Injuries Board Application Form A
The Injuries Board (Personal Injuries Assessment Board – PIAB) make it possible for a person to make a claim on/offline personally if they so wish to do so, however many people do so with the help of a solicitor. Once the Injuries Board had been established in 2004 some suggested that there would be no need for legal representation as part of the process. The Law Society of Ireland had argued that this policy had damaged the ability of solicitors to represent their clients and in 2008 the Supreme Court decided that PIAB must recognise a person’s fundamental right to legal representation. Without such representation, a person may find it difficult to navigate the legal system for these types of claims.
The Injuries Board Application process can be confusing at times, this is why choosing a solicitor to represent you in your claim ensures that you have legal representation, guidance and a knowledgeable and experienced legal advisor to ensure that your claim is processed correctly.
Completing the Application (Injuries Board Form A)
When submitting an Injuries Board Form A, your solicitor will ask for the following information from you. Having this information on hand will help you move quickly through the application process:
- Personal Details – Your address, date of birth, PPS number of the applicant
- Type of Accident – road traffic accident, accident at work or in a public place
- Accident Details – Exact details of how the accident happened. In some cases, some investigation will be required before your application form is submitted. A car accident, for example, may not need much investigation and the application can be submitted relatively soon after the incident, but in cases such as accidents at work or industrial accidents, for example, your solicitor can arrange for a specialist expert engineer to go to the scene to assess the scene to further prove the accident was not your fault.
- Correct date and time of the accident. If you do not have the correct date and time then your solicitor can contact your family GP, hospital or place where you were seen to, to double check this information for you.
- Correct name and details of the person/company at fault for the accident. If this is incorrect at this point then you may need to resubmit the application which will add more time to the process. If it is a company that is at fault, it is important that you have the correct name and address of the business – this can be done by performing a search on the Companies Registration Office.
- If it was a road traffic accident then you will need your insurance details, registration of the vehicle and name of the Garda that attended the scene of the accident, if applicable.
- Witness Details – Details and contact number of any witnesses at the scene of the accident.
- Medical Treatment – Details of medical treatment received following the accident. If you have copies of x-rays, scans or medication, please have these details to hand.
- Disclosure of all Injuries – Ensure to disclose all injuries, major and minor injuries that arose from the accident as all injuries will need to be recorded on the Injuries Board Form A. If you fail to disclose any injuries at the start then difficulties can arise later in the claims process.
- Previous accidents/injuries – If you have had any previous accidents or injuries, you will need to let your solicitor know of these. Your solicitor may need to contact your GP or hospital that you attended for these previous injuries to request access to medical records. It is not expected that you will remember every visit to your doctor, this is why your solicitor can ensure that all information is gathered at this point before the application is submitted.
- Pre-existing medical conditions. This is an important factor when submitting an application as you can run into difficulty later in the process if it emerges that your injury is attributable to an underlying condition and not a direct result of the accident.
- Loss of earnings – if you have been out of work as a result of the accident, the details of the earning you have lost and any future loss of earnings will be needed.
- Special Damages – these include details of medical treatment fees, consultations, damages to personal property, transport to and from hospital, physiotherapy etc.
Identify The Defendant
It is critically important to ensure that the correct person has been identified following an accident. Likewise in cases where there are multiple people at fault for the accident.
It is essential that the injured party take advice on the importance of any initial letter written to them to ensure it is worded to protect them from any legal action against them at a later stage should one of the people at fault be found not to be liable for the accident.
Obtaining medical reports is an important step in the claims process. When submitting an application to the Injuries Board, it is your medical reports that will prove your injury. Your solicitor can request medical reports from the applicable sources on your behalf. Your medical report should contain the following details:
- Your date of birth
- Date of attendance
- Brief explanation of the accident
- Your complaint to the doctor describing your injuries
- Your doctor’s findings and diagnosis
- Your doctor’s recommendations for further treatment in the future (if applicable).
