Public Liability Ireland
Much has been said and written about accidents in public places; people falling into pot holes and tripping on footpaths as many of the fraudulent claims which have been brought and highlighted in the press have been this type of claim. It has often been said, however, that the local authority has no objection to people bringing genuine claims. They are responsible for public areas, roads and footpaths and people are directly or indirectly paying taxes in order to have these roads in good condition. Where a road or footpath is in excellent condition, it will be very, very difficult for someone to successfully bring a claim because the local authority would have done everything in its power to provide proper roads and footpaths. The following are some brief guidelines to consider following a public liability accident in Ireland:
Wherever possible take a photograph of the place where you had your accident. This should be taken during day light even when the accident occurred at night. Keep the negatives and make sure that the person taking the photographs will, if necessary, be available to attend court. The injured person can of course take photographs themselves.
Notify the local authority. If there is a particularly bad danger or trap in your residential area you should report this, even if you have had no accidents. This should be done in writing. If, subsequently, somebody injures themselves the local authority will have a note of the complaint and they will have very little defence, particularly if the danger or trap is an obvious one.
Take the names of any witnesses to your accident and their addresses. They can later be written to by your solicitor in order to provide statements.
Take details of the company or persons who were working at the place where the accident occurred. This is where works were being carried out shortly before or at the time of your accident. If you are not certain who is working at the accident location, you can ask any of the persons in the adjoining houses and they will more than likely know. One of the most difficult areas of public liability claims is finding who was responsible for particular works and this can result in exhaustive research by the solicitor and the plaintiff. It is best to find out as much information as possible at the time of the accident. If a long period elapses, the gathering of information can become very difficult. It may not always be the local authority with whom responsibility rests. Very often, the problem can lie with other utility companies - for instance E.S.B., gas company or telecommunications provider.
Wage a personal campaign against the local authority following such an accident or incident. Attend with your solicitor who will pursue the matter on your behalf through the courts.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.