Nervous Shock Cases in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland – An Update.

Nervous Shock Cases in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland – An Update.

  A woman has been awarded more than €87,000 in a nervous shock case by the High Court in the Republic of Ireland for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after she saw the partly decapitated body of a motorist who had just crashed into a bus. This case highlighted the complexities of ‘Nervous Shock’ cases and the distinction between primary and secondary victims. The Plaintiff, Lisa Sheehan, (36) was driving home from work in Cork city on 28th January 2017. On her way home, near Mallow, some debris struck her car causing her to halt. She got out of the car to investigate and saw a damaged bus and a severely damaged car. She glimpsed a ‘badly disfigured and partly decapitated body’ which she initially thought was a child but transpired to be the body of the driver of the car. Despite being in an understandable state of shock, Ms Sheehan called the emergency services and started searching the surrounding area for any others that may have been thrown from the car but there were none. She saw the bus driver whose face was covered in blood. Three days after the accident she went to her GP after suffering a panic attack at work. She became tearful and agitated and could not get the images of the scene of the accident out of her head. She was prescribed anti-depressants, given counselling and was out of work for five weeks with further intermitted absences due to anxiety. She suffered flashbacks and nightmares and so gave up her job in February 2019. She continues to receive counselling and medication. She was diagnosed with moderately...
Business Interruption Insurance and Covid-19.  A Pandemic for the Insurance Industry.

Business Interruption Insurance and Covid-19. A Pandemic for the Insurance Industry.

As a result of the global spread of Covid-19 and with the number of confirmed infections rising globally, businesses are looking to their insurance policies and the terms therein to establish whether or not they have any business interruption coverage to help them through these difficult times. Business interruption policies are policies of indemnity, the purpose of which is to put the business in the position they would have been had there been no interruption subject, of course, to limits and terms and conditions of the policy. Lacey Solicitors has seen an increase in instructions relating to the terms of these business interruption policies where it transpires that, more often than not, business disruption typically is included within the policy. The query therefore arises, can a business utilise the business interruption cover in their policy of insurance to claim back their losses arising from the spread of Covid-19? To answer this one must carefully review a business’s policy of insurance, but a history lesson is also helpful to understand the wording of these policies. The 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Outbreak was one of the largest losses to the insurance industry ever recorded. By way of comparison, SARS was also a Coronavirus and also began at a Chinese wet market. Covid-19 however has dwarfed the death and infection rate of SARS with current figures at the time of writing as; 349,090 infections and 15,296 deaths globally over the past 4 months to date. SARS however had 8098 infections and 774 deaths over a 20-month period. Insurers paid millions in business interruption losses as a result of the SARS...
High Court Average Personal Injury Awards Drop by 29% in 2018

High Court Average Personal Injury Awards Drop by 29% in 2018

According to Court Service a total of 22,049 personal injury suits were filed in Ireland last year, at all Court levels. This was a minor decline on the 22,417 filed the preceding year. Nevertheless, there was an insignificant rise in the sums granted in lower Courts across the state. The quantity awarded in personal injuries cases rose from €3.5 million in 2017 to €4.5 million in 2018 in the District Court, and from €20 million to €23.6 million in the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court can make awards of up to €60,000, while the District Court make awards of up to €15,000. The amount granted in the Circuit Court increased from €19.8m to €23.5m between 2017 and 2018, with the average sum awarded rising by 2.8% from €18,488 to €19,014. The overall sum granted in the District Court soared from €3.49m in 2017 to €4.5m last year, with the average sum awarded rising by 4.5% from €7,643 to €7,987. The statistics confirm the assessment of previous High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, who stated earlier this year that: “while the Court of Appeal had recalibrated awards at the higher end, this descending reach effectively immobile in the High Court and was not been seen in courts below it.” Mr Justice Kearns directed the Personal Injuries Commission, which proposed the setting up of a Judicial Council to recalibrate the range of awards for less serious injuries. Legislation permitting for the Judicial Council was approved by the Dáil in early July 2019. In addition, Chief Justice Frank Clarke expressed a “little caution” must be applied with the decreases in awards....
Insurer’s right to carry out surveillance on Plaintiff justified in the European Court of Human Rights.

Insurer’s right to carry out surveillance on Plaintiff justified in the European Court of Human Rights.

Mehmedovic v Switzerland involved the observation of Mr Mehmedovic and, his wife, in public areas by  investigators in order to ascertain whether his claim for compensation, was justified following a Road Traffic Accident in 2001. Mr Mehmedovic sustained bodily injuries in which he was a car passenger. He complained that he suffered from epilepsy attacks and pain in his left arm. He pleaded that as a result of the accident he was unable to preform daily tasks of every day life. When placed under surveillance it was evident Mr Mehmedovic was than capable of preforming daily tasks. His wife appeared in six photographs, but was not easily identifiable. Mr and Ms Mehmedovic complained about the fact that they had been placed under surveillance, relying on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the Convention. The Court observed that the relationship between an insured person and the insurer fell within the domain of private law. It was evident that domestic courts had carried out a detailed analysis of the competing interests of the two parties and had held, in particular, that the insurer had a duty to verify whether the victim’s claim for reparation was justified, as it was also acting in the interests of all the insured collectively. The ECHR held there was no appearance of a violation of Article 8 of the Convention and held that the application was manifestly ill-founded. In this matter the court held, similar to the previous case of Verliere v Switzerland, that the insurer had an overriding interest that meant that the interference with the applicant’s personality rights was lawful and justified....
Jenna Curran of Lacey Solicitors attends Law Society House for Seminar hosted by TRADATA

Jenna Curran of Lacey Solicitors attends Law Society House for Seminar hosted by TRADATA

Jenna Curran of our office recently attended the TRADATA (Training of lawyers on the European Union’s Data Protection Reform) Seminar at Law Society House, Belfast and was granted a Certificate in recognition of her participation. The event was operated with the European Lawyers Foundation as coordinator and eight other European partners. Topics covered included the impact of GDPR nine months after its inception, the potential impact of Brexit and GDPR Employment Practices. The seminar also featured a section on Cyber Security awareness in a world where the amount of information we deal with is increasing exponentially.  Practical tips on regularly changing passwords, not using the same passwords for multiple accounts and considering the use of strong passwords was a simple but effective reminder of how we can try to meet our responsibility to protect not only our own data, but that of others. Cyber Crime is on the increase and the perpetrators of this type of crime have at their fingertips very sophisticated software packages which can allow them to infiltrate various devices and make use of that data for their own gain.  Often, their gain comes at the expense of the person from whom the data has been taken.  We are all too familiar with the cases of hackers intercepting emails containing bank account details and changing these details.   This can, of course, have huge ramifications for the person who ultimately ends up transferring money to a non-intended beneficiary. The training served as a sobering reminder that information and personal data are very valuable and it is imperative that we treat that data with the level of respect...
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