Personal Injury Claims *
“Personal injury” is the legal term for an injury or illness that has been caused (or made worse) by someone else’s negligence. If you have suffered in these circumstances, you may be able to make a personal injury claim. * An injury of any kind can affect your quality of life. Being out of work as a result of this injury may also affect your monthly household income. Our specialist personal injury solicitors * are here to make the process easier for you and your family.
Claims process of Personal Injuries in Ireland
The majority of claims do not start in court. Generally, they are required by law to start with Injuries Board (with the exception of Medical Negligence, some assault cases and some cases where the injury is wholly psychological). Many people who apply to the Injuries Board do so with the help of a solicitor. This ensures that the process runs as smoothly as possible from gathering of documents, medical reports and evidence to submission of the application to consideration of the Injuries Board compensation suggestion.
Legal Time Limit
Formally known as the ‘Statute of Limitations’, the legal time limit for a personal injury claim * is usually 2 years less one day after the date of knowledge of the injury. In many cases, the date of knowledge will be the date the accident occurred. In some cases, a person may not realise their injury until some time after the accident and in such cases, the clock starts from that date.
For children who have suffered an injury, the process works a little differently. A minor cannot bring a claim forward themselves. On their 18th birthday, the clock starts at their 2-year time limit to make their claim. Alternatively, a parent or legal guardian can bring the claim forward on behalf of the child immediately after the accident. This is generally a more favorable option. As making the claim sooner rather than later means that it is easier to source reliable evidence to strengthen the child’s case.
Important to note is that once the application to the injuries board is submitted, the clock stops on the 2-year time limit while they assess the claim.
The Injuries Board Process
1. Speak with a Solicitor
To start the process, you will need to provide the following information to your solicitor:
- Details of the accident
- Details of the injury along with any evidence (photographs)
- Details of any previous injuries/medical conditions/accidents/claims
- Details of any expenses incurred as a result of the accident (medical bills, etc.)
- CCTV footage, where applicable (Your solicitor can acquire this for you)
- Details/Description of the person at fault
2. Medical Reports
The next step can be considered to be the most important, in order to prove your injuries, you will need a medical report from the practitioner that treat you following the accident. You solicitor can request for medical reports from your doctor. Similarly, in cases of psychological injury, your solicitor can request reports from the psychologist that treated you.
3. The Injuries Board application
Once your solicitor has gathered all information necessary, they will complete and submit the Injuries Board application form (Injures Board Form A) for you. Once submitted, the personal Injuries Board will acknowledge receipt of this and will notify the person at fault of your claim. A copy of the application form and medical report will also be issued to the person at fault at this stage. Once submitted, the 2-year time limit clock will stop while your claim is being assessed.
4. Injury Claim Assessment
Upon assessment of your claim, the Injuries Board will look at past personal injury cases and injuries similar to yours to determine how much compensation they will suggest. They do this by referring to the ‘Book of Quantum’.
The Book of Quantum is a record of personal injury cases, specific injuries and how much they settled for. Use our compensation estimator to get an insight into how much you may be awarded for your injury.
5. Consideration of Injuries Board Offer
Having reviewed your claim, the Injuries Board will revert back to you with a suggested compensation amount. This would be then paid to you by the party at fault. You will then need to consider whether to agree to this or not. At this time, your solicitor will be able to advise you on the best route forward, but ultimately it will be your decision whether to accept this first offer or not.
There are two possible outcomes from this stage:
Both you and the party at fault accept the Injuries Board suggested settlement amount. The party at fault would be then ordered to pay this amount to you.
Either you or the party at fault does not accept the suggested settlement amount. Then you would move to issue court proceedings against the person at fault for your accident/injury.
Out of Pocket Expenses
Out of pocket expenses in an injury claim are also referred to as ‘special damages’. These special damages are usually comprised of things such as:
- Medical Expenses – costs of attending doctors, cost of medication, hospital bills, cost of x-ray, MRI, or treatments such as physiotherapy.
- Travel Expenses – any travel costs directly related to the accident/injury, such as taxi fares, public transport to and from the hospital, or car parking
- Loss of Earnings – a calculation will be made as to how much earnings you have lost as a result of being out of work due to the injury, as well as any future loss of earnings. These will also be calculated and included in the final amount.
Time limit to accept or reject the award
Once a suggested award has come through, the person making the claim (plaintiff) has 28 days to accept or reject the offer. The defendant (the person whom the claim is made against) has 21 days to accept or reject the offer made by the Injuries Board.
Important to note is that should the person making the claim fails to respond to the offer in 28 days, it will automatically be deemed to be rejected in the eyes of the Injuries Board.
Effect of accepting the award
Should both parties accept the award suggested by the Injuries Board, then the Injuries will issue an order to the person at fault to pay the settlement amount. Once this happens and the monies are paid over, the case is then deemed to be settled – full and final settlement, meaning that the person making the claim cannot return at a later date seeking further compensation.
Effect of rejecting the award
If one of the parties involved rejects the settlement suggestion by the Injuries Board the case will move to the next stage of the process, i.e. legal proceedings to move the case to court for a judge to decide the outcome.
At this stage, you will work with your solicitor and they will issue legal proceedings to move the case along.
Settlement Outside of Court
The majority of personal injury cases will settle outside of court. The reality is that if you move past the Injuries Board stage to legal proceedings that you will not have to step foot into a courtroom.
Before the hearing, settlement meetings may be arranged, meaning that you would meet with your legal team – Solicitor and Barrister – to start these talks. At the meetings, your legal team will communicate with the other side on your behalf, all the while keeping you up to date and informed of the progress and any updated settlement offers.
Your legal team may come to an acceptable conclusion for you at these meetings if so, your case will then be concluded in full and final settlement there and then. If settlement talks do not result in an acceptable settlement amount, then your case will move to a court hearing where a Judge will make the final decision on your case.
Calculation of Damages
In a personal injury * case involving an accident where you have suffered an injury, property damage or another kind of loss, as the injured party you can seek to claim for those losses. The best way to do so is to speak with a personal injury solicitor about your case. The losses the injured party incurs are called ‘damages’ and generally are broken down into two categories: General Damages and Special Damages:
- General Damages are classed as non-monetary losses, like physical pain and suffering or mental/physiological pain and suffering.
- Special Damages refer to monetary losses/expenses incurred by the injured party as a result of the accident. For example, loss of earnings, loss of future earnings, household expenses, medical care and future medical care.
- Loss of Amenity refers to the effect on a person’s enjoyment or quality of life or to a person’s failure to carry out a task that they were once able to do. It illustrates the non-financial impact that a personal injury * has on a person’s work, family and social life. Loss of amenity takes into consideration all resulting restrictions that the injury has forced on a person through no fault of their own.
The consequences of the same injury or illness will vary between individuals. So the amount of compensation you could receive will be personal to you. Our personal injury solicitors are experienced in accurately valuing claims based on your particular circumstances, to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Assisting your Solicitor with your claim *
In order for a solicitor to advise you on your accident and whether you may be entitled to make a claim, When bringing the claim to a solicitor, include all facts surrounding the accident. Even the fact that you may think are not as important. Also remember to include things like how the accident happened, what exactly you were doing at the time, who was involved and who witnessed the accident.
The following pieces of information are important for you to bring with you, where possible when you start the claims process with your solicitor:
- A detailed description of the accident and how it happened.
- Pictures of the scene of the accident to show how it happened
- Specific time and date of the accident
- Was there any CCTV in operation where your accident happened? Your solicitor can request the owner of the CCTV to send over the recordings.
- Witness details – was there any witnesses to the accident?
- Medical reports – if you have copies of them to hand, if not your solicitor can request these from your doctor.
- Details of loss of earnings – how much wages have you lost as a result of the accident?
- Details of Medical history – did you have any medical conditions before the accident occurred?
- Claims history details – have you made any personal injury claims in the past? Details of the party at fault for your accident. – it is of the utmost importance that you have correct party identified when making a claim.
- A list of any expenses you incur as a result of the accident (for example, medical costs, travel costs, home care costs or any other costs involved)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your case.
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