HOW TO MAKE A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM *

HOW TO MAKE A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM *

What is a Personal Injury Claim *

Personal injury claim *’ refers to the legal action taken by a person after they have been involved in an accident or injured because of the actions/inactions or negligence of a third party. Generally, a claim will be brought under one of the following categories:

Participants in a Personal Injury Claim *

A claim will usually be made up of the following parties:

  • Plaintiff – the person who makes the claim – this is you and sometimes referred to as the claimant.
  • Defendant – the person(s) you are claiming against.
  • Solicitor – the person helping you in making your claim.
  • PIAB – Personal Injury Assessment Board – also known as the Injuries Board – almost all personal injury claims * are assessed by the Injuries Board first before the next steps are considered.

Types of Personal Injury Claims *?

Almost all cases * will fall under one of the common personal injury claim types * following categories:

Road traffic accident claims *

Road traffic accidents claims * arise from any type of accident or injury sustained on the road by road users or in cases where pedestrians are involved in an accident caused by a road user. Some of these claim types are:

Accident at work claims *

Accident at work claims * (also known as employer liability claims *) refer to any accident or injury sustained in the workplace as a direct result of the negligence of the employer or fellow employees. Some of the common accidents experienced at work are:

Accidents in Public Place claims *

Public place accidents * (also known as public liability claims *) refer to any accident or injury sustained in a public place as a result of the negligence or actions of the person (s) responsible for maintaining a safe environment for public use. Some of the most common accident claims * in this category are:

Medical Negligence *

Medical negligence * (also known as clinical negligence *) refers to a situation where a person is injured, or their current medical condition worsens, because of substandard care delivered by a medical professional and the injuries could have been avoided if the medical practitioner had of delivered the correct level of patient care. Some common negligence claims * are:

What is contributory negligence *?

In a personal injury claim * it will generally be proven that the accident and subsequent injuries were sustained by another person – usually because of negligence. However, if the accident was caused by the person making the claim, this is known as contributory negligence.

This means that if you had any involvement in the cause of the accident or your actions have increased the severity of your injuries this may nullify your claim or significantly reduce the outcome.

For example, if you are involved in a car accident that was caused by another person, but you failed to wear your seatbelt, your injuries sustained would be greater than they would if you were wearing your seatbelt. In this case, the contributory negligence is you not wearing your seatbelt. You may still be eligible to claim because the accident was caused by somebody else, but it may be perceived that your injuries were more severe because of your negligence in not wearing your seatbelt.

How long do I have to make a claim?

There are time limits that dictate how long a person has to make a personal injury claim * following an accident. These time limits are explained in the statute of limitations.

Generally, a person has two years less one day from the date of knowledge of their injury to bring a claim forward.

What is the date of knowledge?

The date of knowledge refers to the date on which the injured person gained knowledge of the following facts:

  • That they had been injured
  • That the injury was significant
  • The injury was caused by negligence, nuisance or breach of duty by the party at fault for the accident
  • They know the identity of the party at fault

In many cases, the date of knowledge will be the day of the accident if the injuries are immediately noticeable. However, in some cases, an injury or illness may not manifest for some time after the accident. In these cases, the date of knowledge is the date they found out they were injured.

Once the claim is submitted to the Injuries board the time limit ‘clock’ stops.

Note: Medical negligence * claims are not reviewed by the Injuries Board, therefore the only way to stop the clock on the time limit is to issue legal proceedings. Therefore, it is important to engage a solicitor as soon as possible after the date of knowledge in medical negligence cases *.

Accidents Involving Children *

Cases that involve a minor (a person under the age of 18), are treated a little differently to cases involving adults. A minor cannot bring a case forward themselves before they turn 18. Once they turn 18 years old the minor has 2 years less one day following their 18th birthday to make a claim.

However, a parent or guardian may bring a claim forward on their behalf before they turn 18 if they wish, this is known as the ‘next friend rule’. Any settlement awarded to the child is held by courts and released once the minor turns 18 years old.

How are claims calculated?

The first step in almost all personal injury claims * is for the Personal Injury Assessment Board to assess the claim and revert with a value of the claim. In doing so, the Injuries Board will use the Book of Quantum to value the claim.

What is the Book of Quantum?

The Book of Quantum, created by the Injuries Board, provides us with a general guideline on how much may be awarded in a claim. The information in this book was compiled settlement figures from various injuries from many different cases over several years. All the information in the book is based on actual settlement figures from various cases. The most recent book uses settlement figures from 2013 and 2014 personal injury cases *, therefore figures may vary today. The book assesses certain injuries in terms of severity and how long it may take to recover. Important to note is that this book does not determine the exact value of your case, actual circumstances and expenses incurred may lead you to a different outcome.

