Gibson & Associates Solicitors wins landmark case to keep a widower in his home in mortgage write down case.

Gibson & Associates

Legal history was made this week in Trim circuit court. 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.

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 is 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 trap to be sure thy’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 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 sales person 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 night time.

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.

What to do after a minor car accident: injury, compensation, insurance, and claims.

Car Accident Claims

Being involved in a car crash (or any road traffic accident!) can be a terrifying experience — no matter if it’s minor or more serious. It’s always good to have some preparation in case you happen to be unfortunate enough to be in a car accident, this guide covers most questions you may have. So, what should you do if you’re involved in a car accident…

Right after the car accident

If you are not injured, but you’re still taken by surprise, try not to panic; stay calm and make sure that you and your passengers are okay. Look around for danger. If the location is hazardous due to traffic etc., then move the vehicle to a safer spot and switch on your hazard lights — in more serious accidents the vehicle should not be moved.

If there is noticeable damage to the car check that no fuel is leaking onto the road, if there is, make sure to switch off your engine. By law, you must stop your car.

Should I call the Guards in the event of an accident?

You happen to suspect the other driver involved is drunk or has taken drugs then you should call the Gardaí. If someone is hurt, or there is substantial damage to the car, call the Guards (legally this must be done within 24hrs). You sense that the injuries require medical attention then call an ambulance immediately. The Gardaí will also be informed. In the meantime don’t move anyone with a suspected head or spinal injury.

You should call the Guards if you suspect that the car accident was caused deliberately. If no one is hurt and the damage is only minor, then it may only be necessary to exchange contact details and insurance information with the other involved parties.

The Guards are on the way, now what?

You should take photos of any damage to the vehicles involved and of the location that the car accident occurred. Remember to take registration numbers and ask for any witnesses. The Guards will request the following information:

  • Your name and address
  • The address where your car is kept
  • The name and address of the car owner
  • The car’s registration number
  • Motor insurance details (including the expiry date of the policy)

Other useful information to note is the date and time of the accident, keep the details of any witnesses, and a record of the damage and position of the vehicles, and/or damage to surrounding property.       

How soon should I see a Doctor/receive medical attention after a car accident?

It’s strongly advisable to see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. Car crash injuries range from minor scratches to catastrophic injuries (permanent disabling conditions). Other injuries might not be visible and symptoms may only appear after the initial shock has subsided.

Should I leave the scene of the accident?

If there is damage or injury then NO DON’t LEAVE! Leaving is illegal. If you haven’t exchanged information you could be perceived as a hit and run, regardless if the accident was your fault or not. If the Gardaí has been called: you must wait.

What happens if the other driver leaves the scene of the accident?

If the other driver leaves the scene of the car accident without exchanging information this is considered to be a hit and run. You should give any details of the driver and the vehicle involved in the Gardaí; fortunately, it is easier now to catch hit & run drivers with the prevalence of CCTV on our roads.

Should I admit liability?

No never admit liability or agree that you were at fault; even if you think you caused the accident. Just stick to the facts and leave opinions out. Any — in the heat — of the moment comments could come back to bite at a later date after the event of a car accident. You could also invalidate your insurance policy by admitting liability (read the small print on your insurance documents).

If the other person admits liability, still remain cautious as they could change their mind later and deny responsibility.

How does insurance work if I’m at fault (no other vehicle involved)

If you have comprehensive car insurance your insurer will arrange the repairs to your vehicle, you will have to pay the insurance excess charge. If you don’t have a comprehensive cover you will be liable for the damages yourself.

Notifying your insurance company

You should report the accident to your insurance company while at the scene of the accident. You can find the name of your insurer on the disc on your window screen, they will take you through any steps you need to take, and advise in case the other party makes a claim against you.

Will I lose my No Claims Bonus?

Check your insurance policy, did you take the option of protecting your no claims bonus? If you did, you will NOT lose the No Claims Bonus value that you have earned, provided that you have made no more than two claims within the past three years.  Or, maybe you have a step back protection option, with this, your No Claims Bonus value is deducted by a percentage.

The other driver involved has no insurance, can I still claim?

You have found out that the driver of the other vehicle has no insurance; don’t worry, the Motor Insurer’s Bureau of Ireland (MiBi) should be able to help. MiBi compensates victims who have been involved in a road traffic accident caused by uninsured or unidentified vehicles. It’s best to discuss this with your solicitor, they will help you with the application.

What are the most common injuries from traffic accidents?

Whiplash is probably the most common injury as a result of a car accident. Whiplash is a neck injury caused usually caused by great force, often seen in rear end car collision accidents that cause the victims head to suddenly move forwards and backwards. A whiplash injury may not appear for several days after an accident, so it’s important to get any developing head and/or neck pain checked out.

Other common accident injuries are made up of soft tissue damage e.g torn ligaments, bruising etc., but many of these injuries go unreported. Head and back injuries are the most common of the more moderate to severe injuries.

Who’s at fault for rear ending accidents?

If you run into the car in front of you, you are nearly always considered partly responsible — as you should be keeping a safe distance behind the vehicle in front.

But sometimes the driver of the car that gets rear ended is at fault, for example in these scenarios, reversing suddenly; driving with broken brake lights; breaking down and not switching on hazard lights or not moving out of the lane of traffic. From a legal perspective, there could be many facets of the situation that would have to be considered.

Not sure who is to blame for the accident, or if multiple people are at fault

For a claim to be successful fault must be determined, there are certain rules of law to help determine who’s at fault in situations when blame is not clear, for example using the rules of the road. This often applies in the case of a rear end collision, i.e the driver behind should have been keeping a safe distance back.

But sometimes both parties are somewhat responsible, this is where ‘contributory negligence’ comes into play i.e. how much blame for the accident can be attributed to you, and others. An example of when multiple people may be at fault would be a road accident that resulted in a ‘pile up’ of vehicles. This can affect the length of time it takes to resolve a personal injury claim.

Can passengers sue?

Yes, an injured passenger can sue the driver of the car they were travelling in, or the driver of any other car involved, if there is attributable blame.

Can you cancel a car accident claim?

Yes, if you are not at fault for the accident, you can cancel a car accident claim. But you need to consider the difficulties this will cause you if you decide to pursue injury/damage compensation at a later date.

When should I contact a solicitor?

After a car accident you will have many things on your mind: attending medical needs, informing family, notifying your employer and dealing with insurance; it can be easy to not think about the legal aspects but you should call a personal injury solicitor (assuming there are injuries) as soon as possible.

What does a Personal Injury solicitor do?

If you don’t already have a solicitor, you can find a reputable personal injury solicitor on the Law Society website or contact us here. Your solicitor will initially briefly discuss the incident with you to assess if the case is worth pursuing, this will be free of charge.

If there is a legal case worth pursuing the legal team will send ‘terms’ to you to be signed, you should have proof of identity and address ready to send back to the solicitors.  A consultation with a solicitor will follow, he/she will guide you through the next steps such as accessing medical reports etc., and whether you have an accident claim.

How does a car accident claim work?

If you were in an accident through no fault of your own, you are eligible to claim provided it can be shown that the other road user(s) negligence or carelessness resulted in your injury.

A personal injury claim must go through the Personal Injuries Board: Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PAIB). A medical report, by a doctor, containing details of injuries sustained is required. The amounts awarded to the type of injuries reported can be found in the Book of Quantum.

What is the Book of Quantum?

The Book of Quantum provides the general guideline for the amounts awarded in injury claims, supported by medical evidence. The process starts with looking at the anatomical area that suffered the worst injury i.e. the head, torso, limbs etc. Next, the injury is looked at by severity from minor to severe; settlement values are stated based on the categories.

How long do I have to claim after an accident?

You generally have to initiate a claim within two years of knowledge of the accident, see the next point for detailed information.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

This is a law that guides the time frame within which you can take legal action. In the Civil Liability and Courts Act, 2004 (outside of clinical negligence) the limit is 2 years. Or simply, you have 2 years from the date of knowledge of the injury to proceed with a claim. (In the statute of limitations act 1991, amended s.221 legal services regulation act 2015).

Solicitor fees: What is No Win No Fee?

