Personal Injury & Accident Claims * FAQs
The basis of a personal injury claim * is for the injured party to prove that somebody else was to blame for the accident and subsequent injury they sustained or that somebody did not take reasonable care to prevent the accident from ever happening.
For most personal injury * cases (with the exception of some medical negligence *, assault, and psychological injury cases) the claims * process starts with an application to the Injuries Board. Following an assessment by the Injuries Board, the case may follow through to court, depending on the situation. Some personal injury * cases do progress through to court while many others settle outside of court – meaning that the party at fault for the accident offers an amount of money (settlement) and that the injured party accepts before reaching the stage of going to court.
Following the Injuries Board assessment, the case may follow through to a court hearing, depending on the situation.
If you intend to make a claim after an accident you must do so within the time limits set out by the Statute of Limitations.
Usually, you are allowed two years from the date the injury was caused or identified but this is not always the case. There are special rules for children and persons suffering from disabilities and also some other exceptions.
Below you will find frequently asked questions about personal injury claims to help you in understanding the process.
Frequently Asked Questions about Personal Injury Claims *
What is a Personal Injury Claim?+
In scenarios where a person is involved in an accident * that was not their fault and sustains an injury as a result of that accident, they may be entitled to pursue a personal injury claim *.
There are many different scenarios that could lead to a claim, most common of which are:
- Accident at work
- Occupational Injury
- Road Traffic Accident
- Car Accidents
- Accident in a public place
- Accident on Holidays
- Accident on a Flight
- Accidents involving children
- Medical Negligence
Each scenario and case will be different, therefore, it is important that you contact a personal injury solicitor * as soon as possible after the accident to discuss your case.
How do I start a personal injury claim *?+
The first step in making a claim, after you have spoken with a solicitor, is to submit an application to the Injuries Board for an assessment of your claim. You will be required to complete an Injuries Board Form A in order to start the claims process. Your solicitor can gather the relevant documents needed (medical reports, Gardaí reports etc.,) do this on your behalf.
What is the procedure for accidents * involving children?+
A child is considered any person under the age of 18. Legally, a minor cannot engage a solicitor and make a claim this leaves two options for making a claim:
- The child’s parent/guardian can proceed with a claim on the child’s behalf
- The child can proceed with the claim themselves when they turn 18 years of age
In scenario 1 where the case is settled before the child reaches 18 years age, the settlement amount awarded to the child is held by the courts and can be paid out when the child reaches 18 years of age, by way of an application to the court.
My claim has been submitted to the Injuries Board – What happens next?+
Once the Injuries Board have received your application they have a period of 9 months in which to assess your claim. Once assessed, the Injuries Board will revert back to you and the person at fault with a suggested compensation amount to be paid to you. At this stage, one of two scenarios will come to pass:
- If both parties agree on the settlement amount, the Injuries Board will issue an order to Pay and the compensation amount will be paid to you.
- If either party disagree on the compensation amount then your case moves to the next stage – you have 6 months to issue court proceedings.
Will I have to go to court?+
Every case is different and each case comes to resolution differently. In the majority of personal injury cases *, the person making the claim will not step foot into a courtroom.
It is possible that the person at fault will seek to settle outside of court with and your case will be settled in settlement meeting attended by you, your solicitor and barrister to negotiate your settlement. At the end of the
Ultimately, it is entirely up to you whether to accept the settlement offered. If you do not accept then it will move to a court hearing where a judge will decide how much your settlement will be.
How is compensation calculated?+
A compensation amount is calculated by taking into account the following aspects:
- Loss of wages, if absent from work due to injury
- Future loss of earnings, if absent from work for a long period of time
- Medical expenses resulting from the injury
- Future medical expenses resulting from the injury
- Out of pocket expenses
In order to calculate compensation for you, the Injuries Board will refer to the Book of Quantum. The Book of Quantum shows value ranges of compensation amounts that have been awarded to people for injuries to specific parts of their bodies. Each of the average compensation amounts found in the book is taken from real personal injury cases * (over 51,000 in total) from the years 2014-2015.
Can psychological injury * be claimed?+
Psychological injuries * can be claimed, but are a little more difficult to be proven. It is important to have as much medical evidence as possible when claiming a psychological injury. While there are many types of psychological injuries, these types of injuries usually appear in the following scenarios:
- Where a person witnesses a particularly traumatising event
- In cases of workplace harassment/bullying in the workplace
- Medical negligence – the actions or inactions of a medical practitioner.
The most common of psychological injury is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In order to show these types of injuries a medical evidence will be required, i.e. doctors reports, psychiatrists reports, for example.
How long do I have following an accident to make a personal injury claim *?+
Immediately following an accident, making a claim * may not be at the top of your agenda, focusing on your recovery is most important.
It is important to note that in Ireland there is a time limit in which you can make a personal injury claim *. This time limit is called the statute of limitations and states that a case must be started within two years from the date of the accident.
It is important to discuss your case with a solicitor as soon as possible after the accident, because any attempt to start a personal injury case * after the two-year mark may not be pursuable.
However, there are some exceptions to this two-year rule and the two-year time limit does not apply in the following scenarios where:
- The injured person was under the age of 18 (a minor) at the time of the accident – a parent or guardian bring a case forward on behalf of the child or alternatively the child can start the case when they turn 18. In this case, the two-year time limit will start when the child turns 18 years of age.
- A person did not know or could not have known that they were injured for some time after the accident.
- A person did not know or could not know who had injured them/who has caused the accident.
Once an application to the Injuries Board for assessment has been filed and a letter from the Injuries Board is issued to acknowledge your claim the clock stops of the two-year time limit and will restart as a soon as the case moves forward to court proceedings.
What information will I need for my solicitor to make a claim?+
In order for your solicitor to proceed with a personal injury claim * for you they will need the following information:
- Details of the person who caused the accident.
- Names, addresses and contact information of any witnesses to the accident
- Where available, photographs of the location of the accident, paying particular attention to the item or area where the accident happened.
- Name of Gardaí/police and station where the accident was reported – names of any Gardai who attended the scene of the accident (where applicable)
- Medical records detailing any injuries/treatment following the accident
- Details of any costs incurred following the accident (keep your receipts)
- Details of any loss of earnings and details of any future loss of earnings if you are to be out of work for a long period of time.
- Cost of medical treatment – details of future medical treatment needed.
What does no win no fee mean?+
Solicitors fees are based on a number of factors:
- Complexity and urgency of your case
- Paperwork involved- the amount of paperwork, medical records etc., that need to be obtained and examined
- The amount of time spent by the personal injury solicitor and their legal assistant on the matter
- Skill, knowledge and expertise
- Whether costs can be recovered from the other side will play a role in whether you will have to pay legal fees or whether the other side will have to pay them for you.
Speaking with a solicitor is the best first step you can take if you are concerned about legal fees, they will explain to you exactly how it all works and put your mind at ease.
You may find some many solicitors operate on a no win no fee basis which means that if your personal injury claim * is not successful then there is no charge to you. It is important to note that while this is a common practice in the industry the Law Society of Ireland regulate how a solicitor’s firm can advertise their services, one of these regulations is that a solicitor’s firm cannot advertise ‘no win no fee’ services and any solicitor found to be advertising these serves will be found to be in breach of the regulations. Keep this in mind when choosing your solicitor to represent you.