Public Liability and Tort Reform

In 2003, thresholds/gateways were introduced to the compensation scheme. Whilst these changes have made it more difficult to bring some claims, the amendments do not apply to transport accident and workplace claims.

In relation to other personal injury claims a person injured by reason of the negligence of another person may still be able to bring a claim.

Some of changes introduced in the “tort reform” process include:

  • Imposing a three year limitation of action period for adults and a six year limitation period for children from the date of “discoverability”. Whilst there are some special circumstances where this time limit can be extended, delay will be prejudicial to your claim.
  • Introduction of thresholds and procedures with respect to claims for
    • pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
    • compensation for economic loss/”out of pocket expenses”.
  • Introduction of complex criteria relating to issues such as voluntary assumption of risk, contributory negligence, apportionment of liability and restrictions on the duty of care owed in particular circumstances. Brown McComish can advise you about how these restrictions potentially affect your case.

Pain And Suffering And Loss Of Enjoyment Of Life

In order to be able to successfully proceed with any claim for pain and suffering/loss of enjoyment of life it is necessary to establish:-

  • That injuries were due to the negligence of a third party, and
  • To establish an impairment greater than 5% for physical injuries and greater than 10% for psychological injuries pursuant the American Medical Association Guides to Impairment.

To satisfy the “gateway requirements” under the AMA Guides an injury must:

  • Have substantially stabilised.
  • Be permanent impairment within the meaning set out in the Guides.

Economic Loss/Out of Pocket Expenses

In order to proceed with a claim for economic loss/”out of pocket” expenses, it is only necessary to establish negligence on behalf of the third party. There are however, statutory restrictions on the amount and nature of compensation that can be recovered. Again, you should consult Brown McComish to specifically discuss the particular circumstances of your case.