Month: July 2014

Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme will Delay Receipt of Compensation Settlements

The introduction of the Department of Social Protection´s “Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme” will delay receipt of compensation settlements due to the additional processes involved.

 The “Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme” is a new scheme introduced as part of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2013 that comes into force on Friday 1st August and which allows the Department of Social Protection (DSP) to recover selected welfare payments made to recipients of personal injury compensation.

The scheme will have no impact on how much compensation plaintiffs will receive – as under the current system welfare payments are deducted from settlements of compensation for loss of earnings – but it will delay the receipt of compensation from insurance companies, who have to go through an elaborate procedure in order to satisfy the new regulations.

Under the Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme, insurance companies – or other parties responsible for paying injury compensation settlements – are required to apply for a statement from the DSP pertaining to the value of certain welfare payments a plaintiff has received in the previous five years. This statement should be released to the compensator within four weeks.

Thereafter, the compensator must then release the funds to the DSP and wait for a “recoverable benefits certificate” to be returned before making payment to the plaintiff. Depending on the efficiency of the DSP´s administrators, the delay in receipt of compensation payments could be as long as three months.

Copies of the benefits statement will also be sent to the plaintiff and the Injuries Board (in cases where the Injuries Board have completed an accepted assessment) detailing the deductions that are to be made under the Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme – the “Certain benefits” being:

  • Disability Allowance
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Injury Benefit
  • Illness Benefit
  • Partial Capacity Benefit
  • Incapacity Supplement

It is important for a plaintiff to know it is not their responsibility to make payments themselves to the DSP and that an appeals procedure exists in the event that the value of welfare payments is contested. If there is any confusion over the Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme, it is recommended to speak with a personal injury solicitor.

Woman´s Claim for Injuries Sustained in Hit and Run Accident Resolved at Hearing

A woman´s claim for injuries sustained in a hit and run accident has been resolved after a hearing at the High Court when a €1.2 million compensation settlement was approved by a judge.

Laura Byrne (26) from New Ross, County Wexford, was talking with friends on John Street in New Ross when, on June 20th 2009, she was hit by a car driven by Polish national Karol Chrzan. Chrzan drove off after the accident, and was later arrested by the Garda when admitted to panicking due to being over the alcohol limit for driving.

The Garda also discovered that Chrzan had been driving his partner´s car, for which he was not insured, and charged him with causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He was sentenced to three years in prison and banned from driving for six years.

Laura had been taken to Waterford Regional Hospital after the accident suffering from head injuries after hitting her head on the windscreen of the care. When it became apparent that she had suffered internal brain injuries, she was transferred to Cork Hospital for specialist treatment.

As a result of the permanent brain injuries she sustained in the accident, Laura had to abandon the veterinary course she was studying. She suffered attacks of double vision and problems with her balance, and – five years after the accident –  Laura´s left arm is still weaker than her right.

Laura made a claim for injuries sustained in a hit and run accident against the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) – the organisation responsible for settling claims against uninsured drivers – and a settlement of €1.2 million compensation was agreed.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court in Dublin approved the settlement – commenting that it was a good one in the circumstances – and closed the case by adding that, although no settlement of compensation would make up for the trauma Laura had suffered, she hoped that the extra money would make Laura´s life better.

Public Liability Claims by Women Outnumber Claims by Men 2-to-1

According to statistics released by the Injuries Board, public liability claims by women in 2013 outnumbered those made by men by two-to-one.

Public liability claims for compensation are the second-most common category of personal injury claim in Ireland after claims for injuries sustained in motor accidents; and last year more than 1,700 assessments of public liability injury compensation were accepted by people who had suffered injuries in public liability accidents.

The most common type of public liability accident was trips, slips and falls in places of public access – more than two-thirds of the accepted assessments related to accidents such as slips on wet floors, trips over broken pavements and falls due to uneven drains and manholes – while a higher than usual number of injuries were sustained in leisure facilities such as cinemas, sports clubs and hairdressers.

Accidents in shops and supermarkets accounted for a considerable number of public liability compensation settlements and, possibly due to the high number of shopping accidents, the volume of public liability claims by women outstripped those made by men by 71.4 percent -v- 28.6 percent – with the majority of injuries sustained being fractures, cuts and soft tissue injuries such as bruises and strains.

Also possibly due to the high number of injuries sustained in shopping accidents, Saturday was the most common day of the week for accidents in public places for the third consecutive year. The month of July 2013 saw the highest level of accidents throughout the year, while January – surprisingly considering the nature of the weather in January – was the safest month to be out and about.

The total amount of compensation for public liability injuries assessed by the Injuries Board in 2013 amounted to €44 million, with the average accepted assessment being €25,120 – an increase of more than 10 percent on 2012. Despite the number of public liability claims by women being more than double those made by men, men accepted awards slightly higher on average than those for women (€25,664 -v- €24,902).

Court Approves Settlement of Compensation for Fatal Car Crash

The High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for a fatal car crash in which a mother-of-five was killed due to the negligence of a New Year´s Eve reveller.

Rose Martin (57) of Carrickakelly in County Monaghan suffered fatal injuries on 31st December 2006, when her husband´s car – in which Rose was a front-seat passenger – was involved in a head-on collision at Philipstown Corner in Killerley with a car driven by Jason Kearney of Dundalk, County Louth.

Rose remained conscious after the collision, and spoke with her husband William and her son David – who suffers from Down Syndrome – while waiting for emergency services to arrive and take the injured family members to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda – where William was treated for a broken leg and David underwent surgery for an abdominal injury.

Rose died in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital eleven days after the accident after which William went into shock. When he recovered, he sought legal advice and made a claim for compensation for a fatal car crash against Kearney – alleging that Kearney had been driving negligently and too fast for the road conditions considering the weather that evening.

Liability for Rose´s death, the injuries to William and David, and the emotional trauma suffered by William after Rose passed away was accepted by Kearney´s insurers, and a settlement of €650,000 compensation for a fatal car crash was negotiated.

Because the claim for compensation concerned a fatal injury, the settlement had to be approved in court before it could be fully resolved; and therefore, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told of the circumstances of the car crash, how Rose Martin had been David´s primary carer for 28 years and the settlement that had been agreed.

The judge approved the settlement of compensation for a fatal car crash and gave the family her sympathy for the terrible experience they had been through and the loss of a wife and mother.