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...
Release of the Fifth Edition of the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases in Northern Ireland

Release of the Fifth Edition of the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases in Northern Ireland

The new edition of the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases in Northern Ireland (the Green Book) has been released and is effective as of today. This is the 5th edition of the Green Book compiled by a Committee of the Judicial Studies Board under the chairmanship of Lord Justice Stephens. The previous edition was released six years ago in 2013 and coincided with major overhauls to the court system most particularly the increase in the County Court Jurisdiction to £30,000.00. In previous Editions the figures were adjusted up to the date of publication using RPI on the basis that during the 5 years of Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases in Northern Ireland the Guidelines the figures could and would be further adjusted in individual cases. The Committee concluded that this did not occur so in the fifth Edition they factored forward for inflation, again applying RPI at its present rate, to the midline of the next 5 years on the basis that the guideline figures would be applicable for the entire 5 year period. The 5th edition has taken steps to amend (with the exception of extremely minor whiplash injuries) most figures upward by a value of roughly 20% from the 4th edition. The 5th edition has for the first time accounted and made specific reference to Pleural Plaques.  This of course will be in response to the Law passed by the NI Assembly which allowed compensation for the condition. Pleural Plaques. On their own, asymptomatic pleural plaques would justify an award in the region of £3,500....

Lacey Solicitors succeed in persuading Court that Plaintiff was not entitled to damages for alleged injuries.

District Judge Duncan dismissed the Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Action at Derry Courthouse at hearing on the 11th February. The fifty one year old Plaintiff had claimed to have suffered a lower back injury sustained in a minor Road Traffic Collision on the 27th February 2015. The Judge heard from the Plaintiff that she was a rear seated passenger in the Defendant’s taxi car which had been reversed into a bollard. The Plaintiff described a big bang and how she had felt a big thud on her back. The Defendant admitted that there had been a collision between his car and the bollard, but that the impact was of a scraping or glancing nature. The Defendant’s Solicitors had the Plaintiff examined by Professor Mollan. The Court was told that Dr Mollan had concluded that he would not have expected any injury to have been sustained. Mr Simpson, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon had reported on behalf of the Plaintiff. The Court was told that Mr Simpson would not accept Mr Mollan’s conclusion that the Plaintiff sustained no injury. Michael McLaughlin, Consulting Engineer gave evidence on behalf of the Defendant on the basis of the examination of the bollard and the Defendants vehicle. He found no damage on the bollard which he could match to the vehicle. He accepted that the bollard was tilting slightly. His evidence was that there was no evidence of a collision of force between the bollard and the car. He accepted that his inspection was some time after the accident. The Judge Dismissed the Plaintiff’s case. He did not accept that on balance the Plaintiff had discharged her...
High Court Awards Garda €5,000 for Hand Injury Sustained in the Course of Duty.

High Court Awards Garda €5,000 for Hand Injury Sustained in the Course of Duty.

This case concerned a claim by the applicant, Garda Kampff, for compensation in respect of a soft tissue injury to his hand. Counsel for the applicant relied on the Book of Quantum to urge the Court to an award of circa €21,700. Despite the Book of Quantum expressly providing that minor injuries to a hand have led to awards of up to €21,700, the High Court ruled that the award of anything even close to this magnitude could not be justified for what was, in essence “bruising to the hand” and awarded the applicant €5,000. This amount is a fraction of the maximum damages of €15,000 that can be awarded in the District Court. Yet this matter had to be heard in the High Court under the Garda Compensation Act as currently drafted. Since this case is a common example of the type of case that is heard in the High Court under the Garda Compensation Acts on a weekly basis, it highlights, in this Court’s view, the need for a reform of this area. It is clear from the judgment of Barton J. in Murphy v. Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform [2015] IEHC 868 that in dealing with compensation claims under the Garda Compensation Acts that the High Court is not obliged to have regard to the Book of Quantum: “For the sake of completeness, it is considered appropriate to refer to the provisions of s. 22 of the Civil Liability in Courts Act 2004 (the Act of 2004) which imposes on the Court a requirement, when assessing damages in a personal injuries action, to have regard...

Second and Final Personal Injuries Commission Report Published.

July 2018 saw the publication of the second and final report of the Personal Injuries Commission. The Personal Injuries Commission was established in January 2017 to undertake extensive research into the cost of insurance and personal injury claims in Ireland. The report highlighted that the level of general damages for soft tissue (whiplash) injuries in the Republic of Ireland runs at around 4.4 times that of Northern Ireland, England and Wales.  It confirmed that such high levels of awards resulted in severe difficulties for business representatives, small firms and other individuals seeking insurance in the form of high premiums and devoting resources to defend the high volumes of claims based. The Personal Injuries Commission recognised the negative impact of high insurance premiums on consumers, with individual consumers facing huge difficulties as they struggle to afford their annual premium. Whilst it was beyond the scope of the report of the commission to analyse in detail why Irish payments and awards were higher than those in the UK.  The report did acknowledge that historically it has always been the case and what the report did do was evidence, for the first time, the scale of this difference. The report stated; “a primary aim of government policy is to ensure that Ireland is and remains a good environment which businesses can establish and operate. Such considerations underpinned the establishment of the Commercial Court in 2004, the success of which is widely acknowledged. It is important for businesses to believe that they can operate in a market which is untrammelled by distortions or anomalies which are in inimical to their interest and survival. ...
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