Accidents happen to all of us from time to time.

The primary concern should always be assisting injured parties. From a legal perspective the person who caused the accident is generally liable to compensate the injured party for their loss whether it be a road traffic accident, an accident at work or otherwise. Often it is clear who is in the wrong but sometimes it is not clear cut. Names and addresses of witnesses are important particularly if liability is disputed.

The Gardai should be called in respect of all non-minor accidents. Usually insurance policies require that they are notified immediately in the event of an accident and that letters alleging liability are furnished to them unanswered. Not all accidents gives rise to legal claims but where there is a possibility that a legal claim will arise it is helpful to take photographs and take a careful record of what transpired (your mobile phone is important in this regard). If you witness an accident it is important to realise that those involved in the accident are most likely to be in a state of shock and not thinking clearly. They may need medical assistance. Writing down your name and address as a witness and giving it to the parties can be helpful. In general a person has a period of two years within which to make a claim for personal injury after which time it becomes statute barred but there are exceptions.

In contentious business, a legal practitioner shall not charge any amount in respect of legal cots expressed as a percentage or proportion of any damages (or other moneys) that may become payable to his or her client or purport to set out the legal cots to be charged to a junior counsel as a specified percentage or proportion of the legal costs to be paid to a senior counsel. A legal practitioner shall not without the prior written agreement of his or her client deduct or appropriate any amount in respect of legal costs from the amount of any damages or monies that become payable to the client in respect of legal services that the legal practitioner provided to the client.

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