No Win No fee also labelled as No Foal No Fee, is a phrase solicitors’ commonly will use to describe the standard fee method on personal injury or litigation cases. Briefly, it means that if you don’t win your case, you don’t have to pay legal fees. In the case of being successful, solicitors cannot charge a fee in relative amounts to the awarded sum. You will often see the statement:

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

Types of compensation

In 2017, the average award for a motor injury claim was €24,879, the highest amount awarded was a €605,095. The most common compensatory damages awarded are for

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Damage/loss of property
  • Pain and suffering

When does a car claim go to court, how many of them go to court?

Not many personal injury cases go to court. There are various reasons why a claim will leave the Injuries Board and end up in court:

  • The Parties involved do not agree to the Injuries Board carrying out the assessment.
  • The Injured party will not recover within the time frame of the assessment, or, the Injuries Board believed that they will not be in a position to complete the assessment within the time frame (9 months – can be extended by a further 3 months).
  • There is not a clear prognosis in relation to the injuries.
  • It is a medical negligence case as opposed to a personal injury matter.
  • The insurance company sometimes uses the Injuries Board to gauge the level of injuries and then reject the assessment and go to court.
  • The Parties involved do not agree on the level of the assessment.
  • Clerical error i.e. the time frame for acceptance lapses without acceptance.
  • The case is purely based on psychological damages.

Many of these instances can be avoided if a solicitor is used in the case to minimise errors. Personal injury cases in the courts can take up to three years to settle.

This should cover most of the common questions in the aftermath of a car accident, and how car accident claims work. But if you require more information or help with a personal injury claim, we recommend speaking with one of our solicitors. You can contact us here

 

New Visa Scheme for Immigrants In Ireland.

Immigration Visas

Between 3,500 – 5,500 undocumented immigrants in Ireland could benefit from a new visa scheme. The special scheme was announced today by Minister Flanagan (Justice & Equality). This will benefit you, if you’re a Non-EEA resident that came to Ireland to study on a student visa between January 2005 and December 2010.

It is thought that this represents a significant cohort of undocumented persons currently in the state — groups referred to as settled migrants. Many of these individuals have become undocumented by losing their previous visa (permission to stay in the state).

After two Supreme court cases, the Government made plans to address the issue facing undocumented immigrants. But, there is only a three month window of opportunity for application from today 15th October 2018 and 20th January 2019.

Qualification for the visa:

Eligible applicants are non-EEA nationals, resident in the State who held a valid student permission during the period of 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2010, and who have not in the intervening period acquired an alternative immigration permission.

Conditions of eligibility:

  • There is a two year probationary period under the scheme, within this time frame qualified applicants must demonstrate that they are self-sufficient, and not posing as a burden on the state.
  • Applicants must reach a minimum level of English fluency. Must have no record of involvement in criminal activities.
  • There will be no family reunification under the scheme, but family members already here will get to remain.

How to apply for the Visa:

INIS has launched an online application form, there is a non-refundable fee of €250. Successful applicants will be granted the 4S stamp.

Check this link for further information: INIS Student Visa

Immigration Visas

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Personal Injury Solicitor joins Gibson & Associates’ Letterkenny office

Personal Injury solicitor Emmet Doherty has joined the Injury and Litigation team at Gibson & Associates, Emmett has specialised experience in catastrophic injury: severe injuries that can potentially have a life-altering effect on the victim. He is a welcome addition to the law firm’s existing injury team that includes solicitors located in Letterkenny and two offices in Dublin. Emmett provides practical advice on all aspects of claims including accessing rehabilitation so that clients can recover as quickly as possible.

Emmett completed his Legal Practice Course at BBP Law School in Manchester before spending 9 years at a Personal Injury Law Firm specialising in serious and catastrophic injuries. He is now a qualified and enrolled solicitor in Ireland. He mentioned that he is ‘excited to be now working as a solicitor in Letterkenny, and is looking forward to meeting new clients here’.

As an eminent authority on Personal Injury, Catastrophic Injury, and Negligence combined with a dedication to client care and high success rates; he will ensure all support is in place for clients to achieve the best outcome in their individual case.

