Whiplash Injury

An average of 20 percent of people involved in a car accident sustain whiplash injuries. It’s the most common injury amongst road traffic accidents. How does whiplash happen in the first place? Let’s start by taking a quick look at the neck.

The neck is composed of a multi-tired system of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The cervical bones that surround these tissues support the skull. It enables head movement. Seatbelts restrict bodily movement but don’t directly protect the head and neck.

Seatbelts save live, no question about it. Those NOT wearing seatbelts have a greater than 50% chance of perishing in an automobile accident, than those who do. The basic purpose of the seatbelt is to prevent you from jolting forward and hitting the windshield if the car comes to a sudden stop. If the car is moving along at 30 miles (ca. 48 km) per hour, essentially, so are you. However, if the car were to collide with another car, ditch etc., and come to a halt, your body would continue to move forward. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. The seat belts, luckily, will keep you from moving right into your dashboard! While your body is prevented from continuing forward, your head is not — there’s nothing to prevent your head from this forward momentum. This momentum lasts only for split second, the head will then snap back. The average adult head weighs in at around 14Ibs and is fully supported by the neck. As you might imagine, this snapping motion can put considerable strain on the neck. This is a common whiplash accident scenario.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is defined as any damage or injury to the neck resulting from sudden acceleration/deceleration. This is pretty much what happens in car accident. Whiplash occurs because, to use the above example, the body is moving along at around 30 mph (ca. 48 km/h) and stops abruptly. The head continues moving forward, ‘whipping’  back to the body a split second later. This whipping motion can cause severe injury to the neck. Pinched nerves can result. The ‘pinching’ of these nerves can affect the functionality of the entire area. Muscles can  become constricted and soft tissue damage can also occur. Whiplash symptoms can happen right away or in some cases, take months or even years to develop. If your neck stiffens or hurts in any way as a result of a road accident, whiplash diagnoses should be your top priority.

 

Image Credit: https://heightschiro.com

What symptoms to look for immediately:

  • headaches
  • blurred vision
  • stiff neck
  • shooting pain from the neck to upper arms or back
  • neck pain or back pain
  • difficulty moving or rotating the head

If you notice any of these after a car accident, whiplash treatment should begin right away. It’s important to visit your doctor as soon as possible, he/she might conduct tests such as a scan or x-ray of the area.

How long does Whiplash pain last?

Some people will experience pain, in the form of headaches or chronic neck pain, from whiplash for several years after the accident; but most people will make a full recovery within three months after the accident.

Are some people more prone to Whiplash?

Yes, research from studies indicate that the following factors are common in victims of Whiplash, and these individual(s) tend to have longer recovery periods:

  • Being female
  • Being involved in a rear-end collision
  • The relative weight of the striking vehicle to the hit vehicle
  • previous neck injury

How a Law Firm can help

If you’ve been hurt through the negligence of another party, you may want to consider hiring a personal injury solicitor to get the compensation* that you deserve. Whether you get a settlement or need to move forward with a lawsuit, this isn’t something that you want to handle on your own. No matter how shrewd you consider yourself, an insurance company isn’t going to take you seriously without legal counsel by your side. You will never be able to negotiate a settlement that matches what you could get with a personal injury solicitor*. That is if you get the right solicitor. Here are some things to consider when looking for someone to hire.

1. Personal Injury Solicitors* – Areas of Expertise

Personal injury solicitors operate in a specific area of law in Ireland. They independently advise and represent clients from the beginning of the claims process through to the final verdict. There are various types of claim that fall under the remit of personal injury solicitors. Some of these include:

  • Road traffic accidents that result in bodily injuries e.g. whiplash
  • Industrial related illnesses such as exposure to asbestos, chemical accidents and white finger cause by vibrations
  • Accidents/Illnesses caused in the workplace including slips/falls and trips, RSI or those sustained ‘on-site’ in the construction industry
  • Accidents resulting in serious injury, such as back or spinal injury
  • Medical negligence

In general, when an injury has been sustained as a result of someone else’s actions or negligence, then a personal injury solicitor will be able to help qualify a claim.

2. Determining the eligibly of a claim

Many personal injury solicitors can be hired under a ‘No Win No Fee* Arrangement’. This means that if the case is unsuccessful the solicitor will not charge the client for their fees. In addition, if  the case is successful the claimant usually receives 100% of the damages, as the solicitors fees are recovered from the side. This process was set p to ensure open and fair access to the legal system in order to help reduce issues of social exclusion. There are certain criteria that must be met for the claim to be pursued on a no win no fee basis.

