That means that injuries from food poisoning, or road accidents caused by the negligence of drivers or mechanics are all suitable to be litigated under the 1995 Act, conditional on those services causing the injury being part of the “obligations under the contract”.
Medical negligence is a serious problem in Ireland. It needs to be treated in a serious manner.
Prior to 2004, for not less than fifty years, plaintiffs were not required to give any further details on the issue of proceedings. The plaintiff was, however, obliged to give the details to the defendant before the trial. It was, (and still is), in the plaintiff’s interest to find out those details and to communicate them to the defendant. Only when the defendant knows these things can the defendant readily agree to settle the claim. Settlement is the best outcome of personal injury litigation; there are insufficient judges to adjudicate on all or most claims for personal injury.
Legal practitioners have a solution to that; plead every conceivable item of loss and, later, waive those that do not apply. Section 10 prevents this; it requires that “full” particulars be pleaded. This implies that the plaintiff cannot issue proceedings until all these losses are accrued and known, or, as mentioned, that items not pleaded cannot later be claimed.
Litigation needs an engine; that is, something must drive the process forwards. For a personal injury victim that engine is, normally, the persistent fact of the injury. From the medical point of view this will imply difficulty coming up with a prognosis. A prognosis is a doctor’s estimate of the progress (or lack of it) expected of the patient.
Accidents are confusing. Meeting the unexpected (or just the unwelcome) is disturbing. Many personal injury victims have difficulty orienting themselves after an accident. For some, the difficulties are greater than others. Some accidents are more unexpected than others. Road accidents are relatively common, whereas to be hit by an object falling from a defective building is very unusual.
The main problem with defective DePuy hips is the design failure. The hip will fail mechanically. This is a serious matter. Instead of ease of movement, the hip will hinder movement. Movement will be painful, probably noisy, and anything but smooth.
It is essential to know that the Injuries Board has no role in the DePuy hip scandal. If a victim lodges an application to the Injuries Board, it is a mistake. The Injuries Board will, in due course, reject it. Worse than that, time will continue to run against the plaintiff while the application is being made and considered. In short, it is a waste of valuable and scarce time.
This is exactly what has been determined by the Irish and Finnish reports; it is probable that Pandemrix caused the cases of narcolepsy appearing in young people who got the vaccine.