delighted to be able to assist the debtor in this instance, and in conjunction with his personal insolvency practitioner provide a solution for him.”

Gibson & Associates

Amanda Walsh Partner at Gibson & Associates Solicitors

Do Bicycle Helmets Prevent Head Injury*?

Bicycle Head Injury

When you’re riding your bicycle, your most important piece of safety gear is a helmet that fits. Helmets are designed to cushion and protect riders’ heads from the impact of a crash. Like safety belts in cars, helmets cannot provide total protection against head injury or death, but they can reduce the risk of both. Nearly 70 percent of fatal bicycle crashes involve head injuries, according to the US Department of Transport (DOT), yet only one in four cyclists wear helmets when they ride. Wearing a helmet dramatically increases your odds of surviving a crash, and also reduces the risk of traumatic brain injury. In 2016, Australian researchers found that cycle helmets reduced serious head injury by 70%!

The DOT estimates that if all children age 4 to 15 wore helmets when they rode bicycles, 45,000 head injuries and 55,000 scalp and face injuries could be prevented every year. Helmets decrease the severity of head injuries, the number of days spent in hospital, and the overall cost of medical care after a bicycle crash. Helmets also protect their riders from dust, rocks, and other debris thrown up by other vehicles.

Unfortunately, at the moment it’s not compulsory by law to wear a bicycle helmet in Ireland. But in the interests of personal safety, especially for under 18s, it’s highly recommended.

Buying a cycling helmet

The following are recommendations for buying and fitting a helmet:

  • Make sure your helmet fits to get all the protection that you’re paying for. A helmet that fits well will sit level on your head, touching all points of your head. It should fit snugly, with no pressure points.
  • Your helmet should be comfortable. You’re not looking for a fit tight enough to squeeze your head.
  • Try to pull the helmet off. If you can, don’t buy it.
  • When you move the helmet, it shouldn’t have much play, a maximum of an inch in any direction. The strap is as important as the helmet: it holds your helmet on your head. Check the latch and the strap to be sure they’re strong enough for the job. High visibility is very important; it can save your life.
  • Choose a helmet in white or a light colour. Wearing a dark-coloured helmet increases the risk that a driver will not see you, especially at night.
  • Always replace a helmet after a crash. Period. The helmet’s compressible foam absorbs the energy of the crash. Once it has absorbed energy, the foam does not recover. It may not look deformed, but it has lost its capacity to absorb energy. A helmet that has been through one crash will not protect you from a second one.
  • For the most current ratings of helmets: check the most recent reviews in consumer reports.

No matter how effective and safe your helmet is, it only protects you if you wear it.

Other important safety equipment protective clothing can help prevent personal injuries and reduce the seriousness of injuries to arms and legs, hands and feet. Protective clothing includes:

Eye protection: Riders should protect their eyes against insects, dirt, rocks and other debris, and tearing and blurred vision from the wind. Good quality goggles with plastic or safety lenses can provide a measure of protection. Goggles and glasses should be unscratched, shatterproof, and ventilated to prevent fog build up.

Jackets and pants: Clothing should be tough enough to provide some protection from road rash if you’re tossed from your bike. Avoid pants that are excessively baggy, or wide at the bottom; these present a greater risk of tangling in the chain.

Gloves: Wear gloves that give you a solid grip on the handlebars, brakes, and shift levers. Leather gives the best grip. Leather gloves or fabric gloves with leather palms and grip strips on the fingers get the job done. Choose a safe bike. Choose a bicycle that’s a comfortable fit for you; when you’re astride the bicycle you should be able to touch the ground with both feet. Seat height, seat angle, handlebar style, and handlebar height all contribute to ease of handling. Have an experienced bicycle salesperson adjust all these so that you feel comfortable on your bike, and can handle it easily. Check the brakes and the shift levers, and make sure you can reach and operate them without strain.

