At Hanahoe & Hanahoe Solicitors, we have over 40 years of experience in dealing with serious and catastrophic personal injury claims. While no one other than the victim can fully appreciate the physical, mental and emotional trauma that comes with a catastrophic personal injury, we do have the expertise and knowledge to ensure you get the best legal representation. Our clients and their families’ main concern is recovery as best they can; ours is ensuring that you receive the compensation you are entitled to, in order to give you the best chance of recovery or ability to cope with your life-changing injuries. If you or your family member have suffered a serious personal injury, the appropriate compensation could help you secure independence and support into the future. Our team of experienced catastrophic injury solicitors, headed by managing partner Luke Hanahoe, would be happy to speak more with you about your case.
Table of Contents
- Catastrophic injury claims
- Compensation claims
- Types of catastrophic injuries
- How do I make a catastrophic injury claim?
Catastrophic injury claims
Serious injuries can alter the course of one’s life; no amount of money will ever properly compensate you for your injuries. However, catastrophic injury cases can enable you to get the treatment you deserve and to live the most comfortable life possible considering your life-changing injuries. Most catastrophic injury claims are settled before they reach the courtroom—however, it is essential that your case is prepared on the basis that it will go to a full hearing. At Hanahoe & Hanahoe, we have the experience and expertise to ensure your case is prepared in the best possible way. We advocate for our clients to ensure their best interests are recognised and reflected in the outcome of their cases.
What are life-changing injuries?
A catastrophic injury is a personal injury that results in permanent disability, which requires the injured party to receive lifelong care and assistance. These injuries are the types of injuries you’d never expect to happen to you or a loved one. It can be defined as a severe injury affecting the spine, spinal cord, head, brain or limbs. Such injuries can result in permanent disability, medical problems, reduced life expectancy, or in tragic cases, fatalities. There are a number of ways that people can suffer catastrophic injuries; the most common of which are strokes, birth injuries, car accidents, falls or assaults.
How can a solicitor help you with a catastrophic injury claim?
Given the seriousness of such cases, it is essential that you are advised by an expert personal injury solicitor—one who understands the complexities of applying for compensation and interim award payments.
There are many factors to consider when bringing a catastrophic personal injury claim: these include treatment, future care costs, the costs of necessary home alterations, and loss of earnings. This requires us to consult with nursing care professionals, occupational therapists, vocational assessors, actuaries, financial brokers and other such professionals to account for the injured party’s significant physical and likely psychological injuries.
For this reason, all our catastrophic personal injury cases are dealt with by our managing partner, Luke Hanahoe—and he will assist you and your family in navigating the process of bringing a claim, providing you with practical, informed advice and empathy every step of the way.
Why choose Hanahoe & Hanahoe Solicitors?
- Your case will be dealt with by our managing partner Luke Hanahoe: one of the top personal injury and medical negligence solicitors in the country.
- We are an award-winning law firm, having been awarded Leinster Law Firm of the Year (2017 & 2018) at the Irish Law Awards.
- In 2019, we were selected as one of the best personal injury law* firms in the country, as nominees for Personal Injury and Medical Negligence Law Firm of the Year at the Irish Law Awards.
- We have over forty years of experience in dealing with personal injury claims* and have a proven successful track record.
- We have solicitors’ offices in Dublin, Naas, Maynooth and Portlaoise and offer a nationwide service, where we represent clients from all over the country.
- Your case will be dealt with by an expert catastrophic personal injury solicitor* and not a legal executive or legal secretary. All cases are dealt with efficiently and proactively. We do not use unnecessary legal jargon and you will constantly be kept up to date with how your case is progressing.
Compensation claims consider a range of factors and may be available to you if you have experienced a serious personal injury. It’s a good idea to speak to a personal injury solicitor to first understand whether you have a case.
How do you quantify a catastrophic personal injury claim?
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury, no amount of money will compensate you for the life-altering injuries you have suffered. It is therefore unsurprising that the Court has traditionally had great difficulty in implementing a fair and reasonable scheme, whereby an injured party is adequately compensated in catastrophic injury claims.
General and special damages compensation
As with all serious injury cases, the compensation will be split into general and special damages. General damages is the compensation you receive for the pain and suffering associated with your injuries. Under the New Personal Injury Guidelines, the maximum award for general damages in a catastrophic or serious injury case is €550,000.00. When considering the amount of general damages that should be awarded, the Court will take the following factors into account:
(ii) Life expectancy;
(iii) Extent of residual movement;
(v) Effect on other senses;
(vi) Psychological sequelae including depression;
(vii) Effect on familial and other relationships.
There is no cap on the amount the Court can award for special damages. Special damages are out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the injured party, and include such costs in the future. This is why you see Courts making awards in the millions for serious injury claims.
The two main types of special damages in catastrophic injury claims are future care costs, and current and future loss of earnings. This can be very difficult to quantify. For this reason, you need an expert catastrophic injury solicitor who is familiar with such cases. The Courts have had a difficult time finding the appropriate compensation in these cases because it requires an element of looking into the future. As such, it is very difficult to quantify the costs of future care and medical treatment. This can give rise to injustices for all parties. For this reason, interim/periodic payments are more commonly ordered by the Courts.
