If you are reading this, you may have been personally injured* in an accident and are now questioning what your legal options are.
If you have been injured as a result of the actions of someone else, you will have suffered what is termed a Tort, which is a civil wrong, which basically means you will have a right to seek a legal remedy for this wrong.
Tort law is there to protect people from harm and injury and attach legal responsibility to anyone who causes the harm.
Area’s of Personal Injury Law
We’re Here to Help with Your Personal Injury Questions
How do Personal Injury* Claims work ?
An initial step for any injured party who wishes to initiate a personal injury* claim is to make an application to the Board. The Personal Injuries Assessment Board is a statutory body that carries out its own private, independent assessment of a persons personal injury* claim. It will not assess claims regarding the provision of any medical or surgical procedure in relation to a person, or the provision of any medical advice or treatment to a person.
A purely paper-based system, it never carries out oral hearings but assesses claims with regard to medical evidence, such as the medical report furnished by the injured party to the Board.
If the person who caused the injury consents to the Injuries Board assessing the application, or if they fail to state in writing whether they consent to the assessment or not, the Injuries Board will proceed to carry out the assessment.
If the person who causes the accident states in writing that they do not consent to the Injuries Board making an assessment, the Injuries Board will issue whats termed an authorisation, which permits the applicant (injured party) to bring legal proceedings.
How many Personal Injury* Claims go to Court ?
The Personal Injuries Assessment Board is tasked with dealing with such claims. In 2018 the Board noted they have assessed 130,000 claims since 2004 and that 60% of the applicants accepted the Injuries Board Assessment.
In essence the vast majority of such claims do not reach court and do not need to go to Court. Court only arises if it is necessary in the circumstances.
How often do Personal Injury* Claims go to Court
This is answered above.
When should you make a Personal Injury* Claim in Ireland ?
In our opinion one should do so if they are injured and sustained loss due to anothers negligence, who denies negligence arose and refuses restitution of monetary loss.
How do I make a Personal Injury* Claim ?
The injured party must serve notice in writing, before the expiration of one month from the date of the cause of action, or as soon as is practicable thereafter, to the person who caused the accident outlining the nature of the wrong involved etc.
An injured party must apply to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board by filling out an Injuries Board Assessment form called Form A.
The applicant starts the process by first getting a medical assessment form completed by their doctor and then filling out an Injuries Board Assessment application form. It’s usually available online.
If any costs have been incurred, remember to attach receipts for any financial losses related to the personal injury* with the application to the Injuries Board. Include a copy of correspondence from the person you deem responsible for the injury, and send the application fee. The Board will write back to acknowledge receiving your documents and to give you your application number.
What is the role of insurance in personal injury* claims ?
In terms of motor accidents, since 1961 there has been an obligation on vehicle drivers to have motor insurance in place while using a vehicle in a public place.
If then one is injured due to the negligence of another, the injured party can rest easier that at least there is insurance in place to cover the loss.
Is there a time limit to making a Personal Injury* Claim ?
There is a limit regarding how long an injured person has to initiate a legal action. This limit is pursuant to the statute of limitations act and if surpassed, it can cause your claim to be whats termed as statute barred from court. One has two years from the date of the accident to initiate the legal action.
How long does a Personal Injury* Claim take ?
There is no one singular answer that can be given which works for everybody.
It depends on the individual case for many reasons, but we will give a general guide here.
Personal Injury* claims must be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. On average, claims made to PIAB are assessed within 9 months from the date the Board notifies the party who the claim is taken against.
If the case is dealt with and concluded at this point to the satisfaction of the parties, the entire timeframe could be 9 months to one year. If the matter is not dealt with by the Injuries Board, the injured party may have the option of proceeding to court to seek a Judgement from the court.
Some factors that may affect how long a case takes include:
- Once an application has been made to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, it usually takes between 9 months to 1 year before it is concluded.
- If one of the parties does not agree to the Injuries Board making an assessment, the matter can proceed to court.
- If an assessment sum is not agreed to by one party, the matter can proceed to court.
- How long will the court case process take depends on various factors, such as, is the case straightforward for complex ?.
- Is there one injury or multiple injuries ?.
- What is the attitude of the defendant to the case ?.
- Has liability been admitted or is it contested ?.
- Has the injury stabilised ?.
- Has the treatment concluded ?. Has the injured parties doctors recommended further treatment ?. Detail of the further treatment is then required.
- What number of experts reports are required ?.
