The war of attrition between the injuries board and solicitors in relation to payment of costs continues………….
By way of background the injuries board was set up would be stated intention not pay for any costs if a claimant want to bring a claim for compensation. The result is if you are blameless in an accident the money received in compensation must be used to pay for expert advice on value of the claim and how to bring the claim itself.
The injuries board maintain you can larch your own claim make an assessment yourself from their book while on website and generally be satisfied that you will gain proper value for an injury suffered. It follows the same logic that you can service your own car, build your own house and probably self-medicate itself……… some can do it but not everybody.
The reality since the start of the act in 2003 is that 96% employ legal advisers concerning their claim.
There has been some payment for costs where the claimant is deemed to be a vulnerable person but in true Irish legislation drafting terms there is no definition as to who is a vulnerable person.
It is sensible to all times to say all claims are vulnerable and see what the board makes of the application. There is a rough rule upon which says EUR400 plus VAT can be payable in such cases.
On reading issues to court, the lawyers won the first round in that anything that wasn’t how to seek independent advice and the early efforts by the injuries board to reduce restrict lawyer access have been rebuffed by the courts. This is on the basis that in any matter concerning legal rights, whether criminal or civil courts will recognise the right to legal advice.
This latest skirmish seems to have gone to the Injuries Board. This was an application by two polish people to claim they were vulnerable and entitled to some contribution towards costs.
Judge Ryan in the High Court if delivered a judgement on October 19 last, where are the injuries board were not wrong to deny any payment of costs in these particular cases.
The Injuries Board must be pleased with his decision as they place it on the front page of their website.
The real test in the long term will be how many claims are settled in the Injuries Board system and how many simply go through to the courts themselves.