The Process of Making a Claim
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.
The Claims Process
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:
- Road Traffic Accident
- Car Accidents
- Accident at Work
- Occupational Injury and Work-Related Illness Claims
- Accident in a Public Place
- Accident on a Flight
- Accident on Holidays
- 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.
What constitutes a personal injury claim?
A personal injury claim is a process of seeking a monetary settlement for injury or illness that has been caused (or made worse) by someone else’s negligence. In general, for a personal injury claim to be viable, there are a few conditions that must be met:
- Duty of Care – an obligation to avoid injuring somebody else or putting them in a dangerous situation that may cause them harm.
- Breach of Duty of Care – This may also be called negligence, i.e., where a person fails to meet their duty of care and causes an accident and injury to another person.
- Causation – here your solicitor will prove that negligence was the cause of the accident that caused your injuries.
- Damages – damages are physical and emotional injuries that you suffered as a result of the accident.
Our specialist personal injury solicitors in Dublin are here to make the process easier for you and your family.
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 will 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 had 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 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.
How long does a personal injury claim take?
The length of your case will depend on several factors:
- The Extent of Your Injuries – if your injuries are severe it may mean that you cannot make a claim straight away.
- The Insurance Company – while we may have best practice in place to move the administration of your case forward in the quickest time possible, the insurance company may not be as fast as we can be. This could extend the length of your case
- Gathering Documents – depending on the complexity of your case, it may take time to gather certain documents.
- The Injuries Board – Once all documents have been gathered, we will submit your case for assessment to the Injuries Board, they have 9 months to revert back to us with their assessment.
- Assessment – once the Injuries Board has reverted with their assessment, you will have 28 days to either accept or reject.
- Legal Proceedings – If you move to this stage, your solicitor will move immediately to issue proceedings. It is likely that your case will settle before having to step foot into a courtroom, but the time it takes to get a settlement meeting depends on factors such as availability of barristers and the other party to attend.
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.
Do I need a personal injury solicitor to make a claim?
This is a common question for people making a personal injury claim. It would be better phrased, ‘Should I use a personal injury solicitor to make a claim’?. The answer most definitely is yes.
Insurance companies may advise you that you can pursue a claim for your injuries through the injuries board. In Ireland, it is possible to bring a claim for personal injury yourself through the Injuries Board (formerly known as PIAB) or for road traffic accidents, the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI). Making a personal injury claim yourself is actually a lot more involved in a claim than you may realise. Not following procedure or making the right moves at the right time could be detrimental to your case and leave you with no grounds for a claim for compensation.
The Injuries Board and MIBI were set up to assist people in making claims without the need for a solicitor. The reality is that the majority of people make a claim with a solicitor because the likelihood of greater compensation is higher.
Benefits of using a personal injury solicitor
The benefits of making a personal injury claim with the assistance of a personal injury solicitor are:
- You focus on your recovery – If you have been injured in an accident, your first priority is to recover. Attempting to make a personal injury claim alone, on top of your recovery, can be stressful for you.
- Solicitors understand the legal process of making a personal injury claim – When making a claim for personal injury without the appropriate legal knowledge, it is possible for an insurance company to find a way out of paying compensation on a legal technicality because of your gap in legal knowledge. For example, a personal injury solicitor will ensure that the correct parties who are responsible for your accident are identified and notified within the time limits permitted by law. Failure to do this could lead to your case becoming no longer legally enforceable. Also, a personal injury solicitor will ensure that your case is submitted to the injuries board. If necessary, that court proceedings will be issued before your case could become no longer legally enforceable.
- Personal injury solicitors know how much your case is worth – It is important that you choose a personal injury solicitor with a certain level of experience. The more experienced a solicitor is, the higher the chance they have of knowing how much your case is worth. This could be of benefit to you in assessing whether the injuries board has offered enough. Likewise, in the event of a settlement offer, if the other party has offered enough compensation.
The Injuries Board (PIAB)
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:
Option 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.
Option 2: If either party disagrees on the compensation amount then your case moves to the next stage – you have 6 months to issue court proceedings.
How to win a personal injury claim?
This is a common question and there is no quick answer. The best way to seek a claim for a personal injury is to be honest, timely, work with your solicitor as needed and to focus on your recovery. By using a solicitor to seek a claim, you can focus on your recovery while your solicitor focuses on moving your case forward.
Legal Fees & Expenses
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 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.
Who pays in a personal injury claim?
In a personal injury claim, the settlement amount paid to the injured party is generally paid by the company who is found legally liable for their injury. Often, these settlements are paid by the company’s insurance company.
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.
How much to expect from a personal injury claim?
This is not a simple question to answer. The settlement amount you can expect from your personal injury claim is heavily dependent on a number of factors, including:
- Liability – was the accident 100% the fault of the other party. If you had contributed to the accident cause in any way, it could reduce your claim.
- Injuries – the severity of your injuries, will be a prevailing factor, generally a more serious injury that may affect the quality of your life, involving lifelong medical costs, may yield a higher settlement amount.
- Expenses – what were your losses? Medical bills, future medical bills and past and future lost earnings will also play a part.
For more information on how you can estimate the value of your claim, check out our compensation claims estimator.
What is my personal injury claim worth?
The value of your personal injury claim will depend on several factors:
- General Damages – Non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following your accident.
- Special Damages – Out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the accident. For example, loss of earnings (if you were out of work), medical bills, and added travel costs as a result of the accident, for example, travel to and from the hospital.
- Material Damages – Material damage refers to damage caused to your personal property.
Attempting to value your claim alone can be difficult, speak with a personal injury solicitor to better understand your current position.
How are personal injury claims calculated?
Injury claims are calculated taking some, or all, of the below aspects into account:
- Lost earnings, both past and future
- Medical bills, both past and future
- Out of pocket expenses, such as medication, medical devices, transportation fees, etc.
- Pain and suffering
You may estimate the value of your injury by using the Book of Quantum. Using that estimate, you can add the costs of your other expenses, lost earnings and medical bills to get an idea of the value of your case. Speak with a solicitor to gain a better understanding of how your claim may be calculated.
How much should I settle my personal injury claim for?
While there is no straightforward answer to this question, a solicitor can help you understand a potential value of your claim. To do this, understanding the Book of Quantum and how it works will help you in understanding a potential value of your claim. Bear in mind that the Book of Quantum will only consider the value of the injury and does not take into account your lost earnings and medical bills. These will be specific to your case, therefore, speaking with a solicitor can help you estimate the value of your case.
When to settle my personal injury claim?
There are a couple of stages where you may be able to settle your claim. The specifics of your case, Injuries Board assessment, among other aspects will determine when you will settle your claim.
- Settle at Injuries Board Stage – once the Injuries Board assesses your case and reverts with their suggested settlement amount, if you and the other side agree to their figure, then you may settle your case at this point. Your solicitor will help you understand the Injuries Board assessment and let you know if it meets the value of your case or not. Ultimately, you will have the final decision as to whether to settle at this point or not.
- Settle at a Settlement Meeting – if you have rejected the Injuries Board assessment, then you move to legal proceedings and your solicitor will likely set up a settlement meeting with the other side to attempt to settle your case before a court date. At this point your solicitor will work to seek the maximum possible for your case, you may accept an offer from the other side and settle at this point, if you wish.
- Court Date – If you don’t settle your case at a settlement meeting, you will move to a court date where a judge will hear your case and make a decision for you to settle your case.
Going to Court
Will I have to go to court?
Every case is different and each case comes to a 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 and your case will be settled in a 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 often do personal injury claims go to court?
More often than not, a personal injury claim will be settled outside of court. This is generally done in a settlement meeting before a court date or is settled at Injuries Board assessment.
If the Injuries Board reverts with an estimate that you are happy with and that covers everything, then you may settle at this point and not have to move to legal proceedings and a court date.
If you or the other side decide to reject the Injuries Board assessment, then you move to legal proceedings. A settlement meeting may be organized before having to step foot into a courtroom. If an agreement cannot be met at the settlement meeting, then you may have to go as far as a court date where a judge will decide upon your case.
Are personal injury claims taxable?
Personal injury claims in Ireland are not taxable.
Does a personal injury claim affect benefits?
If you settle a personal injury claim and receive a lump sum payout, it may affect benefits in the future. For example, if you are to be means tested in the future, it would consider your income and savings, among other aspects. If you have a lump sum from a personal injury claim payout, this may affect the results of your means test.
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 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.
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:
Option 1: The child’s parent/guardian can proceed with a claim on the child’s behalf.
Option 2: 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.