It is important to have a medical report, but what happens at times where the claim time limit is running out and the doctor is slow to return the report to you or your solicitor? In this case, hospital records may be acceptable in lieu of the medical report. Your solicitor can send the hospital the medical report template (Injuries Board Form B) for them to complete and return.
Once the medical report arrives, your solicitor will talk you through it to ensure that it is entirely correct. They will double check the date of the accident, description of injuries, how the accident happened and doctor’s diagnosis. If any of this information is incorrect then the report must be returned for amendment by the doctor.
Once the claim is submitted, the Injuries Board will schedule a medical examination anyway to ensure that the medical report is correct. Your solicitor will discuss and arrange this for you.
Submitting the Application
At this point you have instructed your solicitor with all the correct details, the medical report has come back, the expert engineer has provided their opinion on the accident site (where applicable) and the application is ready to be submitted.
- The Injuries Board Form A is completed by your solicitor, you will review and sign this too.
- A copy of medical reports and witness statements and expert third-party assessors will be sent with it.
- Your solicitor will have you sign an authorisation form which tells the Injuries Board that you authorise them to deal directly with your solicitor during this claim.
- Your solicitor will send the application by post to the Injuries Board.
Statute of Limitations (Legal Time Limits)
Every personal injury claim * is subject to a time limit, i.e. that you have a certain amount of time to make a claim following the date of the accident, or the date at which you realised your injuries (which in some cases can be some time after the incident.). This time limit for most accidents is 2 years less a day. If you are making a claim and your time is running out, it is important to note that as soon as the application is submitted the clock stops of the statute of limitations.
With uninsured driver accident claims, there are requirements to notify the Gardaí and the Motor Insurers Bureau if a motor accident occurs involving an uninsured driver or if an untraced driver leaves the scene of an accident. You should take independent legal advice on the time periods that apply to these types of injury claims *.
In summary certain aspects of the Injuries Board Application can be complex and in that regard, the Law Society of Ireland recommends that claimants use solicitors 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’.
Remember the Injuries Board cannot assist you to complete the form and you cannot go back a second time if you get it wrong.
What happens next?
The Injuries Board average processing time is 7.1 months. Therefore we must wait until they have processed your application and have released a suggested settlement amount. There is nothing you need to do while you wait, your solicitor will be notified as soon as the Injuries Board have assessed your claim and will contact you to move forward.
Your solicitor will not be in a position to confirm any settlement amount with you, it is the Injuries Board that will revert with a suggested award amount, this suggestion will be sent to you and the person at fault for the accident.
The Injuries Board Book of Quantum is a reference to personal injury and the accompanying settlement amounts over the past number of years and acts, in a way, like a reference guide for them to calculate so that you know how much to expect from a personal injury claim *.
At this point, your solicitor can help you in understand the settlement amount in comparison to your losses. One of two scenarios will happen as a result:
- Both parties accept the settlement suggested by the Injuries Board
- One or both parties reject the settlement suggestion
An Injuries Board offer cannot be negotiated. The injuries board use their Book of Quantum to help them in calculating a settlement amount. Once suggested, you cannot negotiate with the Injuries Board, you can either accept or reject. If you accept and the other side agrees then your case is settled and then an Order to Pay will be issued by the Injuries Board to the person at fault.
If you reject, an Authorisation for you to move to legal proceedings will be issued and your solicitor will start this process for you.
Your solicitor will issue legal proceedings following your instruction to do so. Once issued the person at fault will be given the opportunity to settle before a court hearing by way of a settlement meeting. At the settlement meeting, your solicitor and barrister will negotiate with the other side to come to an agreement that best meets your interest. You will not have to speak to, nor see the other side at the settlement meeting, all dealing are handled through your solicitor.
If at this point you come to an agreement, the settlement will be paid to you. If you still cannot agree to a settlement at this point then you move to a court hearing where a judge will determine your settlement.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Injuries Board application process with a solicitor, feel free to call our Injuries Team on 01 649 9900 or email us at email@example.com to arrange a confidential conversation with a solicitor.