LIFE BITE: Loss of airline to Isle of Man may leave TT fans out of pocket

apple-150579_1280The Real Road Racing season is almost upon us and which inevitably means the return of the popular Isle of Man TT races which take place every May/June on the island.

The TT is always a busy time for the Isle of Man as the sport brings and influx of bike racers and their families and friends to the island to enjoy the sport.

Unfortunately, there have been reports in the media that the provider of flights between Belfast and Douglas, Citywing, have gone into administration leaving travel plans in disarray and race fans out of pocket.

While another airline has stepped in and taken on this route, many travellers are still likely to have suffered financial loss in any forward booking they had made via Citywing.

While you scramble to make alternative travel arrangements, it may be worth knowing that under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 you may apply to your credit card provider for a refund of the costs of any flights you had purchased provided they cost over £100.00.

While bookings on debit cards do not have the same statutory protection, many of the larger debit card providers are part of a voluntary scheme called ‘Chargeback’ which may offer you similar protection.  The Chargeback scheme may also be used for credit card payments under £100.00.

Anyone affected by the administration of Citywing should contact their credit/debit card providers and notify them of your claim to get the process started.

Life Law NI would like to wish all attending the Isle of Man TT races this year a safe and enjoyable trip.

LIFE BITE: DOJ announces increase in amount of Bereavement Damages

apple-150579_1280Today, the Northern Ireland Department of Justice has announced that bereavement damages available in Northern Ireland are to be increased from £11,800 to £14,400.

This follows the consultation launched by the Department in October 2015 about whether the level of compensation payable to families whose loved ones have been needlessly killed in Northern Ireland should be increased.  The DOJ consultation paper stated that any increase in the bereavement damages should either bring Northern Ireland in line with England and Wales at £12,980, or with the level of inflation, estimated at £14,339.

After consultation, the Department has agreed that bereavement damages in Northern Ireland will be increased by inflation, rounded to the nearest £100, and will be adjusted every three years. Northern Ireland will now have higher bereavement damages than England and Wales.  The system in Scotland remains that each case is judged and evaluated on its own merits.

Martin Hanna, NI representative of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and partner in Francis Hanna & Co Solicitors says:

“This is a fantastic result for Northern Ireland citizens who up to now received less bereavement damages in Northern Ireland than anyone else in the United Kingdom. Whilst no amount of money can ever replace a loved one, bereavement damages do at least acknowledge that a death has been caused needlessly.  The level of payment previously available was woefully inadequate and so the DOJ announcement of this increase is a step in the right direction.”

For more information on bereavement damages, feel free to contact Martin at mhanna@fhanna.co.uk or contact us at Life Law Ni here

LIFE BITE: Bereaved NI families lose out in compensation ‘lottery’

apple-150579_1280Compensation for families whose loved ones have been needlessly killed in Northern Ireland is ‘wretchedly inadequate’, say lawyers as they urge for the level of payment to bereaved families to be increased.

 

On Monday 5th October 2015, the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched a consultation about whether the level of bereavement damages, which currently stands at £11,800, should be increased.

Martin Hanna, NI representative of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and partner in Francis Hanna & Co Solicitors says:-

“Bereft families deserve better from the justice system when their loved ones’ deaths could and should have been avoided. As it stands, the payment is wretchedly inaccurate, so we welcome any progress on rectifying this”.

“Bereavement damages in the UK are a lottery based on where the death happens. The level of payment is at its lowest in Northern Ireland at £11,800, and is nearly £1,200 more in England and Wales. In Scotland, the system is much fairer, with each case judged and evaluated on its own merits.” 

The DOJ consultation paper says that any increase in the payment should either bring Northern Ireland in line with England and Wales at £12,980, or with the level of inflation, estimated at £14,339.

Mr Hanna added:

“No amount of money can ever replace a loved one, but bereavement damages do at least acknowledge that a death has been caused needlessly. This issue with the level of payment is not about replacing what is lost, but about looking after those left behind,”

The DOJ consultation closes on 30 November 2015

If you would like to learn more about the consultation paper, it can be found at http://www.dojni.gov.uk/index/public-consultations/current-consultations/bereavement-damages-consultation.pdf

For any further information on you and your family’s legal right to bereavement damages,  please feel free to contact us below or alternatively , email us at kconnolly@fhanna.co.uk

Personal Injury Trusts

What is a Personal Injury Trust?

PItrustsA Personal Injury Trust is a trust fund which is set up with the compensation monies that you receive as a result of a personal injury claim, such as for example a road traffic accident, an accident at work or a medical negligence claim

Who do I appoint as Trustees?

You can create a Trust by asking other individuals or a company to hold assets on your behalf – these people will be known as your ‘Trustees’ You can choose whoever you wish to be the Trustee of your Personal Injury Trust however they must be over 18 years old. It is preferable that you appoint people you trust and this can conclude family, friend or legal representatives. After all, your Trustees will hold and have control over your compensation money, although they cannot use it for their own benefit.

What are the benefits of a Personal Injury Trust?

If you are in receipt of means-tested benefits and you receive an award of compensation, the capital value of any award you receive will be taken into account when calculating your entitlement to those benefits. However, if you set up a Personal Injury Trust with your compensation award, that capital is disregarded and will not affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits. Even if you do not currently receive means-tested benefits, setting up a Personal Injury Trust when you receive your award can prevent loss of any future benefits you may claim if your circumstances change. A Personal Injury Trust can also be used to protect your award from being taken into account for the cost of current or future long-term care. Placing your compensation award into a Trust will enable the capital to be disregarded when your contribution to care costs are considered.

When should I set a Personal Injury Trust up?

In order to avoid any loss of benefits, a Personal Injury Trust should be set up before you receive your award of compensation. However, a Personal Injury Trust can be set up at any time using your compensation award. There is a period of 52 weeks, from the date you receive your award, in which your compensation will be treated as disregarded capital but this period is subject to special rules and therefore it is not recommended that you rely on it.

What if my circumstances change and I no longer need a Personal Injury Trust?

You can at any time instruct your Trustees in writing, to transfer the money over to you. Once they have done this, the Personal Injury Trust will then cease to exist. It is important to remember that you may lose your entitlement to any means-tested benefits once the Personal Injury Trust ceases to exist.

Francis Hanna & Co has a department specialising in Personal Injury Trusts.
If you think that you would benefit from a Personal Injury Trust, please contact Linda Johnston for further information on lj@fhanna.co.uk