In general, a claim should be raised in a reasonably timely manner (less than two years) and the injury received should have been caused directly or indirectly by another party’s negligence.

The purpose of the claim is to compensate the client financially for the other party’s negligence. The solicitor can help determine current and future financial losses, incorporating: the type and extent of injuries received taking into account physical, mental and emotional harm; medical expenses; the impact on the quality of life; and loss of earnings. This will result in a Schedule of Loss that summarises the above into absolute financial amounts and will be used during the claims process to gauge the value of the amount of compensation being pursued by the claimant.

Personal Injury Solicitors – Checklist

  • If an injury has been sustained, then a Personal Injury Solicitor will have the experience to advise on the potential of the claim.
  • A Personal Injury Solicitor can be contacted via The Irish Law Society or our website Personal Injury Solicitors
  • Injury claims can often be pursued on a ‘No Win No Fee basis’.

How long does a whiplash claim* usually take?

A whiplash claim cannot generally be settled until a medical expert has made a final opinion that either the victim has made a complete recovery, or that their symptoms will not improve or deteriorate. Therefore, it is very much dependent on the severity of the injury. In most cases, whiplash claims are settled within six to twelve months.

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

Exciting news…Gibson & Associates Solicitors are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted in 6 categories for the final of the Irish Law Awards 2019.

  • Excellence & Innovation in Client Services Connacht/Ulster
  • Connacht/Ulster Law Firm of the Year
  • Legal Executive of the Year – Sharon Shaw
  • Connacht/Ulster Litigation Law Firm/Lawyer of the Year
  • Pro Bono/Community Law Firm/Lawyer of the Year – Colin Morris
  • Connacht/Ulster Property Law Firm/Team/Lawyer of the Year

This is the third year that the firm has reached the finals after being nominated for Ulster Law Firm of the Year Award 2014, and Excellence in Marketing & Communications 2018.

The Awards:

This is the eight year for the awards, and there are over 100 legal practices from around Ireland participating in this year’s awards. The awards aim to identify, honour, and publicise outstanding achievements, while also recognising those who have dedicated their lives to serving in the legal profession. This annual event is designed to recognise excellence in the legal profession of Ireland, commending the achievements of lawyers. Similar events have been hosted across Europe for many years, and this prestigious ceremony allows Irish legal professionals to be recognised alongside their international peers. This year has 39 categories.

Ivan Yates will host the event to be held in the Clayton Burlington Hotel on Friday the 14th of June. The full list of finalists can be viewed at http://irishlawawards.ie/

If you’re employed you will have an employment contract, which will give you certain rights. Sometimes the contract can be terminated by your employer; but apart from quitting a job to seek new opportunities, there is another more unfortunate reason why an employee might decide to end their employment contract.

What is constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal: is where an employee leaves their employment because they can no longer endure their situation at work. The unbearable situation could be due to circumstances beyond the employee’s control. In most cases, this is brought about by an employer or manager’s behaviour, or new conditions that would be a breach of the employees contract. Examples of conditions that could make employment unsuitable for the employee range from reductions in pay, to a change in workplace location.

In constructive dismissal cases, the employee is claiming that they had no other option but to leave the place of employment — with or without notice of termination. If you leave without notice, you should have very strong reasons for doing so!

There are other more serious instances where an employee may opt for constructive dismissal; a common and unfortunate situation for a many is being bullied, in the workplace, by a supervisor.

What’s the difference in constructive dismissal, unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal?

In constructive dismissal the employee is terminating their own contract, so the onus is on the employee to prove that the dismissal was constructive. Whereas with unfair dismissal, the employer must prove that the dismissal was fair. Employees can claim for unfair dismissal, and most dismissals are seen as unfair, unless an employer can demonstrate grounds for the firing.

A wrongful dismissal is a little different from unfair dismissal, as it focuses on a contractual breach such as failing to give an employee the correct length of notice.

What are the legal options?

If you have left your employment by means if a constructive dismissal, there are options open to you to claim compensation. There might be one or two basis of claiming redress, for example if you left due to being bullied by your supervisor, you could also have grounds for personal injury case (if there’s medical evidence) as well as pursuing a constructive dismissal.

Can you resign and claim for constructive dismissal?

Yes, if you have proof that the resignation was constructive, and you resigned shortly after an incident — that was in breach of your contract. You should state the nature of the contractual breach in your resignation letter. The rules for a constructive dismissal are:

  • You must be employed by the company for 12 consecutive months before the breach incident occurred. But there are exceptions for example a woman terminating her employment contract because she was being victimised due to being pregnant.
  • You should make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
  • You should start your claim process within six months of terminating your contract.

