High Court Expresses Strong Disapproval Of Solicitor Referrals To Medical Specialists

Published date13 February 2023
Subject MatterLitigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Food, Drugs, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Personal Injury
Law FirmWilliam Fry
AuthorMs Mary Cooney

Two personal injuries cases, Sarah Cahill v Brian Forristal and Rachel O'Riordan v Brian Forristal [2022] IEHC 705, recently came before Mr Justice Twomey in the High Court on appeal from the Circuit Court, which rejected the plaintiffs' claims. Twomey J dismissed the appeals and expressed strong criticism of "inappropriate" referrals made by the plaintiffs' solicitor to medical specialists.


The cases involved two sisters who were commuting by car, albeit in a line of traffic, when the defendant, who was travelling behind them, knocked into the back of their car. Ms Cahill was the driver, and Ms O'Riordan was seated in the passenger seat. The parties inspected the cars, and as there appeared to be no visible signs of damage, no insurance details were exchanged. The plaintiffs reported the incident to An Garda Síoch'na, claiming significant damage to the car and reporting that the defendant had smelt of alcohol and had fled the scene. There was no evidence of damage to the plaintiffs' car upon Garda inspection. The defendant also denied the allegations against him, and the Court accepted that those allegations were false.

Ms Cahill had informed her GP that the defendant had "walloped into the back of her car" and that "her bumper was damaged". Critically, however, it was Ms Cahill's solicitor who referred her to an orthopaedic surgeon and a consultant psychiatrist for medical assessment rather than her GP.

High Court Judgment

Both cases were heard together by the Circuit Court and on appeal by the High Court (Court). Twomey J referred to earlier findings in Dardis v. Poplovka (No. 1) [2017] IEHC 149, which deemed it "inappropriate" for a plaintiff to be referred for medical assessment by their solicitor, as they lack the medical expertise to make such a referral. The key considerations in this regard were as follows:

  1. Noting the decision in Harty v. Nestor [2022] IEHC 108, Twomey J was of the view that the plaintiff's GP should make medical...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT