Moloney & Co. are delighted to announce the Law Firm of Da Costa Basto in Lisbon as our Portuguese *personal injury international partners.
António da Costa Basto practices law since July 1975 and is an expert in Personal Injury law and regularly assists international Courts giving evidence of legal procedures in Portugal and the amount of damages that injured victims can recover under the Portuguese legal system.
The most common accidents involving Irish tourists in Portugal are road traffic accidents along with slip, trip and fall related accidents in hotels, restaurants, shops and on public footpaths.
The Personal Injury system in Portugal
In Portugal it is permitted a lawyer to agree with the client to fix fees as a percentage of the award or settlement. The time period for victims of personal injury in Portugal to sue is three years from the date of the accident and in some circumstances, this can be extended to five years. This is a much longer period than is allowed under Irish law. In many cases where consumers are injured either in road traffic accidents or while staying in Hotels or apartments EU Law allows them to file legal actions to recover compensation before the Courts of the State in which they are domiciled in. However, the assessment of compensation is based on the law of the country where the accident occurred and not in the victim’s home country. This is an important distinction because compensation levels in Ireland are far more generous than Portugal.
If the legal action cannot be taken in Ireland it will have to be filed in Portugal and a Portuguese lawyer will have to be instructed.
Because of Moloney Solicitors relationship with the Law Firm of Da Costa Basto in Lisbon we can get immediate legal assistance for all of our clients. This ensures that they can access hospital records, medical reports and police reports as our Portuguese colleagues will obtain this information promptly after the accident happens. It is extremely important that this evidence is obtained because many insurance companies refuse to pay compensation for medical injuries unless somebody has attended a hospital or a medical clinic after the accident in Portugal.
If an Irish tourist is involved in an accident in Portugal, we recommend that the following steps are immediately taken:
- Immediately take photographs of the vehicles involved in the road traffic accident, the scene of the accident and of your injuries.
- In the event of a road traffic accident call the police immediately and retain the names of the police officers who attended the scene
- If the injuries were sustained either in a slip, fall or trip in a public place or in a restaurant or hotel immediately report the accident by email or letter and that you are given a receipt to prove that the accident was reported. Keep the names of the people that the accident was reported to and again take photographs of the area where you fell.
- Immediately notify your Travel Insurance company that you have been involved in an accident. You may also have legal expenses cover under the terms of your policy which can be very helpful towards paying your legal expenses at a later stage.
Type of cases we deal with:
- Road traffic accidents
- Fall-related accidents (in hotels, restaurants, shops, streets, etc.)
- Other kinds of accidents/incidents, such as food poisoning, accidents in funfairs, in gymnasiums.
The general principles governing liability and the obligation to compensate the injured party are provided for in the Civil Code. The procedural rules are found in the Civil Procedure Code. There is also special legislation regarding certain particular matters, such as road traffic accidents and insurance. Since Portugal is an EU State Member, EU Regulations apply.
The main source is fault. In certain cases the Portuguese law foresees a presumption of fault. An exception to fault-based liability the Portuguese law foresees, in certain cases, strict or non-fault liability. The most important exception is road traffic accidents.
The standard limitation period for the compensation right is 3 years from the accident’s/incident’s date.
General Level of Damages
It is extremely varied the amounts awarded in Portugal. They depend on the particular characteristics of each case and sometimes on the Judge himself. This is due to the fact that equity/fairness (“equidade”) is a legal criterion for assessing non-pecuniary damages and, in certain cases, pecuniary damages as well.
*In contentious business a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*
For further information please email email@example.com or request a call back using the form below.
Dublin Office: 01-8717577 Naas Office: 045-898000 FreeFone: 1800-200-249