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New rules on injury lawsuit cases unveiled
[Posted: Fri 04/07/2003 www.irishhealth.com]
by Fergal Bowers
People who exaggerate a claim, or make a false claim in a medical lawsuit could face a criminal prosecution, under reform plans published today by the Justice Minister, Michael McDowell. Such individuals may also have to pay damages to the other side for false or exaggerated claims, in addition to loosing their case.
There are also new measures proposed to speed up the settlement of cases and to reduce costs, through the use of mandatory mediation. Previous awards from other injury claims and money from insurance policies can be taken into account when assessing damages in future.
Claimants will be required to swear an affidavit to verify the details of their injury.
The Statute of Limitations - the period within which a case must be taken - is being cut from three years to one year. There will also be a duty on a claimant to provide certain details to parties it intends to sue, within two months after the alleged incident.
Courts will be allowed to take account of money recovered by a claimant in previous personal injury claims when assessing damages in the current case. Payouts from insurance policies (with the exception of sick pay) will also be taken into account when assessing damages.
A court will also be allowed to appoint expert medical assessors to assist it in cases.
New time limits on the exchange of documents in lawsuits will also be set and courts may order pre-trial hearings to narrow the areas of disagreement prior to trial. The changes will allow evidence to be given by affidavit only, which could reduce the need for some doctors in lawsuits to give evidence in person and so cut costs.
The proposed legislation, General Scheme of Civil Liability and Courts Bill, is expected to become law by the end of this year.
|Anonymous Posted: 07/07/2003 16:59|
|I understand from a solicitor that it is next nigh impossible to get a medical doctor or consultant in Ireland to give advise or report against a colleague. Surely this practice should not be allowed as it is unfair to patients who have genuine problems with medical consultant or surgeon. Is there any way around this problem?|
|Anonymous Posted: 08/07/2003 10:44|
|Yes if you have hospital reports and your files, and you feel you have a good case. A good Solicitor who is interested in justice for you , will send them of to a simular consultant in the UK. Then that consultant will study your case and decide for you whether you have a case or not . There's more than one way to skin a cat!|
|Anonymous Posted: 14/04/2004 18:13|
|I would like to concur with the contributor's solicitor who expressed the opinion that it is almost impossible to get a medical practitioner in this COuntry to testify against another Irish colleague. As a professional in a related field, who has reason to be involved in a personal capacity with such a procedure, I can look at both sides of this coin and can confirm these difficulties. I have met with attitudes ranging from hostility, equivication, diversionaery tactics, cover-ups to apathy and condescension. I would be grateful if anyone can suggest where I could contact a solicitor who would have the interest and stamina for such a contest ( and who would have the contacts in the UK to source independent professional medical opinion).|
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