Posted: December 4th, 2018
Luas and Irish Rail management have revealed, in response to separate Freedom of Information requests, that over 110 incidents of tram and train surfing have been recorded on the routes that they provided in and around Dublin since 2014.
This train/tram surfing activity refers to a person that holds onto the outside of a carriage as it departs a station. The activity came to public attention in October 2018 when 20-year-old Rebecca Kelly was awarded €550,000 in personal injury compensation due to sustaining major brain injuries in a fall from a Luas carriage. She was clinging onto Luas when the accident took place.
Recently, the response to a Freedom of Information request made public the fact that in excess of 35 cases of tram surfing have been registered on Luas services in the last three years.
“Tram surfing can be fatal. We have had a very small number of incidents of people trying to ‘scut’ and all staff are trained to be vigilant, observe and report. The public have reported [cases] too. Any activity or even potential concern that is reported – trams will be stopped, security and or gardai called. The risk of serious injury is very high. We show CCTV of various incidents that have occurred along the lines. The purpose is to request parents know where their kids are and if they are on the lines, they’re aware just how dangerous their playground might be” Transdev Representative Ms Dervla Brophy said in a statement released following the Freedom of Information request.
In another Freedom of Information response Irish Rail revealed that 87 occurences of train surfing have been recorded in the last two years. Since 2015 twelve train surfing incidents took place on the Northern commuter route between Dublin and Dundalk. Every one of the officially recorded incidents took place on the routes operated by the Dart.
“On board staff, station staff and security personnel are vigilant in ensuring we respond with security or garda support. Extra security patrols this year are yielding a reduction in the number of incidents”, Irish Rail spokesperson Barry Kenny stated commenting on the revelations.
Posted: September 18th, 2018
Whiplash injury compensation payments in Ireland are, on average, 4.4 times higher than awards for similar injuries in England and Wales.
This statistic was revealed in the Final Report of the Personal Injuries Commission. The report recommends that the Judicial Council should compile judicial guidelines for whiplash injury compensation awards.
The Commission’s finding found that the average soft tissue award is €17,338 compared to just €3,984 for the same compensation award in Britain. Commission chairman Justice Nicholas Kearns commented in his second and final report, that while genuine claimants need adequate compensation, the negative affect of high premiums on businesses and consumers had to be acknowledged.
Justice Kearns said: “The multiple that has emerged in the benchmarking process is so significant that the Commission is satisfied that it calls for a response that is effective and achievable in the shortest time”.
Insurance Ireland said an urgent policy response is required as the cost of the average award is continuing to “spiral” with the average Circuit Court award increasing by approximately 50% from 2013 to 2016 – from €11,941 to €17,722.
CEO of Insurance Ireland Kevin Thompson commented: “It is also clear that the Irish public supports reform as according to a nationally representative poll conducted by Ipsos MRBI in January, 78% of Irish people would support proposals to reduce personal injury award levels.”
However, there was some concern expressed Director General Ken Murphy of the Law Society of Ireland who said that lower damages did not automatically result in lower insurance premiums. He said: “Simply reducing damages takes money away from those who suffer injuries through no fault of their own and puts it in the pockets of the already very profitable insurance companies”.
Posted: December 20th, 2017
The result of report released by the Personal Injuries Commission (PIC) shows that the rate of whiplash injury is much higher in Ireland than in most other European countries.
The Personal Injuries Commission, which was set up in early 2017 to review compensation claims with a aim of looking closely at the surge in soft tissue and whiplash claims.
Car insurance costs grew by 70% between 2013 and 2016. Exaggerated/fraudulent claims are being held responsible for this surge.
The Commission reveals in the report that it is of the opinion that establishing an independent medical panel to review occurrences of whiplash injuries would interfere with a claimant’s rights, so it is not calling for that course of action to be introduced.
Alternatively it calls for the establishment of a uniform approach for medical staff dealing with whiplash injuries. Currently there is no relevant accreditation needed or benchmark standard for a doctor who needs to produce a medico-legal report on a personal injury compensation claim in Ireland. The report states that doctors should adopt a standardised method in diagnosing, treating and reporting on soft tissue injuries, of which the vast majority are whiplash related.
The Commission stressed that the Quebec Task Force Whiplash Associated Disorder grading scale should be applied by medical professionals reporting on relevant injuries. This scale is based on the extent of symptoms and associated physical indicators and states that “Training and accreditation in soft tissue reporting is agreed as being the best practice requirement for those wishing to complete relevant reports”.
It is thought that a self-testing element by the injured individual should also be introduced to assess compensation and damages neccessary.
Chaired by Judge Nicholas Kearns, the PIC urged insurance companies to publish details on the rates of whiplash injuries reported. This could be an pivotal element of the National Claims Information Database being developed by the Central Bank of Ireland at present.
Justice Kearns remarked that such sharing of information on whiplash injuries would improve the personal injuries compensation sector in Ireland by encouraging ‘an objective standard’ for examining whiplash injuries. He added that, in future, reports will look at comparative systems and bench marking compensation award levels globally to ensure we remain relevant.