LitigationPersonal Injury

Appeal Judgment on Legal Costs: O’Daly v Bus Éireann

By November 22, 2023 No Comments

Appeal Judgment on Legal Costs: O’Daly v Bus Éireann

In a recent ruling, the Court of Appeal provided clarity on the issue of legal costs in the widely discussed case of O’Daly v Bus Éireann.

 A Revised Judgment

The case revolved around Mr. O’Daly, who pursued legal action against Bus Éireann following a road accident. While cycling in Dublin, he was struck by a bus, sustaining injuries. The Court of Appeal, in its September decision, amended the High Court’s initial award of €125,000 in damages to Mr. O’Daly, reducing it to €65,000.

It’s important to note that Bus Éireann acknowledged their liability in the accident. The primary dispute was not about responsibility, but rather the extent of compensation due to Mr. O’Daly.

 Legal Costs: A Complex Matter

In legal proceedings, the general principle is that the losing party covers the legal costs. However, cases like Mr. O’Daly’s present complexities. Although the appeal saw a reduction in his compensation, this was not a result of his own actions. The purpose of such compensation is to cover the losses and injuries sustained, not to burden the injured party with legal fees.

Before the appeal hearing scheduled for 12 January 2023, there were attempts to settle. Mr. O’Daly proposed to settle for €90,000 on 12 December 2022, a significant decrease from the High Court’s decision. On 22 December, Bus Éireann responded with an offer of €75,000 plus legal costs. This offer stood over the Christmas break, but Mr. O’Daly did not accept it, leading the case to proceed. The eventual Court of Appeal award was less than Bus Éireann’s settlement offer.

Mr. O’Daly contended that the settlement offer over the holiday period was not valid.

The Court’s Determination

The Court of Appeal concluded that Bus Éireann should be awarded its legal costs incurred after their settlement offer on 22 December 2022. These costs are subject to adjudication, where it will be assessed whether the offer’s timing, coming after most costs were incurred, impacted its effectiveness.

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