In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement
If you are involved in a Road Traffic Accident and
if you were injured and have suffered losses as a result
of that accident, you are entitled to be compensated
for those injuries and losses. Up until recently it
was your Solicitor who would act on your behalf in this
regard. Your Solicitor would take instructions from
you, negotiate and communicate with the relevant third
parties (Insurance Company/Defendant/other Agent). In
the event that your Solicitor was unable to negotiate
adequate compensation on your behalf proceedings would
be issued in the relevant Jurisdiction (District/Circuit/High
Court) and the matter would be brought before the Courts.
It was your Solicitors job to gather in all the evidence
relevant to the case, deal with the Garda and in particular
take up copies of the Garda Abstract (Report) in the
matter, deal with your Medical Practitioners and analyse
the Medical Reports furnished by them, instruct the
appropriate Counsel where necessary and ensure that
the proceedings move through the Courts in a professional
and proper manner. This ultimately led to fair and adequate
compensation being paid to the injured party for their
pain, loss and suffering resulting from the accident.
Under the new system brought in under the Personal
Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003 a Plaintiff must
now establish, prove and bring their own case before
PIAB and essentially act on their own behalf. An injured
persons application must be made to PIAB and they will
assess the case of that person and award compensation
resulting from those investigations. Essential difference
between the old system and the PIAB system is that a
Plaintiff is no longer automatically entitled to legal
representation before the Board and is not awarded any
compensation for the cost they may incur should they
decide to hire professional help to assist them with
their application. A Plaintiff must now gather in all
their own Medical Reports deal with all the complex
issues arising from the comments made therein and in
particular deal with bringing an application before
a Board of professional people even though they feel
unqualified to do so.
It is recommended by our office and indeed by the Law
Society of Ireland that even though you may not be compensated
for any payments made to your Solicitor, an injured
party should contact their Solicitor and ask for their
assistance in preparation of their case. Your Solicitor
will have many years experience in preparing this case
and often the time and cost taken in hiring an expert
to look after the matter for you will guarantee an adequate
compensation award. We believe this will more than compensate
any cost made to your Solicitor. Obviously, PIAB have
attempted to eliminate the lawyers entirely from the
procedure. This may seem a very attractive prospect
to some parties however it is essential to remember
that your Solicitor is there is to protect your interests
and to be your professional adviser in the face of a
very professional PIAB Assessment Board. Personally,
we feel in Flanagan Solicitors that your right
to equal representation has been seriously diminished
by virtue of the fact that your Solicitor cannot attend
with you at these Assessment Boards. We would hope no
person would ever have to make a claim for personal
injuries but in the event that you have to it would
most likely be once in your lifetime: is it fair that
a client should be asked to prepare a professional case
and answer to a professional body on this one occasion
without the assistance of their Solicitor who has many
years experience equivalent to the persons sitting on
When the matter is brought before PIAB it is at the
discretion of the Defendants or their Insurance Company
to refuse or accept liability for the claim brought
by you. If PIAB refuse to accept liability they will
then issue a certificate to you which will allow you
to revert to the Court system. This may occur up to
twelve months after you have taken your initial claim
and essentially put you back at the starting blocks.
After the certificate has issued you will then go to
your Solicitor and your Solicitor will begin the process
of bringing the matter before the Courts.
An Insurance Company or a Defendant may also refuse
to accept the recommendation of PIAB. Essentially this
means that when an Insurance Company or a Defendant
may also refuse to accept the recommendation of PIAB.
Essentially this means that when an Insurance Company
or a Defendant feel the compensation being awarded by
PIAB is to high the matter will then revert to the Courts.
Again serious delays are incurred here.
You as a Plaintiff may of course also refuse to accept
the recommendations of PIAB and seek to revert to the
Court system. In our view the only way you will know
whether or not you have been sufficiently compensated
is by contacting your Solicitor, who is qualified to
assess such matters.
As you may be aware from the Media the High Court has
recently stated in a Judgement that PIAB must now communicate
with Solicitors who apply to them on behalf of their
clients. Heretofore PIAB would have refused to communicate
directly with a Plaintiff's Solicitor. This was seen
to have jeopardised the Plaintiff's right to equal representation.
You may contact your Solicitor to handle your entire
matter up to the point where it would go before PIAB.
This would mean that your Solicitor will gather together
all the necessary reports, advices and proofs to ensure
that you have put the best case forward.
If you have been misfortunate enough to be involved
in an accident which has caused you loss or personal
injury you should first seek adequate medical advice
and treatment and thereafter contact your Solicitor
to discuss your options.
You can contact us through our Website at any time.