Bicycle Safety Information

Riding your bicycle is not only a fun form of transportation, it is also a great workout and beneficial to the environment since it does not give off any harmful emissions into the atmosphere. However, riding your bike can also be hazardous if you are travelling on busy streets or do not adhere to best riding practices. Before heading out on the road, there are a few tip cyclists should review to ensure optimal safety in any condition. Sometimes, bicycle accidents are caused by the negligent actions of a third party. This could be a motorist, pedestrian or another cyclist. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a preventable cycling accident, contact an experienced personal injury* solicitor today to hold that person accountable in a court of law. The best way to avoid an accident on your bike is to engage in safe behaviour at all times. The following tips will help you make the best decisions on the road

Safety Tips for Biсусliѕtѕ

Always adhere to traffic signals, lights and warning signs. Never run a red light or stop sign. Make sure yo use hand signals when turning — because, your bike does not have brake lights or turn signals, this is especially important in order to communicate with other motorists. Wear bright, reflective clothing. Use a headlight, safety triangle or rear light when riding at nighttime.

Do not ride against traffic. Wear a helmet at all times. Even with the best safety precautions, accidents can still occur to cyclists. However, if your accident was caused by a negligent-behaving third party, you may be able to bring them to justice in a court of law.

By hiring an experienced personal injury* solicitor, you can increase your chances of a favourable outcome in court. In addition, you may be able to receive financial compensation to help you recover from physical, emotional and monetary damages you incurred as a result of the collision. Bicyclists deserve the same kind of respect as other motorists on the road. Just because you ride on two wheels, instead of four, does not give others the right to drive unsafely around you.

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

Be careful in these 5 situations: if you want to avoid an injury this Christmas!

Christmas Injury

Christmas is a lovely time of fun and celebration….but, it also can be a time of increased hazards and accidents. The last thing you need is to end up in A&E over the holidays with an injury, due to an accident or someone’s negligence.

Below are five of the most common situations when you might need to exercise more caution over the holidays

Shopping & Socialising

When you are out and about this Christmas — be careful where you’re walking! Look on footpaths for icy patches, wet leaves or snow banks — falls and slips are one of the most common cause of injury in the winter months.

With party season in full swing, there is a likelihood of you being out socialising more in restaurants bars and nightclubs. With hordes of Christmas jumper wearing revellers around, you should watch out for broken glass and drinks spillages on dance floors! These are a leading cause of injuries on nights out.

The famous Black Friday shopping frenzy, leaves paramedics treating trampled and bruised shoppers every year in the U.S. Thankfully, we don’t have the same level of shopping injuries here but unwary shoppers can still fall victim to accidents in shopping centres and supermarkets.

If you are involved in an accident: ask for eyewitnesses and take their contact details, and/or take photos of any visible cause of your accident e.g spilled liquids on the floor. This will help you if you need to make a claim against the store.

Under the Christmas Tree

Christmas is an exciting time for children with the arrival of Santa, and expectantly lots of presents. But, did you know that many accidents involving children are caused by toys. In the U.S, a child is treated in the emergency room, every three minutes, due to a toy related injury!

With the rise of online shopping it’s becoming more important to be vigilant about the toys that you are purchasing — check that you are buying from reputable sources to avoid counterfeit toys with subpar safety checks. And, always check that the toy is suitable for the child’s age range.

Every year consumer watchdog World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H) release a list of the most dangerous toys for sale that could cause injuries such as choking, blunt trauma, and eye injuries.

If a child is seriously injured by a toy, the manufacturer or retailer could be liable for damages. Find out more about compensation for injuries caused by toys here.

christmas toy

In the workplace

One of the nicest things about Christmas is seeing all the lights and decorations lit up and hanging from all the shops and building around towns. However, getting them there can take a lot of careful thought and planning, to avoid shocks, fires and other accidents.

Remember: Be careful of ladders and lights!

If you are assigned to hanging the Christmas lights or any other outdoors work task, remember —  your employer should take appropriate measure to protect you and other workers in harsh weather conditions. This includes providing any necessary safety equipment or protective clothing, providing extra training or rescheduling shifts so you aren’t out working in difficult conditions if it’s not necessary.

If you work in Transportation, healthcare and public administration you are in the most risky industries to be in for ice slips and falls, claiming 50% of all reported accidents to Health and Safety Authority. Did you know that most workplace slips on ice occur between 6am -11am?

Be particularly careful if you have to shovel snow from work premises. This humble task causes thousands of injuries every year; from back injuries, knee injuries, heart problems and even broken bones.  

If you get pain in your lower back then stop shovelling to prevent a greater injury; if pain persists for more than one day, you should get it checked out by a medical professional.

On the roads

Driving in winter can become very hazardous due to poor weather conditions. Sleet, hail, ice and snow and freezing fog will cause problems for many road users.