If you have an enquiry, contact us today www.gibsonandassociates.ie

Personal Injury Solicitor Letterkenny

Emmett Doherty

Data Breach: The case of eir

data breach

Unless you’ve been on a digital detox this past year, you would have heard of GDPR (the new stricter data protection laws that came into force in the EU last May). It means that your personal data must be protected more stringently and consent to process data must be more visible — have you ­noticed all the ‘I Agree To Consent’ (sometimes annoying) pop-ups on every new website you visit? Under the legislation, now a data breach is a serious offence and companies subject to violation could face significant fines.

What is a Data Breach?

A data breach or leak: is when a person gets unauthorised access to a secure database of information, it’s usually very serious if the data that has been accessed is not normally found on public domains, an example of personal data that would not normally be public could be your PPS number or an online banking pin number. Or, any information leaked that would lead to unauthorised access to your financial accounts is big trouble!

Often in the media, you will read stories of cyber attacks but in many cases, it’s human error due to policies or procedures not being adhered to that cause these data breaches in companies. In the chart below, an investigation uncovered that 29% of breaches in healthcare were a result of employee errors. Employee breaches have resulted in some of the worst breaches recorded, in some cases costing organisations millions.

data breach eir

What happened to eir on the 12th of August?

In the case of eir a laptop was stolen from a public place on Sunday the 12th of August. eir have not disclosed details on why a company laptop was left in a public exposed location, we could only assume that an employee may have been transporting the laptop.

The laptop was password protected but not encrypted; both encryption and password protection is required for company data under GDPR rules. According to eir, all company laptops should be encrypted but “in this case, the laptop had been decrypted by a faulty security update the previous working day.”

Statement on their website reads:

“eir has reported a data breach of personal details for up to 37,000 customers to the Data Protection Commissioner. The data consists of names, email addresses, phone numbers and eir account numbers. This is a result of the theft of one laptop, which was stolen ‘off’ premises. No other personal or financial data relating to customers was stored on the laptop in question.”

How is data commonly breached?

In the case of eir, the laptop was stolen, the thief may have only wanted the laptop to possibly sell rather than intentionally stealing the laptop to gain access to the data stored. But, with the laptop whereabouts now unknown this poses a high risk of the data falling into the wrong hands.

In more deliberate cyber attacks, employees can unwittingly cause a breach by opening fraudulent emails: this is a common attack in companies. Other examples of data breaches are a company sending your data to someone else without your consent, or altering your personal data.

Why do people steal data?

Personal data can be bought and sold on a cybercriminal black market, some report that the hacker data market is more profitable than the illegal drug trade. And, it’s not just credit card information we have to worry about, social media account information has become even more valuable to criminals; this information can be used as ‘digital keys’ to unlocking difficult and encrypted passwords.

Cybercriminals will use personal data to create fake identities, this is a growing crime in Ireland and is becoming a problem for authorities, criminals will then use fake identities to commit fraud and theft.

How would I be notified of a data breach?

Under the new GDPR legislation, the company affected must inform the Data Protection Commissioner within 72 hours of a breach,  if the informed breach poses a risk to individuals (employees or public) they must also be notified without delay.

The company will inform the affected individuals through the provided contact information on their database, these individuals will then receive either an email, postal letter or phone call to notify them of the breach. Serious breaches are very often reported in the media.

Signs that your data might have been stolen

The most common indications that your data may have been stolen and is now being used fraudulently:

  • Unusual accounts showing up on your credit/debit card billing information or bills for items that you didn’t purchase
  • Receiving a statement for an unusual credit card account
  • Unusual withdrawals showing on bank statements
  • Suddenly receiving lots of spam emails or calls
  • You receive a text message containing a PIN number for an unknown service, this is a two-factor authentication code.

If you receive a letter from any company that has been exposed to a data breach asking for your bank account details, never hand over this information and contact the company to double check that the request is genuine.

What to do next:

  • If you think any of your online accounts have been hacked change your passwords immediately
  • Contact your bank about unusual charges

After a serious breach, a company is investigated by the Data Commissioner and people affected may also be entitled to compensation. Contact a solicitor for more advice.