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  • Northern Ireland Accident Victims should be made aware of reduced Statutory Limitation period in the Republic of Ireland.

    Up until July 2004 persons involved in accidents in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and seeking to recover compensation for pain and suffering(the Plaintiff) had three years from the date of the accident within which to issue Proceedings (a Claim) against the party at fault (the Defendant). This is what is generally known as the Statutory limitation period that applies in your particular case. This is a good reason for seeing a solicitor as soon as you think you may have a claim for compensation.</p> ">limitation period (the “limitation period”) and was applied in law in both jurisdictions by the relevant Statutes of Limitation.

    That all however changed in the Republic of Ireland with the enactment of the Civil liability and Courts Act 2004, which reduced the limitation period down to 2 years. This was made even more complicated by the PIAB Act, which suspends the operation of the limitation period during the time that the Claim is lodged with Injuriesboard.ie and a period of 6 months thereafter (for more information on this go to http://bit.ly/gWSVcm ).

    The difficulty now however for Plaintiffs from Northern Ireland,  who are involved in accidents (for example Road Traffic Accidents)  in the Republic of Ireland, is that they  will generally not be aware of this reduced limitation period. Likewise, a person from Northern Ireland who receives negligent medical treatment in the Republic of Ireland may not be aware of the reduced limitation period. They will assume, unless they take legal advice,  that the same limitation period applies in the Republic of Ireland as that which applies in Northern Ireland.

    This assumption will more than often be made by the person who has been involved in an accident but who has no immediate intention of making a Claim and only decides after a considerable period of time (sometimes after 2 years) to issue a Claim when they have found that their injuries are not resolving. They then contact Morgan McManus solicitors and we are obliged to inform them that their Claim in the Republic of Ireland is statute-barred because they consulted us after the expiry of the 2 year limitation period.

    The reduced limitation period was enacted so that Insurance companies and their Defendant clients would not be prejudiced by late Claims in circumstances where the Defendant might be prejudiced in the investigation  of the Claim by the expiry of time. At no time however did the Government consider the prejudice which would be caused to the Plaintiff from Northern Ireland who would not normally make it his business to keep up to date with changes in the law in the Republic of Ireland.

    Despite the passage of time Morgan McManus are still instructed by Northern Ireland Plaintiffs who have suffered injuries in the Republic of Ireland but we have been obliged to advise them that their Claim is statute-barred because over 2 years have expired since the date of their accident. Often, these are cases where the Plaintiffs are severely injured and only considered making a legal Claim when it was clear that their injuries were not going to resolve. Ironically therefore this change in the law has affected the genuine victim who has suffered severe and catastrophic injury.

    If you are from Northern Ireland (or indeed from outside the Republic of Ireland) and have been involved in an accident or suffered injury as a result of the negligent treatment by another person (or know someone in those circumstances) make sure not to be caught out by this Cross-Border conundrum.

    For more information on making a Compensation Claim, download the Morgan McManus Accident Claims Guide at http://bit.ly/hSavJv .

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