How to prove a constructive dismissal?

A constructive dismissal should be taken very seriously by the employee, they need to be sure that it’s the best or only thing to do in their situation. In law, there a two tests used to prove  constructive dismissal:

  • The employee was entitled to resign; or
  • It was reasonable for the employee to resign.

How to win a claim for constructive dismissal?

If you’re an employee, you must exhaust all other possible avenues of resolution before terminating their employment contract. Especially, follow any grievance procedures, and make a formal complaint to HR. This will make your legal case stronger. And, if you don’t exhaust all grievance procedures, you run the risk of your employer claiming that they didn’t realise that there was an issue!

Constructive dismissal cases can be more difficult to win in court compared to unfair dismissal cases, as the employee must have substantial proof.

  • There must be a breach, or an anticipated breach of the employee’s contract.
  • The breach must be significant enough that it would give reason for the employee to leave employment.
  • The employee must leave because of the reported incident or breach, and not for some other unrelated incident.
  • The employee should terminate the contract reasonably soon after the breach occurred.

A very successful case for constructive dismissal was won by a lady in County Meath, after a period of sick leave, she tried to return to work but was faced with obstacles and contractual changes, that made her feel demoted from her previous position. The company suspended her until she agreed to the new terms of contract, the suspension amounted to a constructive dismissal, and the employee in the case was awarded €90,000 in damages.

Compensation

The unfair dismissals Act 1977-2001, is one of the most important pieces of employment legislation, the act provides for intervention or redress in cases of constructive and unfair dismissal cases. Under this act compensation for loss for earning due to the dismissal can be claimed.

Redress in employment cases can be reinstatement (going back to the same position before the dismissal), re-engagement (going back to the same job or another suitable position) and/or monetary compensation. Compensation is the preferred option, as the relationship between the employee and employer is likely to have deteriorated.

The Last Straw

The Last Straw principle is when an employee resigns after a series of actions by their employer, rather than a single serious breach of contract. The final act, that lead the employee does not have to be as serious breach but it’s the cumulative effect of the acts that leads to a serious breach.

If you are thinking about leaving your employment and claiming for a constructive dismissal, remember the burden of proof on you is a heavy one, and it can be a difficult case to win. So, if you are experiencing work related stress, are being harassed in some way or are being subjected some other breach of contract, you should approach your supervisor and lodge a complaint. If your complaint is ignored, then consider talking to one of our employment solicitors for help and advice.

GDPR

Gibson & Associates Solicitors in Partnership with The Northside Civic Centre in Dublin, will be delivering a FREE Public Information event on GDPR: Know Your Rights – Protect Your Privacy.

Date: Friday 31st of May

Duration: 10.00am – 12.00pm

Speaker: Solicitor Reza Nezam

Location: Northside Civic Centre

Find on Google Maps: Northside Civic Centre

You can register for this event now, by subscribing below.

By subscribing to this event, you give consent to receive notifications of this event, and emails will be used for no other marketing purposes.

For more information on your GDPR rights, read our blog here:

 

 

data breach

Can you seek an award for damages of your personal data has been exposed to a breach of regulation? The short answer is yes. Data privacy laws in the European union are rigid and are there to protect you as a consumer or employee. Data protection laws in Ireland and the rest of the EU are known as GDPR; under Article 82 of these new laws, if you’ve suffered material or non-material damage as the result of a data privacy breach, then you have the right to seek compensation. The individual has the right to bring a claim to court.

Firstly, it would be helpful to have a little understanding of the principles of GDPR, and what are your rights. General Data Protection Rules (GDPR) came into direct law in Ireland on the 25th of May 2018. The rules are a reformation of the data protection act 1988 and 2003. It affects companies and individuals who record, process and hold your personal information.

What are the GDPR principles (protection of your private data)?

  • Companies must process your data transparently, fairly and lawfully.
  • Only collect your personal data for a specified and legitimates reason.
  • They should only collect data that is relevant to that purpose. An example would be a service collecting and storing your phone number when they never would have a legitimate reason to call you.
  • Data that is not accurate or ‘out of date’ should not be stored.
  • Data should be stored in a way that it’s easily identifiable to its purpose  e.g email address stored on a marketing list for a newsletter, and this email address should not be kept for longer that is necessary.
  • Security; a company needs to protect your data from the risk of a human, hacker or a technical leak.
  • Companies must be able to demonstrate that they are complying with the principles.
  • And, companies must respond to you if you make a request to them under GDPR rights, e.g requesting a copy of the information that they hold on you (Access request).

