Legal Guides

The Accident Claims Process

Making an accident claim can be daunting, especially when personal injury is sustained in an accident that was not your fault. If you have sustained injury in an accident contact a solicitor. A solicitor can help you move through the claims process with as much ease as possible. Therefore, you can focus on your recovery while they focus on managing your case.

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Step 1 – Find out if you have a case

After an accident establishing whether you have a case will be your first step. It is not advisable to move through the claims process without any legal advice. When a solicitor is on board they will aid you throughout the process. Therefore, 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. The solicitor will take on an accident claims case for you if they deem it viable. Generally speaking, it can be said that you have a case if:

  • Your accident happened in the last two years. Within the statute of limitations.
  • You recently became aware of an injury following an accident that happened over two years ago
  • If the accident was the fault of another person
  • When an injury is sustained as a result of the accident

Step 2 – Personal Injuries Assessment Board

Once established that you have a case. The first step to take in an accident claims process 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. To do this they must gather as much information as possible about the accident. In turn, this enables the Injuries Board to assess the case.

Step 3 – Consider The Injuries Board Assessment

Having reviewed your claim, the Injuries Board will write to the respondent inviting them to allow your case proceed to assessment. If this happens the Injuries Board will then arrange a medical review,  assess your case and issue a suggested compensation amount to be paid by the party at fault. If both you and the respondent accept this amount the Injuries Board will then issue an order to pay to finalise your case. Your solicitor will be able to advise you throughout this process including whether to accept or reject an assessment and the best route forward. It is important to remember that ultimately the final decision will be yours.

Possible Outcome 1

If both you and the party at fault accept the Injuries Board suggested settlement amount, the party at fault will be then ordered to pay this amount to you.

Possible Outcome 2

If either you or the party at fault does not accept the Injuries Board suggestions. At this stage, legal proceedings will be issued and your case may progress to court proceedings being issued.

Before a court hearing, a settlement meeting may be held. Here your solicitor and barrister may reach a settlement between you and the person at fault. This means that you may not need to set foot in a courtroom.

Either way, your case will be finalised, either at a settlement meeting or a court hearing.

Types of Accident Claims

An accident can occur in many 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 a road traffic accident is mentioned but this category also extends to:

Accidents in a Public Place*

Accidents in a public place are also known as public liability claims. They cover a wide range of situations, for example:

  • Slip, trip and fall in a public place (bar, hotel, restaurant)
  • Accidents on Private Property 
  • Footpath Accidents
  • Accident in a Supermarket 

Accident at Work*

An accident in the workplace can occur for a variety of different reasons, some of the most common workplace accidents are:

Generally, when a person has an accident at work they may look to seek a legal remedy. Speaking with a solicitor about your particular situation is important. They will be able to establish if 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 differently to other cases. This is because the Injuries Board do not assess these cases. You will need a medical negligence solicitor to help you. They will determine if you have a case and issue legal proceedings thereafter.

Case Settlement

The accident claims process varies from case to case. Because each individual case will be unique. This means that there is no quick and simple answer to this question. Personal circumstances and injuries are different for each individual. Speaking with a personal injury solicitor would be the best way forward in understanding your case.

The following may be taken into account when assessing how to adequately settle your case.

  • 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. Therefore, the general rule is that a person has two 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 two year time limit will start from the ‘date of knowledge’ of their injuries.

It is very important to speak with a professional about the personal injury claim process as soon as possible following an accident. Given the two year time limit. Claims made after the two year time limit are no longer valid.