The Book of Quantum give us a guideline of a value for the injury you have sustained but there are other factors that may be taken into account when making a claim, such as:

  • Loss of earnings, past and future
  • Medical bills, past and future
  • Other out of pocket expenses, for example, travel costs

Your solicitor will help you interpret the Injuries Board assessment and together you may come to a decision. Important to note is that you have the final say in whether to settle the case at injuries board stage.

Who are the Injuries Board?

The Injuries Board, also referred to as the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB), was set up in 2004 by the Irish Government. Its function is to evaluate and assess personal injury claims * and its aim was to reduce the amount of time it takes for a personal injury case to be resolved. Since its introduction in 2004, it has significantly reduced the amount of time it takes for a claim to be resolved – to approximately 7-9 months in many cases. According to the most recent stats from the 2017 PIAB Annual Report in 2017, there were:

  • 33,114 applications
  • An average processing time of 7.3 months
  • 12,663 awards

From these awards the split of accident types was as follows:

  • 72% of claims were road traffic accidents *
  • 18% of claims were workplace accidents *
  • 10% of claims were accidents in public place claims *

What type of claims are assessed?

PIAB assesses the following types of claims:

  • Road traffic accidents * (Motor Liability) – including accidents involving cars and other vehicles, bicycle accidents and accidents involving pedestrians, for example.
  • Workplace accidents * (Employers Liability) – including slips, trips and falls at work, manual handling injuries, repetitive strain injuries, injuries sustained from employer negligence, injuries sustained from lack of or inadequate safety measures or protective equipment and accidents in hazardous working environments, for example.
  • Accidents in public places * (Public Liability) – including slips, trips or falls and other accidents in public places such as, in supermarkets, shops, hotels, pubs and bars or on a footpath, for example.

What type of claims are not assessed?

PIAB does not assess the following claims:

In such cases, speaking with a solicitor would be your best first step in making a claim.

How do I make a Personal Injury Claim *?

Speaking with a solicitor

If you are unsure of how to start, a personal injury solicitor * is best placed to advise you. Your solicitor can assist you in gathering all the information needed in one place and then prepare and submit your application for you. Useful information that your solicitor will require include:

  • Details of how the accident happened
  • Details of the injuries sustained and photos of the injuries where possible
  • Details of any pre-existing conditions or previous injuries
  • List of expenses incurred as a result of the accident, medical bills, for example
  • Details of the person(s) at fault for the accident

It is especially important to identify the correct person at fault when making a claim. If you have identified a person at fault for the accident and upon review, the Injuries Board don’t agree, then you may be ordered to pay their legal fees.

Certain aspects of the Injuries Board Application can be complex. The Law Society of Ireland recommends that people who are making a personal injury claim use a solicitor in their dealings with the Injuries Board –

‘Legal representation is necessary to guarantee the rights of victims of accidents against the interests of big business and the insurance industry.’

Medical Reports

The next piece of important information in any personal injury claim * is a medical report to confirm the details of your injuries. A solicitor can request the report from the medical practitioner that treated the injuries. Furthermore, a prognosis from a doctor can be obtained illustrating the details of your injuries, the estimated time for recovery and the details of the necessary treatment will be needed for your claim.

In cases where you were treated by a psychologist to treat psychological injuries, your solicitor can also request a report from your psychologist to confirm your injuries.

Form A

The Form A is the name of the application that is submitted to the Injuries Board. Once all required information is gathered your solicitor can submit this to the Injuries or assessment along with any medical records and details of any expenses.

The Injuries Board will then acknowledge receipt of your application and issue a reference number. They will then notify the person/company responsible for your accident at this stage.

Assessment of your claim

Once your claim is assessed, if the Injuries Board concludes in your favour, they will revert with a suggested settlement amount to be paid to you by the party at fault. The offer cannot be negotiated you may either accept or reject it and have 28 days to make your decision. Your solicitor will be best placed to assist you in deciding, however, the final decision will rest with you. There are two possible outcomes to this stage of the process:

A.) Order to Pay

If you and the person at fault for your accident agree to the suggested compensation amount, the Injuries Board will issue an ‘Order to Pay’ which orders the party at fault to pay the settlement amount to you.

B.) Authorisation to move to Court Proceedings

If you, or the person at fault, do not agree with the Injuries Board suggested amount then you will be issued with an Authorisation to move the claim forward and issue legal proceedings to resolve the matter.

If your claim does move to legal proceedings it is worth noting that most cases will settle before reaching a courtroom. The likelihood is that your case will be resolved in a settlement meeting before reaching a Judge.

Settling a Claim Outside of Court

Settling a claim outside of court may involve settlement meetings. If your case progresses to this stage the process usually works as follows:

  1. You will meet your solicitor at the courthouse.
  2. You will not interact with the other side personally and generally will not have to face the person at fault for your accident
  3. Your solicitor will introduce you to the Barrister that will facilitate the settlement talks. Your solicitor will have briefed the Barrister on your case details.
  4. Your Barrister will speak with you and your solicitor and then speak with the other side and will then return with an update on your settlement. They may go back and forth a number of times negotiating with the other side.
  5. If you come to an agreement at this point, then your case will be settled at this point.
  6. If you cannot reach an agreement at this point, then your case will move to a hearing where a Judge will decide the outcome of your claim.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

Tracey Solicitors draw on over 30 years of experience as personal injury solicitors * and have the expertise and knowledge to help you navigate the legalities of making a claim without any of the legal jargon attached to it. Our promise is to make law accessible to all. For more information call 01 649 9900 or email ask@traceysolicitors.ie and tell us about your case.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

contact no win no fee solicitors

016499900

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TELL US ABOUR YOUR CASE

Personal Injury Claims * – Useful Information

 

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:

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.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. If either party disagree on the compensation amount then your case moves to the next stage – you have 6 months to issue court proceedings.
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.

“Over the years I have found your services completely professional, empathetic, reasonable and one that consistently inspires confidence.”

J.J.M, Personal Injury *

Client Story – Joanne, Personal Injury *

Incident: Joanne injured herself in work * while she was using a hand pallet truck that moves stock.  The pallet was brought in by a supplier which was stocked in the workplace. The pallet was jammed against a wall and when she went to pull it out with a pallet truck, the pallet truck slid out from under the pallet and fell backwards with her onto the ground. After falling, Joanne continued to work and finished her shift one hour later. She injured the left side of her chest, her left arm, her shoulder and her lower back. She returned home but could not get out of bed the next morning as she had injured all her left side. She needed physiotherapy on over 20 occasions due to the accident * and had also problems with day to day activities especially sleeping.

Case Progression: The Personal Injuries Assessment Board decided that it would not be appropriate to make an assessment because of the complexity off certain issues. Proceedings were issued on the 15/03/12.

Settlement: The case was settled in the High Court on the 12/03/2013. Joanne’s workplace has a duty of care towards their employees and the accident was not Joanne’s fault as the work conditions were not safe and negligence was proven.

Client Story – Susan, Personal Injury *

Incident: Joanne injured herself in work * while she was using a hand pallet truck that moves stock.  The pallet was brought in by a supplier which was stocked in the workplace. The pallet was jammed against a wall and when she went to pull it out with a pallet truck, the pallet truck slid out from under the pallet and fell backwards with her onto the ground. After falling, Joanne continued to work and finished her shift one hour later. She injured the left side of her chest, her left arm, her shoulder and her lower back. She returned home but could not get out of bed the next morning as she had injured all her left side. She needed physiotherapy on over 20 occasions due to the accident * and had also problems with day to day activities especially sleeping.

Case Progression: The Personal Injuries Assessment Board decided that it would not be appropriate to make an assessment because of the complexity of certain issues. Proceedings were issued on the 15/03/12.

Settlement: The case was settled in the High Court on the 12/03/2013. Joanne’s workplace has a duty of care towards their employees and the accident was not Joanne’s fault as the work conditions were not safe and negligence was proven.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How long does a personal injury claim take to settle?

The time it takes to settle a claim will depend on the type of accident and the types of injuries sustained. This is why this is a difficult question to answer as there are many factors that come into play in the personal injury claims * process.

There are certain time frames we can somewhat predict at times and some that we can’t predict, for example, we know that the injuries board must revert within 9 months with an assessment of your claim…

READ MORE

What is negligence in personal injury *?

In the legal world, negligence is defined as the failure of a person to uphold a reasonable duty of care or breach the duty of care or standards of behaviours expected of them for the protection of people against the unreasonable and avoidable risk of accident and injury.

For negligence to be established and proven there are several elements that must exist…

READ MORE

Will I have to go to court?

This is not a question that can be answered at the outset of a case. The reason is that there are steps that need to be followed before the opportunity to move to court proceedings presents itself.

The vast majority of personal injury claims * are settled before stepping foot into a courtroom. Only a small percentage of claims each year go to court for a Judge to decide on the outcome of the case…

READ MORE

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How long does a personal injury * take to settle?

The time it takes to settle a claim will depend on the type of accident and the types of injuries sustained. This is why this is a difficult question to answer as there are many factors that come into play in the personal injury claims * process.

There are certain time frames we can somewhat predict and some that we can’t predict, for example, we know that the injuries board must revert within 9 months with an assessment of your claim…

READ MORE

What is negligence in personal injury *?

In the legal world, negligence is defined as the failure of a person to uphold a reasonable duty of care or breach the duty of care or standards of behaviours expected of them for the protection of people against the unreasonable and avoidable risk of accident and injury.

For negligence to be established and proven there are several elements that must exist…

READ MORE

Will I have to go to court?

This is not a question that can be answered at the outset of a case. The reason is that there are steps that need to be followed before the opportunity to move to court proceedings presents itself.

The vast majority of personal injury claims * are settled before stepping foot into a courtroom. Only a small percentage of claims each year go to court for a Judge to decide on the outcome of the case…

READ MORE



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