If companies are not abiding by these rules, they could become vulnerable to a breach of GDPR, and in turn, this could increase your risk of being affected by a data breach. But, apart from enforcing these principles, companies and organisations have obligations to individuals, these are your rights under GDPR,  Let’s have a look at your rights here:

  • Data Access: If you are an EU citizen, you can contact any organisation/body and ask for a copy of all the data they hold on you whether it’s CCTV footage, written or digitally held records of your personal information. What to do: send a request to the organisation/body that you want your data from, send as many details as possible, this could be photo ID, name and copy or email address. The company should respond to your request (known as a subject request) within one month.
  • To be informed: Transparency is an important requirement of GDPR, you have the right to be informed of the collection of your personal data. When you’re browsing a company’s website you should find information on how data is collected in their Privacy Policy.
  • Rectification: If you feel that your personal information help about you is wrong or inaccurate, you have the right to ask for that information to be corrected.
  • Erasure: This is also known as ‘the right to be forgotten’ you can ask a company to ease data held on you, the company only has to oblige in certain circumstances. This request is common where data is held about children, especially in an online environment.
  • Restrict processing: Processing data refers to operation performed on data, such as recording, modifying, collecting or publishing the information. You have the right to ask an organisation to stop using your data, but the data can still be stored.
  • Data portability: Companies need to store your data in a format that is portable, so if you request your data, it is easily transferred to you or to another. This applies commonly in e commerce, for example requesting from an online retailer a copy of your purchase history.
  • The right to object: You have the right to object to a company continuing to process your personal data, an example of this is if you request to be removed from a mailing list.
  • Automated processing: This is the processing of data without human involvement, this data might be used for decision making and profiling. An example of profiling individuals data is analysing your shopping behaviour, then comparing your data with other shoppers to create ‘personalities’; this information helps companies make predictions on other products that you would like. Automated processing can be unlawful if you haven’t given content, unless the processing is necessary for public interest reasons.

The biggest automated processing breach of recent times was the Facebook Cambridge Analytica Scandal where the data on millions of Facebook profiles was harvested without people’s consent.

All companies that process personal data should have a data protection policy, this is a document stating the companies GDPR compliance procedures and principles. You should be able to access a company’s data protection policy. If you’ve reason to believe that your personal data has been breached, maybe you have received a data breach notification from a company. You should make a complaint to the office of the data protection commissioner.

Data breaches are incredibility common; and breaches, of some sort, are occurring nearly every day. When a data breach is serious and the individuals are entitled to redress, this could lead into millions of euros in payouts. At the moment there are law cases ongoing involving Ticketmaster, British Airways, Marriott Hotels and Facebook who could have to pay large payouts to consumers, as well as pay significant GDPR fines.

Compensation

If your personal data has been exposed due to a breach of the rules, you have the right to seek compensation from the controller or processor of the data. The data involved in most breach compensation claims is usually personal information, that identifies the individual e.g PPS numbers, or financial information such as your bank PIN (data that is not normally public information). But it is possible, that even without damage suffered, you could be entitled to compensation if any of your rights — outlined above — have been violated, at the very least the company or organisation involved could be subjected to a fine.

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

If you have been affected by a Data Breach and would like more information, then fill out the form below, and we will get back to you!

Personal Injury

Our head solicitor of our Personal Injury Department Amanda Walsh is based in Dublin, in our Capel Building office. Recently, I asked her what are the most common questions clients asked about personal injury claims? Below are the questions that our Personal Injury team commonly respond to, and a brief answer to the questions.

Q 1. Do I have a personal injury claim?

Generally if you suffer an accident due to someone else’s fault you could have a personal injury claim. Or, if you can answer yes to either of the below questions, would give a good indication of you have injury claim eligibility:

  • Did the accident or incident cause me a visible injury, or pain (some injuries are not visible for example whiplash after a car accident), and not just damage to my property?
  • Do you suffer from psychological trauma as a result of the incident, for example depression or anxiety?

A personal injury claim enables you to recover compensation; for damages done to you physically, financially and/or psychologically.

There are many causes of personal injury from traffic accidents, trips and falls in public places, work accidents, medical mistakes etc., but, the accident generally should be the fault of another person(s) negligence.

No two personal injury claims are the same, many factors have to be taken into consideration. Even such factors as age and gender can impact on claims.