If you accidentally crash into another car on icy roads, it’s generally your fault. Poor conditions are visible and you possibly didn’t take a duty of care towards other road users; this is why you must practice safe driving in poor conditions such as:

  • Reducing your speed, and don’t brake suddenly on ice.
  • Keeping a safe distance behind drivers and allow extra time for braking.
  • Keeping you maintained by having correct tyre tread depth and pressure, and keeping windows and lights clear of snow and ice.

On the slopes

Maybe, this Christmas you fortunate enough to be heading off on a winter sports holiday. But, hopefully you won’t be unfortunate to then experience a sports injury.

The majority of accidents occur on the ski slopes, and you will know that winter sports carry a certain level of risk. But, if you suffer a serious injury while on a ‘skiing package holiday’ you may be entitled to compensation for your accident.

Common injuries on the slopes are concussion, knee injuries, sprains, broken arms or legs (ouch!). This could lead to some time of work, most travel insurance policies would cover for loss of earnings, so it’s worth consulting with your solicitor if you find yourself in this situation.

Before you participate on any Winter sport:

  • Check the safety record of the resort
  • Wear appropriate clothing and safety equipment, and check that your equipment is it fit for purpose.
  • Pay attention to instructors etc., and abide by resort rules.
  • Don’t overindulge on antifreeze (alcohol) before skiing as you could pose a risk to other as well as yourself.

Skiing injury

It’s not just these situations that accidents and injuries occur, so remember to practice good health and safety in all situations over the holidays. And, don’t let the chance of an injury ruin the Christmas spirit.

Happy Christmas to you and all! 💜🎅

 

If you need help with a legal issue, contact us by filling out the below form.

What are the advantages of hiring a conveyancing solicitor?

Conveyancing Solicitors Dublin

The first time you will probably ever need to consider hiring a conveyancing solicitor is buying your first home. Then, there maybe other occasions such as selling your home, switching a mortgage, or changing ownership. Conveyance involves the processing of documents involved, and the legal transfer of home and/or land ownership deeds.

You could attempt doing conveyancing yourself but it’s not recommended the process is very complicated; property is expensive; and you don’t need the extra costs of errors over minor things like where to park your car; or major disputes over land boundaries. It’s best to use a licenced property/conveyancing solicitor to do the conveyancing work for you. If you’re taking out a mortgage, you MUST use a licenced property/conveyancing solicitor.

A conveyancing solicitor is a licenced conveyancer working in a legal firm or sole practice, generally used for buying and/or selling property.

So you have made an offer on a property? You need to hire your conveyancing solicitor once the offer has been accepted. And, the same goes if you’re selling a property. You will find a list of reputable solicitors on The Law Society website (www.lawsociety.ie), or contact our property solicitors here look for a property solicitor that has a few years experience, and remember that the cheapest conveyancer is not always the best!

What will your conveyance solicitor do?

Here is a brief summary of a few typical tasks that you can expect your solicitor to take care of for you:

Handle contracts

One of the most important tasks a solicitor will complete for you, is the drawing up of documents, this includes transferring the Title of Ownership. For selling a property a Contract of Sale will be prepared. They will also deal with the formal mortgage offer and all the conditions on your behalf and the deposit will be handed over to the seller’s solicitor.

Give legal advice

The solicitor will do the legal leg work for you; and give you advice to inform any decisions you make. For example, this could include any special conditions you want to stipulate on the contract of sale, or, maybe you want to stipulate a special condition that resulted from the property searches, to help protect your rights.

Carry out local council searches

When buying a property there is an obligation for the seller to inform you of certain things such as defects on the property, before the contract is signed. However, they don’t legally have to tell you everything, this is why searches are important. You will find out the answers to questions such as does that adjacent shed have planning permission? Etc.

Deal with the Land Registry or Registry of Deeds

There are two systems of dealing with the documents transferred in a property transaction: the Land Registry or the Registry of Deeds. Your solicitor will know which one is appropriate in your case, and carry out the necessary checks.

Transfer the funds to pay for your property

Once your offer on a property is accepted, known as ‘sale agreed’, a booking deposit is paid to the estate agent, then the sale details can be sent to your solicitor and the seller’s solicitor. Your solicitor will then arrange to have the deposit on the property paid. Your solicitor will agree a ‘closing date’ the date that you get your keys, the remainder of the money must be paid and associated paperwork completed.