Interim/periodic payments in serious personal injury cases
The need for Periodic Payment Orders (PPOs) was acknowledged by the legislator in the Civil Liability (Amendment) Act 2017, where provision was made for PPOs. Under the legislation, the Court can order a PPO with respect to damages relating to:
- Future medical treatment of the plaintiff;
- Future care of the injured party;
- Assistive technology, aids and appliances associated with the medical treatment and care of the injury party;
- Future loss of earnings.
These orders set out the required periodic payments to be made to a victim, outlining lifetime needs such as medical expenses, support and special damages which need to be covered by the party responsible. A fundamental part of PPO is the regular and continued nature of payment. PPOs are granted alongside an initial lump sum payment, accounting for general damages and certain future special damage items.
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Types of catastrophic injuries
At Hanahoe & Hanahoe, our expert personal injury and medical negligence solicitors are continuously developing and increasing their knowledge to ensure that we are at the forefront of medical negligence and personal injury law. While the dynamics of some catastrophic injury cases may be similar, the effects they have on the victim and their families differ greatly. No two cases are the same. We would never be so arrogant to say that we have seen everything, but we have great experience in the area. Even in cases where we have not represented clients with similar injuries in the past, we can provide legal advice and support to ensure that we achieve the optimal outcome for you and your loved ones. Here are the common serious injuries we’ve assisted with.
Head and brain injury
Head and brain injuries are often the result of accidents or medical negligence. They can range from a mild concussion to more serious injuries which can have a devastating impact on the victim. If the injury happens after birth, it is referred to as an acquired brain injury by the medical field. This means that the injury does not have a genetic or congenital disorder causing it. Acquired brain injuries are often the result of external trauma events such as a car crash, fall or assault. However, they can also be the result of non-traumatic occurrences such as a stroke, brain haemorrhage or viral infection. Regardless of the cause, they can have a devastating effect on the victim and their family. They often result in the injured party suffering changes to their behaviour, emotions and physical function, leaving them with lifelong challenges.
Spine and spinal cord injuries
Spine and spinal cord injuries can have a detrimental impact on the injured party’s quality of life. The physical, emotional, and psychological effects can be severe. Although medical technology is consistently evolving in this area, recovery can be slow and sometimes limited. It is therefore essential that you are properly provided for, to ensure you receive the best possible care. This is why you need the advice of an expert personal injury solicitor. If you have experienced such an injury, you may be eligible for compensation and we can advise you of your options.
Fatal accident claims
If a family member’s death resulted from the actions of another party—during an accident, assault or the act of medical negligence—you may have grounds to file for compensation. Family members can make a claim for both the mental distress caused by the death and for pecuniary loss, such as loss of income or entitlements, which the family member could have reasonably expected to receive, had it not been for the untimely death of their loved one.
Lower body injuries
Lower body injuries and loss of limb(s) can vastly impact your autonomy in everyday life. If you have experienced loss of a limb or injury to your lower body through no fault of your own, Hanahoe & Hanahoe could be able to help you seek compensation for this.
Psychological injuries and trauma
Some injuries are unseen: psychological injuries and trauma such as PTSD and depression will often come with chronic pain after a serious personal injury. If this is the case and the accident causing your injuries (and thus your psychological injuries) was not your fault, we may be able to assist you.
How do I make a catastrophic injury claim?
Before you make a claim, we will help you gather all the required information. Providing this early will ensure a smoother process, and help us consider whether you can pursue compensation. We will ask you for:
- Time, date and location of the accident
- An outline of the events that occurred in the accident
- Details of the party at fault such as name, address, contact information
- In road traffic accidents, we will need the party at fault’s insurance information and vehicle registration
- Details and photos of the scene of the accident and your injuries
- Details from emergency
- Information of anyone you reported the accident to, and any witnesses
- Details of the various medical practitioners you attend, as we will need to take up various reports and your medical notes
Compensation claim process
Upon contacting Hanahoe & Hanahoe, our personal injury team of solicitors will do the following:
- Book a consultation with you and your family to discuss your injury in detail—including the cause of your accident or injury, the injuries you suffered, the symptoms you have, your prognosis for the future, your future care requirements, and the financial impact of the injury.
- Take up the various reports from your medical practitioners and our experts. Given the extensive nature of the injuries in these cases, it will be necessary to take up a number of medical reports from a variety of doctors with different specialities. It will also be necessary to consult with professionals such as nursing care professionals, occupational therapists, vocational assessors and actuaries. In medical negligence matters, it will also be necessary to take up the opinion of a suitably qualified expert on the issue of negligence.
- If the injuries were the result of an accident, or the result of medical negligence, an application will have to be made to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. However, given the extent of the injuries and complex nature of these cases, it is likely the Injuries Board will not be in a position to assess the case and it will be necessary to issue High Court proceedings.
- Once the Injuries Board issues an authorisation, we will brief both senior and junior counsel to draft the necessary High Court Proceedings.
- We will guide you through the Court processes where we will hopefully be able to settle your case favourably without the necessity of going to a full hearing. That said, we always prepare a case on the presumption that it will go to full hearing.
- We will ensure that all costs of past, present and future treatments are included in your claim amount, as well as any loss of opportunity and/or earnings.
- We will seek interim payments as your case is progressing, to support the injured person and their family.
We will ensure the periodic payment orders are made where necessary.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.