Arising from recent actions by our Legislators in implementing the new Personal Injury Guidelines, which substantially reduces the amount of compensation payable to Accident Victims, one might be forgiven for thinking that the Government does want to kill all the Lawyers!
The PIAB Act 2003
This follows action in the same field back in 2004, when the Government enacted the PIAB Act 2003, explaining it as akin to an industrial tribunal for Accident Claims and promoting it as a “Solicitor-Free Zone”; the suggestion being of course that Lawyers were bad for the health of Accident Victims. And how did they do that? The PIAB Act stated that if you instructed a Solicitor to progress your Claim, you would not be entitled to payment of your Legal Costs on top of your Compensation. Obviously, the hope was that the Lawyers would be starved out of existence.
The irony is that 17 years after the enactment of the PIAB Act, 90% of Accident Victims still retain a Solicitor to prosecute their PIAB Claim on their behalf.
Accident Victims required to pay the Costs of the Solicitor
This is, despite the fact that Accident Victims are required to pay the Costs of the Solicitor while the Claim is in the PIAB process; even though their Costs will be covered when the Claim proceeds subsequently to the Court process. The claimant needs equality of arms, where the Insurance Companies are represented by Lawyers at all time; and why therefore shouldn`t the Accident Victim be? Is it fair that an Accident Victim should be required to go through this process alone?
If you want to learn more about this, read the Morgan McManus Guide “Do I need a Solicitor when filing a PIAB Personal Injury Claim?”
That many Accident Claims were dishonest and exaggerated
The Insurance Companies promoted these new Personal Injury Guidelines by claiming that many Accident Claims were dishonest and exaggerated. That is untrue.
While it is easy to sneer at Accident Victims who make Civil Claims, under the new Guidelines, the reality is that an Accident Victim whose neck injury recovers within 6 months could get as littles as €500. That means that they will not be able to afford a Solicitor. Is that fair to the Victim?
What exactly did Shakespeare mean?
“Let’s kill all the lawyers” is a line from William Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2. The full quote is “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers“. In the Scene “Dick the Butcher” suggests one of the ways the band of pretenders to the throne can improve the country is to kill all the lawyers. Dick is a rough character, a killer as evil as his name implies, like the other henchmen, and this is his rough solution to his perceived societal problem.
Believe it or not, Shakespeare meant it as a compliment to attorneys and judges who, Shakespeare believed, instilled justice in society.
Yes, there have been exaggerated Claims by a dishonest few, but is that sufficient reason to punish the genuine Claimants by attempting to kill off their Lawyers?
To misquote another phrase (not Shakespeare this time!), perhaps the Government has used a sledgehammer to crack a perceived societal problem?
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*In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement