Accident Claims Process *
Making an accident claim for personal injuries * sustained in an accident that was not your fault can be daunting. Navigating the legal world of personal injury claims is your area of expertise, that is what a personal injury solicitor is there for. A solicitor can help you move through the claims process with as much ease as possible so that you can focus on your recovery while they focus on managing your case.
Step 1 – Find out if you have a case
Establishing whether you have a case will be your first step. Moving through the process without being advised if you have a case, is probably not the best first step in the process, just in case you are not successful. In this case, you will have spent energy, time and money pursuing something that was not going to be successful in the first place. Contacting a personal injury solicitor to discuss your case should be step number one. A solicitor will have the knowledge and expertise to tell you whether they believe you have a case or not. You will know very quickly if you have a case if a solicitor is willing to take the case on or not. Generally speaking, it can be said that you have a case if:
- Your accident happened in the last two years
- You recently became aware of an injury following an accident that happened over 2 years ago
- If the accident was the fault of another person
- If you suffered an injury as a result of the accident
Step 2: Personal Injuries Assessment Board
Once established that you have a case, the first step in almost all personal injury cases (with the exception of medical negligence claims) is to submit an application to the Injuries Board for assessment of your case.
Your solicitor can handle the application process from start to finish for you, and to do so will need to gather as much information as possible about the accident in order for the Injuries Board to assess the case.
Step 3: Consider Injuries Board Assessment
Once your application has been assessed by the Injuries Board and provided that they agree that the accident was not your fault, they will be in contact with a suggested compensation amount to be paid to you by the person at fault. At this point, you and your solicitor will review the Injuries Board suggested compensation amount and you will ultimately decide if you want to accept it or not. At this stage your case will go one of two ways:
Possible Outcome 1
Both you and the party at fault for the accident accept the Injuries Board suggested compensation amount and the Injuries Board will issue an order to pay to the person at fault. Your compensation will be paid to you. Once this happens, your case will be settled and closed.
Possible Outcome 2
Either you or the party at fault does not accept the Injuries Board suggested compensation amount. At this stage, legal proceedings will be issued and your case may progress to a court hearing.
Before a court hearing, a settlement meeting may be held, at which with the help of your solicitor and barrister, a settlement may be reached between you and the person at fault. This means that you may never need to set foot in a courtroom.
Either way, your case will be settled and closed, either at a settlement meeting or a court hearing.
Types of Accident Claims
An accident can occur in a magnitude of different ways, in general, they can be grouped into the following three categories:
Road Traffic Accidents *
Road traffic accidents cover many different types of accidents. Most people may think of a car accident when road traffic accident is mentioned but this category also extends to:
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Cyclist Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Accidents on Public Transport
Accidents in a public place *
Accidents in a public place, also known as public liability claims, cover a wide range of situations, for example:
- Slip, trip and fall in a public place (bar, hotel, restaurant)
- Accident on a footpath
- Accident in a Supermarket
- Accident on a person’s property
- Dog bite claims
Accident at Work *
An accident in the workplace can occur for a variety of different reasons, some of the most common workplace accidents are:
- Slip, trip and fall at work
- Falling from a height (stairs, ladder, scaffolding)
- Manual handling injuries
- Occupational Injuries
- Repetitive strain injuries *
- Farm accidents
- Exposure to harmful substances
- Accident on a building site
Generally, anywhere that a person is working and suffers an injury or is involved in an accident may be entitled to a claim. Speaking with a solicitor about your particular situation is paramount to establishing whether you have a claim to pursue.
Outside of these categories, Medical Negligence * is also considered to be a personal injury category. Medical negligence cases are treated slightly different than other cases, as the Injuries Board do not assess these cases. You will need a medical negligence solicitor to help you in determining if you have a case and issuing legal proceedings thereafter.
Each individual case will be unique meaning that there is no quick and simple answer to this question. As every person’s personal circumstances and injuries are different, speaking with a personal injury solicitor would be your best way forward to understanding your case.
When a case is assessed by the Injuries Board, they will review their Book of Quantum in order to get an insight into how past cases similar to yours has settled in order to come to a conclusion about how much compensation they will suggest. See our compensation claims estimator to see how much compensation has been awarded in the past for different injuries to different parts of the body.
As well as the individual injury compensation, the following may be taken into account when assessing how much compensation would be entitled to:
- Impact the injury has on your quality of life
- Earnings you have lost, if you are absent from work
- Future earnings lost as a result of the injury
- Medical cost for treatment of the injury
- Future medical costs, if long-term treatment is needed
- Out of pocket expenses, like travel costs
- Psychological injuries
Personal Injury * Legal Time Limits
There is a certain time limit (known as the statute of limitations) in which a person has to pursue a personal injury claim. The general rule is that a person has 2 years from the date of the accident to make a claim. This rule applies to those who were aware of their injuries on the day of the accident. For those who became aware of their injury sometime after the accident, the 2-year time limit will start from the ‘date of knowledge’ of their injuries.
Given the 2-year time limit, it is very important to speak with a professional about the personal injury claim process as soon as possible following an accident.
Any claim that is made after the 2-year time limit will no longer be pursuable.
Personal Injury Claims * Case Studies
Choosing a solicitor with experience in personal injury claims is very important you’re your case and knowing that others have been in similar situations before and came out the other end of the process unscathed can help put your mind at ease.
Read Andy’s road traffic accident story
Andy was involved in a road traffic accident. The case was submitted to the Injuries Board as per the personal injury claims process. The difficulty that we came across with Andy’s case was that the insurance company of the person at fault did not engage with the Injuries Board Process.
Despite this hurdle, legal proceedings were issued and the case was listed for a court hearing. Andy had suffered a neck injury from the accident, by the time the hearing came around his neck injury was largely resolved.
Read Claire’s accident in a public place story
Claire suffered an unfortunate fall on a defective pavement in a public place and sustained a fracture to her left wrist. The parties at fault (property owner and occupier) did not agree to the Injuries Board process and legal proceedings were issued.
Proper to the court hearing, the case settled for a figure in favour of Claire.
Read Monica’s accident at work story
Monika worked as a hotel worker. During the course of her day, a door slammed shut, with great force, on her finger and severed a portion of her finger. Monica has suffered an extreme amount of pain and suffering from the partial amputation of her finger at work.
The case was sent to the Injuries Board for assessment, the defendant did not agree and therefore the legal proceedings were issued. This matter went all the way to a court hearing and the Judge ruled in favour of Monika and found that the employee was negligence.
It was seen by the Judge that she was not provided with a safe place or system in which to work and the circumstances of the workplace had exposed her to and caused her personal injury.
Tell Tracey Solicitors About Your Case
With over 30 years’ experience in personal injury claims, Tracey solicitors and our team of personal injury solicitors and legal executives know just how important a claim can be to help you put an accident and injuries behind you. To talk with one of our personal injury team call 01 649 9900 or email email@example.com to tell us about your case.
Frequently Asked Questions
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?+
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.
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.