Personal Injuries Summons I
There is a special High Court procedure and form of summons for a personal injury action. Personal injury includes any bodily injury, disease or impairment of a person’s physical or mental condition.
A personal injuries action shall be instituted by originating summons for plenary proceedings with pleadings and a hearing on oral evidence. The summons shall be in a prescribed format and called a personal injury summons. Save where otherwise provided, the general provisions of the Rules of the Superior Court applicable to plenary summons apply with modifications, to a personal injury summons.
A personal injuries summons shall specify—
- the claimant’s name, the address at which he or she ordinarily resides and his or her occupation,
- the personal public service number allocated and issued to the claimant
- the defendant’s name, the address at which he or she ordinarily resides (if known to the claimant) and his or her occupation (if known to the claimant);
- the injuries to the claimant alleged to have been occasioned by the wrong of the defendant;
- full particulars of all items of special damage in respect of which the claimant is making a claim;
- full particulars of the acts of the defendant constituting the said wrong and the circumstances relating to the commission of the wrong;
- full particulars of each instance of negligence by the defendant.
Personal Injury Summons II
Where a claimant fails to comply with the above requirements, the court may direct that the action shall not proceed any further until the claimant complies with such condition ns as the court may specify, or where it considers that the interests of justice so require, dismiss the claimant’s action.
The court shall take such failure into account when deciding whether to make an order as to the payment of the costs of the personal injuries action concerned, or the amount of such costs. Where a claimant fails to comply with the above requirements, the court hearing the personal injuries action concerned may draw such inferences from the failure as appear proper.
Where the claimant has not been issued with a PPS number, this shall be stated in the summons. Where the action is being instituted for the benefit of dependants, the name and address and date of birth of each dependant shall be stated in the summons. The personal injury summons shall also specify the date of birth and PPS number of the deceased person.
Where a claimant alleges that he was unable, at the time at which a personal injury summons issued, to include any of the information required by the rules to be specified above, he shall include a statement of the reasons why it is claimed that the information could not be provided at this time. The claimant, at the time the personal injuries summons is served or as soon as may be thereafter, shall provide such of the information required by the rules as were not included in the personal injuries summons.
No statement of claim shall be required in a personal injuries action. The provisions as to statements of claim in the rules, apply to a personal injuries summons itself.
An appearance to a personal injuries summons shall be in the prescribed form. The defence shall be delivered by each defendant within eight weeks of the service on such defendant of the claimant’s personal injuries summons. Where the defendant makes a counterclaim, it is to be in a prescribed form and shall be appended to the defence.
A claimant who wishes to join issue with a defence may deliver a reply, within six weeks of the delivery of the defence. A reply shall, if it contains any assertion or allegation of fact, be verified on oath as below. A claimant shall deliver a defence to any counterclaim within eight weeks of the delivery of the counterclaim. The counterclaim is to be in the prescribed form.
An affidavit of verification of the pleading or of further information required under the Act shall be completed on oath in a prescribed form. If the affidavit is not separate to the pleading or other document concerned, it may be endorsed on the pleading or other document. A copy of the affidavit of verification shall be delivered to the party to whom the pleading or other document is to be delivered.
Where the affidavit is endorsed on the pleading or other document, a copy of the affidavit shall be delivered within the time prescribed by the Rules for delivery of such pleading or document. Otherwise, it must be delivered within the time prescribed for lodgement of the affidavit in court.
The affidavit of verification must be lodged in court not later than 21 days after the service of the pleading concerned or such longer period as the court may direct or the parties may agree. Where a requirement to furnish an affidavit is made, it is to be lodged 7 days before the date fixed for the trial of the personal injuries action concerned.
If a person makes a statement in the affidavit that is false or misleading in any material respect, and that he or she knows to be false or misleading, he or she shall be guilty of an offence. The affidavit shall include a statement by the deponent that he or she is aware that the making of a statement by him or her in the affidavit that is false or misleading in any material respect and that he or she knows to be false or misleading is an offence.
