This week online we get the legal eye from Shane O'Brien from Anthony Joyce & Co. Solicitors.
Hello Sir, tell us a little about who you are?
My name is Shane O'Brien, I am a partner in the firm of Anthony Joyce & Co. I have been with the firm for almost four years now and I have been in practice for 11 years now. The firm was set up by Anthony 14 years ago with a core practice of litigation and property. While we do cover some other areas, these remain our focus. I specialise myself in Personal Injury litigation on behalf of individuals. This crosses the full spectrum of situations where people have suffered an injury as a result of somebody else’s negligence.
Who do you work with?
We are a medium sized firm with currently four qualified solicitors. We also have four trainees and two legal executives who provide backup and support. We feel the size of the firm is important in ensuring that there is a personal feel to the relationship that we develop with our clients.
Do you ride a motorbike?
I have been a pillion passenger on motorbikes on a few occasions and have rented mopeds while on holidays but I don’t ride motorcycles myself. I do cycle to work though which keeps me keenly aware of the vulnerability of cyclists and motorcyclists on the road.
What does your practice offer the motorcyclist?
Obviously, when someone comes in to us after an accident, they have been through something quite traumatic and are still coming to terms with their situation and their recovery and can find the prospect of the legal process quite daunting. What we like to do is to try to take the stress and worry off their shoulders
What is the strangest case you’ve worked on?
Every case hast its own peculiarities, be it the personality involved or the particular circumstances of the accident. The ones that stand out more are those where I am familiar with where an accident happened and I can relate to it more as I would pass by again and again. One of my more satisfying moments was where an insurance company was trying to pass some of the blame from their insured to my client. I was able to pluck out a signed statement by their insured accepting responsibility for the accident that they hadn’t been aware of. This secured a great result for my client.
Who do you work for, your boss or your clients?
I would say that we work with, rather than for, our clients. There is a lot of back and forth in these proceedings and it is not just a question of telling them what is going to happen. It is a collaborative approach as many cases have some factor that is particular to them or might have more particular concerns regarding a case. We try to map out as early as possible the way that the case is likely to unfold to try to remove any uncertainty or doubt in a client’s mind.
What motivates you to work in the legal field?
I was probably initially drawn to it by the idea of the drama to it. You find out fairly quickly that it is not like any TV show or movie you have ever seen. You do still get your share of drama from time to time. What I do like about what I do now, and it governs my approach to how I work and engage with my clients, is that I am working for an individual, dealing with their needs and concerns rather than for a corporate entity. I don’t think I would find much satisfaction in the alternative.
What the one piece of advice you could give to our readers?
Drive safely!! No one wants to end up sitting down talking to me about something that in hindsight can seem almost avoidable. If you are in an accident, I would recommend that, where possible, you take photos of the accident with the vehicles in the position from the crash as well as the registration numbers and insurance details. Even more importantly, if there is a witness get their details down and be sure that the other driver is aware that there is a witness. This will strengthen a case considerably and with no independent third party to back up your case, it is not unheard of for the responsible party to change their story and the insurance company use the lack of a witness to try to pass some responsibility back on you. Also, call the Gardaí. Even if they do not come out, it is important to make a record of it. If the other driver says that there is no real need, be all the more sure that you do contact them.
What would you most like to see happen to improve motorcycling?
I don’t want to focus on motorcycling alone. I think there is a responsibility on all road users to have a bit more regard and respect for others. It’s too easy to pick on a particular category and pillory them for all that is wrong on the roads. There isn’t any particular law change that I think should be pushed. What I would like to see is the enforcement of the laws that are there. This would then hopefully curb the behaviours of the bad drivers that we all know and talk about that cut you off, recklessly speed or accelerate through an orange light increasing the risks for the rest of us.
Many thanks for your time Shane. How might our readers get in contact with you should they require your services?