Accidents & Personal Injury
What are ‘general damages’ in a personal injury case?
General damages consist of the sum of money awarded for an injured person’s non-economic loss. They are also referred to as damages for “pain and suffering” or “loss of amenity”, in other words, an amount that compensates for the physical or mental pain suffered by the injured person.
Types of General Damages
- While every personal injury case will look a little different, general damages can include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Physical disfigurement
- Physical impairment
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship (paid to family members in wrongful death cases), and
- Lowered qualify of life
Calculating General Damages
It may be difficult to calculate or precisely quantify the amount of money necessary to compensate the injured person for general damages. Determining general damages often involves assigning an exact monetary amount to a subjective injury. Damages such as mental anguish or embarrassment are unique to each plaintiff. Factors that determine a damage award include reference to the Book of Quantum, the gruesomeness of an injury and the sensitivities of the injury. Because of these imprecise factors, damage awards in seemingly similar personal injury cases often vary. General damages (for the most catastrophic types of injuries) must not exceed €500,000 as confirmed by the Supreme Court in the Ruth Morrissey case.
What are ‘specific damages’ in a personal injury case?
Special damages, by contrast, consist of the sum of money awarded for actual economic loss such as loss of wages and medical expenses already suffered; and, in a very complicated or catastrophic injury, future loss of wages and future cost of medical care and medical equipment.
Types of Special Damages
Every personal injury case will look a little different when it comes to specific kinds of special damages, but some common categories include:
- Repair and replacement of damaged property
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Loss of irreplaceable items
Calculating Special Damages
Unlike general damages, special damages are often easy to calculate because an exact monetary amount has already been spent on these items. For example, the cost of a medical report or engineer report. It gets a little more complicated when you need to put a monetary figure on the cost of future medical care or future wage loss tied to the injury, but it can be done using expert witnesses such as actuaries, occupational therapists, and other evidence.
How long does it take to get a Divorce in Ireland?
The length of time it takes to get a Divorce depends on whether or not the matter is on consent or not. If the application for Divorce is on consent a Divorce can be obtained within 6 months. If the application for Divorce is not on consent the application can take in excess of 18 months.
How long do I need to be separated before I can get a Divorce?
A person needs to be separated for 2 years prior to the commencement of the Divorce application.
Can you get a Divorce and still be living together?
Yes, in certain circumstances it is possible to get a Divorce whilst living together, however, the Court will make enquiries as to the exact nature of the couple living together, as to whether or not they have separate living arrangements e.g. have they split the house in two.
How expensive is it to get a Divorce?
The cost of getting a Divorce is very much dependent as to whether the Divorce is on consent or not. If the Divorce is on consent the fees typically are in the low thousands, this includes both the Solicitor and Barrister. If the matter is not on consent the fees can run in to several thousands as it may be necessary to engage additional experts such as a child psychologist, valuer, actuary etc.
Is Divorce final in Ireland?
Strictly speaking Divorce is not final in Ireland and the Law does allow parties to revisit issues post-Divorce. In practice this is very seldom. There had been cause recently to end the right of parties to revisit Divorce cases after the granting of the Decree.
Can I get the other side to pay my costs?
In general, in Family Law cases both parties pay their own costs. In certain circumstances it can be negotiated that one party pay the costs of the other side or else contribution to those costs.
What types of financial support are available for nursing home care?
As we age it is of increased concern to all of us as to how to make plans for our care in the event that we are unable to live at home. The State does provide some assistance here through two separate schemes under the Nursing Home Support Scheme Act. There are two separate types of financial support:
- State support and
- Ancillary state support
The application for State support can be made by a number of persons to include an Attorney under an Enduring Power of Attorney. Before a decision is made as to whether or not to grant financial assistance a person has to have a care needs assessment. This is generally carried out by a Public Health Nurse/Social Worker or a multi-disciplinary team.
Then a financial assessment is made under the State Support Scheme as to how much the person should contribute to the cost of their care. Up to €36,000 of the applicant’s assets are disregarded and the applicant must contribute 80% of their assessable income. Effectively this means that very little is left over to pay for additional nursing home supports such as remedial mattresses, additional therapies etc.
An alternative to the State Support Scheme is the Ancillary State Support Scheme. The Ancillary State Support allows a person, instead of paying the full weekly contribution, a loan is obtained from the Nursing Home Support Scheme to cover the portion of the contribution which should be made. This involves the creation of a charge over property. Again, an application for Ancillary State Support can be made by a number of persons to include an Attorney under an Enduring Power of Attorney.
If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Finola Cronin as follows:
Tel: 051 874 087
Property Law & Conveyancing
What are the steps involved in buying a property?
- Once you have agreed to purchase the property, appoint a solicitor to act on your behalf to investigate the title and if necessary, certify title for the lending institution so that loan finance can issue to assist in the purchase.
- It is advisable to engage the services of an architect or engineer to carry out a survey of the property to ensure it is free from any structural defects not already disclosed to you.
- Once contracts have been issued by the vendor’s solicitor, the purchaser’s solicitor will go through the contracts with the purchaser and if all are in order, and the survey is satisfactory, you can sign the contracts and pay the balance of the deposit.
- Once contracts have been exchanged, and the deposit paid, a binding agreement will generally be in place.
- Following exchange of contracts, arrangements are made by the purchaser’s solicitor to ensure that funds are in place and all necessary closing documents are requested from the vendor’s solicitors in time for closing.
- On closing, the balance monies are furnished to the vendor’s solicitor in exchange for keys, normally vacant possession and the transfer of the vendor’s title to the purchaser.
What are the steps involved in selling a property?
- Appoint a solicitor and selling agent to work on your behalf.
- Have your title documents available for your solicitor to prepare a contract to ensure that you have full title to all the property in sale.
- Ensure you have planning permission for all developments carried out to the property in sale.
- Ensure you have paid all household charges and Local Property Tax from 2012 onwards.
- Ensure you have paid the NPPR tax if it is your second home. Alternatively, apply to your local authority for a certificate of exemption.
- Make sure you have you a Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate.
- Once all the preliminaries are in place, you can instruct the selling agent to place the property on the market.
- Once a price has been agreed, the selling agent will accept a booking deposit from the purchaser and issue a sales advice notice to the vendor’s solicitor and purchaser’s solicitor.
- The vendor’s solicitor will prepare a contract for sale and forward same to the purchaser’s solicitor along with the supporting title documents.
- The sale is normally completed within 4 – 6 weeks from the issue of contracts.