Where the copy of the affidavit of verification is delivered subsequent to delivery of the pleading, the time prescribed by these Rules for delivery of any pleading or other document in reply shall run from the delivery of such copy.
The following applications in a personal injuries action shall be made by motion to the Court on notice to the opposing parties, grounded on an affidavit.
- application by the defendant for a stay or dismissal of the action by reason of claimant’s failure to comply with the above requirements regarding summons;
- an application by the defendant for a stay or dismissal by reason of claimant’s failure to furnish further information;
- an application by the claimant to stay the action by reason of failure to comply with its obligations regarding the defence;
- an application for an order for the delivery by the opposing party of further and better particulars;
- an application by a party wishing to have evidence in the action given by affidavit.,
An application made in the above cases, save the last case, shall not be made unless
- the moving party has first written to the opposing party requesting that such party agree to the request;
- A period of 28 days for compliance with the request has been allowed; and
- the party failed, refused or neglected to comply with the request.
No application for judgment or other relief in default of pleading shall be granted in a personal injuries action unless the moving party has satisfied the Court that he has verified his previous pleadings in the action on oath.
A request by a party for a statutory direction of the Court that a mediation conference be held shall be made by a motion on notice to the opposing party, grounded on an affidavit. Where the Court directs that a mediation conference should be held, it may adjourn the proceedings for such time as it considers appropriate for this purpose. It may extend the time for compliance by the parties or any of them with provisions of the rules or any order in the proceedings.
The report of a person appointed to be the chairperson of the mediation conference shall be by way of affidavit. It shall confirm
- his appointment as mediator;
- whether the mediation conference was held or not;
- if not held, the reasons why it did not take place;
- If held, it is to verify the time and place it took place; parties in attendance; and whether or not a settlement has been reached in the action and the terms of any settlement.
Offers / Settlements
The plaintiff in a personal injuries action must serve a notice in writing of an offer of terms of settlement on the defendant. The defendant in a personal injuries action shall serve a notice in writing on the plaintiff of an offer of terms of a settlement, or stating that he or she is not prepared to pay any sum of money to the plaintiff in settlement of the action.
A copy of a formal offer shall, after the expiration of the prescribed period be lodged in court by, or on behalf of, the plaintiff or defendant, as the case may be. The terms of a formal offer shall not be communicated to the judge in the trial of a personal injuries action until after he or she has delivered judgment in the action.
The court shall, when considering the making of an order as to the payment of the costs in a personal injuries action have regard to the terms of a formal offer, and the reasonableness of the conduct of the parties in making their formal offers.
Copies of the claimant’s notice of an offer of terms of a settlement and of the defendant’s notice as required under the above provision shall be lodged in court by being filed together with an affidavit as to the service, in the Central Office as soon as may be after the expiry of the requisite period.
Where, in a personal injuries action, the court considers it appropriate, it shall direct that a hearing be held before the trial of the action for the purposes of determining what matters relating to the action are in dispute. All parties to a personal injuries action shall be entitled to be heard at a hearing held pursuant to a direction under subsection
A hearing held pursuant to the direction under subsection shall be presided over by in the case of a personal injuries action brought in the High Court, a judge of the High Court, the Master of the High Court, a Deputy Master of the High Court or an officer nominated. ( In the case of a personal injuries action brought in the Circuit Court, a judge of the Circuit Court, the county registrar for the county in which the action was brought or a member of the staff of the Circuit Court Office in the county in which the action was brought, as the President of the Circuit Court may direct).
A party presiding over a pre-trial hearing directed by the Court may at such hearing give such directions and make such orders as may be necessary for the purposes of determining what matters relating to the action are in dispute. A direction or order made at a pre-trial hearing by a person, other than a Judge, presiding over such hearing, may be appealed to the Court by a party affected.