Car-Insurance-Climbs-and-so-does-Personal-Injury-Legal-Costs

Only days into the New Year and once again news headlines are focused on rising insurance premium costs.

As the real causes of rising car cover costs are at last being laid at the door of the Irish insurance industry itself, it is now time to finally bust some of the myths still being put forward by their PR machine.

Myth #1: “It’s the higher legal costs in Ireland which are causing the rise in premiums”

In Court proceedings, whoever wins the case gets an award of costs in their favour. So, if you win your case, you win your legal costs (well, most of them).

In my own firm (and solicitor firms generally), it is usual practice to assess a claim at the outset and if we deem it unlikely to be successful, we advise our clients not to bring the case and we will not accept a retainer to bring a case that we believe is a clear loser.

We do not believe putting our clients at risk under any circumstances for a case that is likely to be unsuccessful and just result in a needless bill of tens of thousands of euro.

Without proper legal advice, the uninitiated need to be wary, as suing for a case, can cost you more than what the case is worth. Underlying all the advice that we give is our knowledge as to what constitutes a likely successful claim, in other instances accidents are just accidents and there may be no one to blame. (In my own firm’s case, it is knowledge gained from our experience of defending such cases that provides an added insight here).

Myth #2: “Awards for personal injuries are higher in Ireland than across Europe”

It was a perceived crisis around High Court awards of compensation that led to the establishment of the Injuries Board back in 2004. This was on the back of much published pronouncements by the Insurance sector that awards were too high as were associated legal costs. Government concerns at the time reacted by setting up the Injuries Board much to the delight of the insurance industry!

To address this the Book of Quantum was introduced and the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 required that the Court in assessing damages in a personal injuries action must have regard to same. This Book of Quantum was updated in 2016 as the same had become outdated as was frequently commented upon by the judiciary.

However, the insurance industry is still not happy! It is important to remember, that insurance companies do not exist to pay out compensation; they exist to make profits. At the same time if they were no claims there would be insurance companies.

The rise in premiums now reflects the fact that for the last many years during the recession, people could not afford insurance and stopped buying that insurance which they didn’t have to have e.g. life cover, buildings insurance, public and employers’ liability etc.

Indeed, as the report from the RSA published recently shows thousands have also stopped buying car insurance, even though it is compulsory.

In addition, the insurance companies, like the banks, kind of lost the run of themselves and entered a price war with each trying to outbid the other as to how low a premium they could offer. Two companies in particular felt the brunt of this: Setanta and Enterprise insurance went bust, leaving thousands of motorists stranded.

Myth #3: Injuries Board assessments of compensation are frequently deemed inadequate and rejected by lawyers just to increase legal costs.”

When the Injuries Board make an Assessment, both sides (the claimant and the defendant) have time allotted to either accept or reject the Assessment. From a review of the Injuries Board 2015 Annual Report, they record that of 11,734 awards made, 6716 were accepted thus being an acceptance rate of approximately 58%, i.e. 42% of Assessments are rejected.

The insurance companies can reject Assessments…and they often do!  They do not have to give reasons, in such event simply a permission issues (called an Authorisation) to allow the case proceed to Court.

Clearly in such instances this is an indicator that liability is likely to be contested if the case proceeds to Court and 9 to 18 months after the accident is very late to commence retrospectively to gather evidence in your case.

This is one of the main reasons why most claimants seek legal advice before proceeding to the Injuries Board i.e. to protect their position and in order that someone is safeguarding them while they go through what is often a lengthy and bureaucratic process.

Clearly there are cases where a claimant rejects the Assessment. This is because it is too low or because ongoing and future suffering or expense have not been considered.

It is generally upon legal advice that the Assessment might be considered too light and that a Court would award a higher amount. It could also be that a claimant’s injuries have not yet settled to the extent that a long-term prognosis as to recovery is available (in which case it would be ill-advised to conclude a case where you cannot yet assess the long-term loss sustained).

Myth #4: “There’s no penalty to not accepting an Award made by the Injuries Board.”

Oh but no, there is! Only yesterday, I heard this mentioned on the radio as an explanation as to why solicitors zealously advise clients to reject an Assessment from the Injuries Board.

However, the improper rejection of an Injuries Board Award is not without risk of serious penalty.

Section 51A of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2007, provides that where an Assessment is rejected by a claimant (having been accepted by a defendant), and the amount of the Assessment is not exceeded in Court proceedings or an agreed settlement then;

  • – No award of costs may be made to the claimant
  • – The Court may exercise its discretion to award costs against the claimant (i.e. that the Claimant pays the defendants legal costs as well as their own), a very hefty penalty indeed.

In summation, insurance companies won’t admit that the rising premium is caused by their flawed business model. It’s much easier to blame you!

INDEPENDENT GOOGLE CLIENT REVIEWS

Tony an his team are brilliant.Left no stone unturned.
Fran Carroll
Fran Carroll
18:10 10 Jun 21
We availed of Carmody Moran Solicitors for the sale of our property. Niamh and her team were very efficient, quick, easy to reach and, most importantly, proactive to solve issues and process the sale. Really happy with the service and a very good value for money. Highly recommend!
Lorenzo Galati Giordano
Lorenzo Galati Giordano
08:11 03 Jun 21
Would highly recommend Anthony Carmody as he was so supportive with me and my family's case. If you made contact he would ring or email you back that day and explain things in your language.
Annamay Rowan
Annamay Rowan
12:21 10 Mar 21
Fantastic experience dealing with Anthony. Excellent and quick communication. Would highly recommend!
Anant Batra
Anant Batra
00:05 05 Feb 21
Great service, efficient, proffesional, very responsive. Over all very happy with services.
Elvyra Petkeviciute
Elvyra Petkeviciute
15:43 02 Sep 20
Would highly recommend Anthony and his team .
Tracy Ankers
Tracy Ankers
11:22 02 Aug 20
Really pleased with the advice, help, communication and understanding that I received all the way through my case. A very personable and professional firm with the focus always on the client.
Elaine McSweeney
Elaine McSweeney
10:01 31 Jul 20
Would highly recommend. No nonsense straight to the point. Kept informed at all times during the process. Anthony and staff all great.
Maxine Hudson
Maxine Hudson
13:47 12 May 20
Great team to deal with, very professional, communication from them constantly was beyond amazing, nothing but great things to say for them, Tony went above and beyond for me, highly recommended A++ for there service, thank you again guys much appreciated.
Mark Kelly
Mark Kelly
02:11 06 Feb 20
My experience with this law firm was exceptional. Tony is a very professional man who gave me his time and opinion without over promising on the result. Honest and trustworthy - Highly recommend
Mick Giles
Mick Giles
15:50 09 Dec 19
Absolute pleasure working with the CM team. Highly professional, always helpful. Great communication and made the process as hassle free as possible. Highly recommended.
david clarke
david clarke
17:01 02 Dec 19
Streetfront Lawyers.
Matthew Canning
Matthew Canning
17:17 23 May 19
Professional Solicitors that you can depend on!
Alan Alyyan
Alan Alyyan
19:14 21 Jan 19
We have dealt with both, Niamh and Anthony. Very pleased with the level of service. Very professional and always there to answer any questions we had while guiding us through the process. Highly recommended
Vanja Jovanovic
Vanja Jovanovic
07:49 06 Jul 18
Great to deal with professional,patient and efficient. Big thanks to Niamh, Leanne and Camilla .
eileen hoey
eileen hoey
07:52 14 Jun 18
Great service from Niamh, Leanne and all the team at Carmody Moran. Thanks
declan mcgrath
declan mcgrath
07:36 12 Jun 18
Our experience with Carmody Moran was very positive. They were very professional and always there on the phone if I ever needed anything. Great service.
Phyllis Dalton
Phyllis Dalton
16:33 31 May 18
We selected Carmody Moran to represent us. Great experience with Niamh and the crew after over a year engagement on property dealings have nothing but great things to say. Very professional, prompt to queries and very responsive. Highly recommended.
Andrew Penrose
Andrew Penrose
23:57 24 May 18
Professional but very friendly and courteous.
Paul Moran
Paul Moran
17:52 25 Feb 18
I went to Carmody after deciding to get a house. I found their work is detailed and very reliable. I will go again to them for next time legal service.
jingjing xu
jingjing xu
16:11 15 Jun 15
I went to Carmody Moran Solicitors after a car accident and needed injury claim advice, I was incredibly impressed and was kept well informed of how my claim was progressing.They were very straight forward and never set unrealistic time frames or over promising but delivered on everything, They were consummate professionals and I really can't thank them enough, I would highly recommend them to anyone and I will use them for any legal advice I may have in the future.
David McGowan
David McGowan
16:43 14 May 15
I have always found the service offered by Carmody Moran to be first rate and i would would have no hesitation in recommending them.
Terry Palmer
Terry Palmer
15:24 23 Apr 15
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