RISKS OF NOT USING A CONVEYANCER

By not using a good solicitor to carry out your conveyancing work, you are potentially opening up yourself to several risks and disadvantages:

Costly Mistakes

Conveyancing can be a complicated process, mistakes can be hugely expensive. Look for a solicitor with several years experience, they will also have insurance if something does go wrong. If you’re doing a DIY conveyancing, and something goes wrong, you will have to hire a solicitor anyway to amend any errors.

Could save you money

A good conveyancing solicitor has the experience to advise on any potential pitfalls, when purchasing a property, this specialist advice could save you money. They will advise on any issues that come out of property searches, and advise you in court if a dispute arises.

Top Tip

When getting a conveyancing quote, ask if your fee estimate covers all costs. Sometimes there are additional charges such as stamp duty, so ask for your quote to include all charges when buying a property. Shop around online when looking for a conveyancer, rather than taking the estate agents recommended solicitor — this could save you money.

Knowledge

Maybe you’ve moved to a new city such as Dublin, here you don’t know the areas very well. Try to hire a conveyance solicitor based in Dublin, they will have knowledge of the estate agents and locality.

They also will know the local development plans, so you can find out if a nightclub is going to open up at the end of the road sometime soon. Or, maybe the neighbour has a right of way to your property. This will beneficial especially when thinking about resale value of the property.

Legislation

Property law often changes, a solicitor will be up to date on all new and pending legislation, as well as new legal processes. For example, the process normally used in Ireland to buy and sell houses will change next year. Starting Jan 2019, solicitors will move to a pre-contract investigation of title (PCIT) system. It means that property title queries will be dealt with pre-contract, this method is already the modus operandi by Gibson & Associates Conveyancing Solicitors.

Your conveyance solicitor will know all the legal terms and advise on any contract terms that could be hidden in fine print. If there are any issues in the sellers contact, they will be able to negotiate extensions and qualifications on the conditions.

Complex Transactions

Sometimes property transactions can be drawn out very complicated, especially where additional land is involved. This is where an experienced conveyancing solicitor will really shine. For example, in cases where the title deeds are lost or contested, could be tricky for an amateur conveyancer.

When it comes to the contacts involved in these transactions, solicitors will carefully examine any contracts, it can be easy for the untrained eye to overlook a detail until it’s too late, and end up with residential disputes into the bargain.

Other situations include commercial property transactions, this type of conveyancing is very different from buying a house.

Odds & ends

A Solicitor can speed up the conveyancing process for you, Gibson & Associates Solicitors offer a 21 day closing service, this means you could have the keys to your house in three weeks! This is done by liaising with your bank or mortgage provider to ensure that all contract conditions are met by due dates.

You will receive an organised list of all paperwork and ensure that you receive a clear title of property. Your solicitor will also tie up any loose ends, taking the stress out of property for you!

If you would like a no obligation conveyancing quote, fill out the contact us form below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible 🙂

 

Lariam: compensation for soldiers affected by anti malaria drug.

Lariam

The Government of Ireland could face a legal compensation tsunami, after prescribing the highly controversial drug Mefloquine, branded as Lariam, to Irish soldiers on peacekeeping missions in Africa from 2001.

What is Lariam:

Mefloquine (Lariam) is an antimalarial drug discovered by the US army after the Vietnam war, new antimalarial drugs were needed as resistance to the mainstay drug Chloroquine was becoming an issue.

First trials of Lariam were conducted on prisoners in the 70s, the drug was approved in 1989 then marketed commercially as a drug to prevent malaria in tourists and business travellers in the tropics.

But within months concerns emerged, and consumers viewed the drug with concern… and alarm!

What are the issues:

Although the drug is administered for protection against malaria, many say that the side effects of Lariam are worse than the symptoms of Malaria — dubbing Lariam as “A Horror Movie In A Pill”. …

Lariam is reported to cause shocking and severe psychiatric side effects such as violent mood swings, depression, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts.

In an investigation by RTE in 2013 claimed to find a plausible link between the use of Lariam and several suicides amongst soldiers. Investigators found a higher suicide rate in individuals that took Lariam compared with individuals who had not taken the drug.

The investigation resulted in a heated debate in the Dáil. The Defence Minister at the time, Alan Shatter, denied the allegations of Lariam being linked to suicide rates amongst soldiers:

“…it was extremely unlikely that the drug had played a part in the suicides of several soldiers”…as it would not stay long in their system.

