Personal injury solicitors remove Covid injury posts following backlash

Liam Moloney says blog post was for information and was not an advertisement

Covid-19 vaccination centre in  Dublin. A leading personal injuries solicitors published a post on its website describing injuries that can be caused by ’poor vaccination technique’ . Photograph: Alan Betson Photograph: Alan Betson

Covid-19 vaccination centre in Dublin. A leading personal injuries solicitors published a post on its website describing injuries that can be caused by ’poor vaccination technique’ . Photograph: Alan Betson Photograph: Alan Betson

 

A leading personal injuries solicitors has removed a webpage detailing possible injuries related to the Covid-19 vaccine, following an online backlash.

Moloney Solicitors, which has offices in Dublin and Naas, Co Kildare, published a post on its website describing injuries that can be caused by “poor vaccination technique” and the proof required to win a compensation claim.

These include injuries to the shoulder caused by needles and vasovagal syncope, a condition which causes people to faint due to emotional distress, such as the sight of blood or needles.

Readers were told that “any claim that might be successful would ultimately be funded by the State”. It was also pointed out the State has previously had to settle vaccine injury claims relating to the swine flu vaccine.

Readers were asked to ring the mobile number of the firm’s managing partner, Liam Moloney, for further information.

Mr Moloney is the co-chair of the Covid-19 litigation group within the Pan European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers.

Anger

The post attracted significant anger on social media, particularly from medical workers.

“Disgraceful & sickening,” Tipperary GP Dr Iver Hanrahan wrote on Twitter. “You burst a gut trying to vaccinate your community during the pandemic, while simultaneously keeping the normal day job ticking over, and then read the likes of this.”

“It’s no wonder we can’t keep doctors in Ireland! Nor can we attract our doctors home,” Dublin cardiologist Dr Rory O’Hanlon said.

The webpage was removed from the website on Thursday, along with several other blog posts about Covid-19 vaccines.

On the same day, Mr Moloney put up a new post stating minor shoulder injuries and other related complications are “not compensatable injuries as long as the appropriate consent procedure is followed”.

“No person who sustains a minor injury after the administration of a vaccine is entitled to damages for the same.”

Compensation

More serious injuries may be liable for compensation but the burden of proof lies with the complainant, he said.

“Any person who receives a significant injury would have to have expert evidence that the injury was caused as a result of negligence and breach of duty during the administration of the vaccine.”

The Legal Service Regulatory Authority (LSRA) subjects solicitors to strict rules regarding advertising. These include rules against advertisements “which solicit, encourage or offer inducement to a person or a group to make claims for personal injuries or seek legal services in connection with such claims.”

Speaking to The Irish Times on Friday, Mr Moloney said the blog post was not an advertisement but rather legal commentary in his role as a product liability solicitor.

‘Educate clients’

“The only reason the post was there was to educate clients, as we are entitled to do, as to how a case could be brought,” he said.

“Some members of the medical profession took issue with that, which is their right. As a result I took the post down.”

He said it “in no way” intended to target the medical profession. “It was simply providing legal advice best as I can.”

Mr Moloney said some of the comments about the post were “very unfair” and “despicable”.

He said made the decision on his own to remove the page and was not instructed to do so by the LSRA or the Law Society.

The regulatory authority said it could not comment on individuals. It pointed to its annual report detailing regulations governing solicitors’ advertising.

Between September 7th, 2020, and March 26th, 2021, the LSRA received 44 complaints or notifications about legal practitioner advertising. In three cases it wrote to practitioners informing them of possible breaches, resulting in the lawyers agreeing to withdraw or amend the advertisements.

A spokeswoman for the Law Society, which until last year was responsible for regulating solicitors’ conduct, said members should ensure their advertisements do not “encourage personal injury litigation. In addition, the terms used within the advertisement should not give offence to members of the public or to members of the profession.

“The solicitors’ profession is grounded in values of trust and integrity, and providing the highest standard of expert advice and service to clients is at the core of this. The Law Society expects all solicitors to uphold these values and advertise in a manner which serves to enhance the many benefits of engaging with a solicitor for trusted legal advice.”