Q 2. When do I need to start the personal injury claims process? What is the time frame involved, and how long it will take to get a result?

So, you’ve been in an accident some time ago…maybe it’s too late to claim? Generally, in Ireland, you must start a personal injury claim within two years of the accident occurring. This is known as the statute of limitations, after the two years is up the case is barred. But, there can be some exceptions to the rule, for example, maybe the injured party was under 18 years old at the time of the accident.

The length of time it takes to process an injury claim can vary, but the Personal Injuries Assessment Board state that the average time frame is seven months. And we usually find it takes somewhere between six and nine months, then the payout of compensation normally happens within a month of finalisation from the Personal Injuries Board. But, if the claim ends up in the courts (litigation) the claim assessment could take up to three years.

Q 3. Who are the Personal Injuries Board and what to they do?

The Personal Injuries Board (PIAB) is Ireland’s independent government body that assess personal injury compensation claims. All personal injury claims go to PIAB (except Medical Negligence cases), unless the claim has been settled early by claimant and other parties involved. Your solicitor will deal with PIAB on your behalf.

PIAB will provide an assessment on your claim for compensation, its primary role is to quickly value claims and make awards that can be accepted or rejected by the claimant(s).

Q 4.  Why are medical reports needed and what are the costs?

A medical report is required to prove that the reported accident caused the injuries that were sustained. This report will help prove injuries such as pain, loss and suffering; and details on the nature of the injury, the effects this will have on the injured and how long recovery is likely to take.

Your personal injury solicitor can request your medical reports, for you, from your doctor; reports need to be received within two months of the injured person being examined. Under Civil Liability and Courts Act, 2004, there are severe sanctions for inaccurate medical reports — the reports should be as accurate as possible of the injuries sustained.

Fees for medical reports can vary. Different GPs will have different charges, reports could cost in the region of €100, and some could go up to €400. If specialist’s medical reports are required this will cost significantly more. The injured person that’s making the claim usually will have to pay for these reports; but can claim the payment back, if their case is successful.

Q 6.  If my injury caused me to be off work, what do I do?

If you wish to claim compensation for the injury, you should proceed to claim with the help of your solicitor. But, in the meantime you may be entitled to benefits to compensate for your loss of earnings. There are two scenarios here:

1. Was it a workplace accident that caused the injury?

If the accident happened in work or on the way to work, you should report the accident to your employer. Then, you should check your employment contract for sick leave entitlements. In the case of no entitlements, you could still be eligible for Injury Benefit: a payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

2. Was it an accident caused somewhere other than the workplace?

If the injury now has caused you to take sick leave, you can apply for illness benefit, subject to PRSI conditions. If it was a serious accident that is causing you to take leave of at least one year, then a disability allowance might be available to you. Your local citizens information office will provide you more information on these payments.

Q 7. What are the costs of the case? How much compensation do I get?

Your solicitor will discuss fees with you, there might be a no win no fee agreement. This is common in personal injury cases, it means that if the case is not successful, the claimant won’t have to pay legal fees. Other typical fees for personal injury cases include the Personal Injuries Board Application PIAB fee, this is set at around €45. And, then there is your medical report fee, as previously discussed.

Compensation depends on many factors, but guideline payout amounts for different injuries can be found in the PIAB Book of Quantum. Or, if you wish to look up an estimate of the typical compensation for an injury, you might find a personal injury claim calculator useful; many of these calculators can be found online.

Q 8. Will the matter go to court? And will the case be in the media?

Not normally. Most, probably over 90%, of personal injury cases are settled before reaching a stage of having to go to court. Usually, if the case ends up in court it’s because the parties involved have failed to agree on a compensation outcome. But, your solicitor will still prepare your case as if it will be presented in the courts.

Other times that personal injury cases end up in court are due to the Personal Injuries Board declining the case; this could be due to the nature of the claim, time frames involved, issues with the insurance company or the claimant’s medical prognosis.

You will sometimes read about compensation payouts in the media. But the majority of claims won’t be in the news. Claims might make the headlines if there’s a high profile individual or organisation involved; a large settlement agreed; or,  the case is particularly unusual, e.g a lady sued Starbucks for putting too much ice in her… iced coffee! Yes, this happened.

In Gibson & Associates Solicitors we have a dedicated Personal Injury team with specialisms in injury law, from minor accidents to catastrophic injury, and medical negligence. If you have an enquiry about a personal injury, fill out the enquiry form below, and we’ll get back to you.

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

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

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.”

 

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.

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.

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