This is contrary to the findings by the FDA who stated that the side effects from the drug could last months or become permanent:

“Neurologic side effects can occur at any time during drug use, and can last for months to years after the drug is stopped or can be permanent” (FDA, 2013).

Lariam in the USA & UK 

The US stopped issuing Lariam to the special forces in 2009, after a reported spate of murders and suicides in the States by personnel who had been taking the drug. Now, dispensing the drug to troops is a court martial offence!

In the US, the FDA launched a neurological review of the drug, and since has changed the labelling. The drug now carries a ‘Black Box’ warning, this is the strictest warning for significant risks.

The support group International Mefloquine Veterans’ Alliance, has been set up in the US to raise awareness and provide support to those affected

In 2015, 1000 British army personnel required psychiatric treatment after taking Lariam. Steps are being taken to restrict its use on army personnel, a group of military personnel have issued claims against the Ministry of Defence.

The following countries have now banned or limited its use:

  • The US
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • The Netherlands

Lariam was taken off the Irish market in the 31st July 2016. Irish doctors favour drugs such as Malarone and doxycycline. But, the Irish Defense Forces can still access to drug in other jurisdictions and remains on the list of antimalarial medications they use.

Side effects to look out for:

If you or someone you know has been taking Lariam you should watch for these side effects:

  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems such as a feeling that you or things around you are moving or spinning (vertigo)
  • Ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Inability to sleep (insomnia)
  • If you already have or develop any mental problems, you should contact your health care professional right away. These mental problems include:
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of mistrust towards others (paranoia)
  • Seeing or hearing things that are not there (hallucinations)
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Behaviour that is unusual

Court cases:

Last year in Ireland, the first [test] case was brought to the High Court, Anthony Coyle sued the minister of defence and the Attorney General after being given Lariam to protect him from malaria, while on a tour of Chad.

He complained of not feeling ‘normal’ since his duty tour of Chad in 2009. He claims that his career and health was ruined by the drug. Mr Cole still suffers from appalling  symptoms. He received a significant payout. Another 58 military personnel who took Lariam have lodged claims since.

  • In the courts it was argued that given Lariam was  in breach of EU law, as no alternatives are offered to soldiers.
  • Due to the known risks Mefloquine (Lariam) malaria treatment should only be used as a last resort in regions where mosquitoes have developed resistance to alternative drugs.
  • The failure of the Department of Defence to implement a screening programme to monitor the effects of the drug on the estimated 4,500 personal that received it.

Public concerns are why was this the preferential drug? Why was it used for do long and why was it continued to be used in light of the investigation?

Support groups: 

There is a campaign group on Facebook for anyone that has been affected by Lariam: Facebook

The group This has encouraged soldiers to talk about what they have been going through, and know that many others are in the same situation. They have also campaigned to TDs that the drug should only be used as a last resort.

If you have been prescribed the drug without being warned of its dangers, you could be entitled to compensation.

Talk to one of our team if you’d like to find out more.

 

My Legacy Week 29th Oct – 4th Nov: Make a Will and leave a Legacy Gift.

Wills

Make a Will in November for €100!

My Legacy Week is commencing on the 29th of October, the campaign was initiated to create awareness around the importance of making a Will. Irish people have a low rate of making a Will, with only 3 out of 10 people having made this important legal document. Benefits of making a Will are

  • If you don’t make a Will, your estate will be distributed to rules of law — rather than your wishes.
  • This allows you to provide financial security for those you choose.
  • Reduce inheritance tax on your estate.
  • Helps to avoid inheritance disputes.

My Legacy.ie was founded in 2006 and has since grown to a group of 60 Irish charities. These charities work together to ask people to consider leaving a legacy gift to their favourite charity, in their Will. Yet, many people do not know that they can leave a legacy gift to a charity or cause close to their heart.

Gibson & Associates is a law firm that supports, and is listed on My Legacy.ie.

As part of legacy week, we are offering the public the opportunity to make a Will at a special rate of €100 (normally €150).

Appointment availability is limited. All you have to do is  call our office on 1890 989 289 or email info@gibsonandassociatessolicitors.ie between the 30th of October – 2nd of November, and we will call you back to arrange your appointment for a suitable date in November.

Appointments can be scheduled for our Letterkenny office, or our Raheny office in Dublin.