Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim*
Below is a guide for non-Irish nationals pursuing a personal injury claim for an accident that occurred in Ireland. If you are a resident outside of Ireland but have had an accident whilst in Ireland then you are entitled to bring a personal injury claim in Ireland, in respect of that accident.
1. Seek Medical Attention
Your first priority, if you have been involved in an accident, is assessing whether you have been injured or not, the best way to do this is to go to a doctor or the nearest A&E (Accident and Emergency) room.
2. Call the Gardaí
In serious cases, like in a road traffic accident, call the police (Gardaí) to come to the scene of the accident. If you were involved in an accident in work, for example, then you would report the accident to your manager. If your accident occurred in a public place, like a supermarket, then you would immediately inform the shop staff and complete an incident report.
3. Document the Details
Once assessed by a medical professional, calm to think and document the details of the accident. This will prove helpful when you speak with a personal injury solicitor about your case. It will also help the solicitor establish whether you have a personal injury claim or not. Some of the information you should note are:
- Date, time and location of the accident
- Details of how the accident happened. Think about the few moments before the accident happened and what led to your injury.
- If there are any witnesses to the accident, if possible, take note of their contact details. You may need to refer to them during the personal injury claim progresses.
- Make sure that you photograph your injuries. By the time you come to making the claim, you may have healed somewhat.
- It is also important to keep records of all documentation relating to the accident. Keep your medical records and receipts for any expenses relating to the accident.
If you are going to pursue a personal injury claim, it is advisable to contact a personal injury solicitor. This will make sure that you make the right steps at the right time. A personal injury solicitor will guide you through the process, with your best interest at heart, during your claim.
The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (The Injuries Board)
The Injuries Board is the government body in Ireland which assesses and suggest compensation amounts for personal injury claims. Most accidents in Ireland must go through the Injuries Board process (there are exceptions to this – consult a solicitor for further advice). A claim is required to be submitted to the Injuries Board within a certain period of time. The time frame is known as The Statute of Limitations. If you do not submit the case within that time period then you may be unable to make any successful claim for compensation. When submitting your case to the Injuries Board for assessment you will also need to submit a medical report. You can request this from the doctor/hospital that treated you after the accident. The Injuries Board process for a personal injury claim may follow these steps:
1. The Injuries Board
A compensation suggestion is made by the Injuries Board for the defendant to pay.
If both parties agree on the compensation by the Injuries Board, they will issue a document called ‘Order to Pay’. This means the person responsible for the accident must then pay the agreed compensation amount to you.
3. Legal Proceedings
If you or the person responsible does not agree with the compensation amount suggested by the Injuries Board then court proceedings are issued and your claim moves to the next step. At this stage, if you haven’t done so already, you should consult a personal injury solicitor as the solicitor will advise you, in conjunction with a barrister. To identify the correct court to issue your proceedings in and will normally arrange for those proceedings to be drafted once you have instructed them to act on your behalf. Soon after this and some more legal formalities that your solicitor will help you with. You will then be notified of a court date.
At any stage of the proceedings, the person responsible for the accident may seek to ‘settle’ the case. This means that they would like to arrange compensation outside of court. This will involve your solicitor speaking with the legal team of the person at fault and negotiating a settlement on your behalf.
Settling a Personal Injury Claim*
If the defendant seeks to settle the claim, your legal advisors will advise you as to the adequacy of a settlement. With their experience in the field of personal injury, they will be able to guide in this matter. Settlement negotiations always take place on a ‘without prejudice’ basis. The court cannot be advised of the content of those negotiations if the matter fails to settle.
Settling the case means that you agree to conclude your case for settlement monies offered to you. A case that is settled is completed in ‘full and final settlement’ against the defendant. This means that you cannot, for example, advise a few months or years later that your injury is worse and that you now want to claim further monies.