- Is it easy or difficult to obtain expert reports ?.
- Is it easy or difficult to obtain medical records ?.
- Have the legal pleadings concluded. In the High Court the defence must be provided to the injured parties solicitor within 8 weeks from the time the summons is served. This is not a long time, and in personal injury* cases one must proceed step by step in conjunction with the guidance of the doctor(s) assisting the injured party. Medical care can take time, recovery can take time, and guidance from the doctor and the patients thoughts on their own rehabilitation are important considerations in terms of assessing controlling the speed of a case.
How are personal injury* claims calculated
Personal Injury* Claims are assessed by the Injuries Board with the guidance of the Book of Quantum and the Board will also consider the applicants out of pocket expense losses such as medical bills and earnings losses.
What happens in a Personal Injury* Claim ?
In the above paragraphs we explained how to make such a claim to the Injuries Board.
Once your Application has been lodged with the Injuries Board, the Board will serve Notification on the Respondent party ie the party allegedly responsible of the claim.
The party possibly responsible can communicate with the Injuries Board whether they agree or not the Injuries Board making an assessment. If the said party agrees to this, the Injuries Board will proceed to make an assessment.
The applicant will have to attend for a medical assessment with a relevant doctor arranged by the Injuries Board who will also complete a medical assessment review and report.
The applicant will have to submit all financial loss documentation and detail to the Injuries Board who will conclude their assessment approximately nine months after they notify the Respondent of the claim.
The Injuries Board will then conclude their assessment of damages which is based on the Book of Quantum, and it is then for the applicant and respondent to consider if they agree or not to the assessment made by the Injuries Board.
What is a Personal Injury* Claim ?
If you have been injured as a result of the actions of someone else, you will have suffered what is termed a Tort, which is a civil wrong, and as an injured party you will have a right to initiate a personal injury* claim. In the law of negligence, what is termed the ‘neighbour principle’ was laid down in a case back in 1932 but the Judge in that case outlined the parameters of the duty of care in the following quote “You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour’’.
Can I make a personal injury* claim for emotional distress ?
There are conditions which must be met before one can embark on a personal injuries* legal action where one sustains emotional distress.
For example, if the distress is due to a work situation, one should apply the facts to the following questions.
- Is the employees injury either physical in nature or a recognisable psychiatric illness diagnosed by a Psychiatrist ?;
- Was the personal injury* caused by the bullying in the workplace ? for example;
- Did the bullying occur in the workplace ?;
- Was the conduct of the employer unreasonable and without proper cause, which is judged objectively ?;
- Can the injured employee prove that the bullying behaviour caused the injury and was this reasonably foreseeable ?.
The foreseeability test is very important in these actions and the question of what the employer did know, or ought to have known will he investigated thoroughly.
Do I need a solicitor to bring a personal injury* claim ?
No you don’t. You can do it yourself. It is simply a decision you have to make based on if you perceive there is value in obtaining a solicitor or not. If you perceive there is no value in it, like in any service, you won’t want to obtain such a service.
You can obviously ask a solicitor what specifically their service involves and ascertain their experience for such cases, which may assist you making the decision.
Is there an impartial service or helpline for general advice ?
Not that we know of other than from solicitors who understand tort law.
Personal Injury Claims Process in Detail
Any type of accident can be covered by tort law, such as, if you have an accident in a car, or as a pedestrian or an accident at work.
As we all know, your health is your wealth. We can all take this for granted sometimes until we are unwell.
If you have been in an accident and are injured and someone else caused your accident, you should be compensated for the injury and the disturbance to your life. This disturbance could be loss of work, loss of a hobby or various other things. A real life example could be a chef who especially needs his hands for work and one day, while driving home, he is hit by another car and suffers an injury to his hand.
If you take proceedings against the party who has caused your injury and it goes to Court, the Judge hearing the case will consider the extent of the pain and discomfort caused to you by your injury and in addition will consider the impact of the accident on your work life, your social life, and personal life in making an assessment of damages.
Your Solicitor’s job is to ensure that the offending party is held legally responsible for causing the accident.
You won’t need a Solicitor if the offending party agrees to compensate you for causing the accident and liability is admitted and you are happy with the compensation offered. Now being Solicitors, we would advise you to seek advice from a Solicitor to ascertain if the offer of compensation is fair.
If on the other hand, the person who caused the injury does not agree to compensate you, you will need a Solicitor unless you decide to pursue the matter yourself.
Your case could be decided by the Personal Injuries* Assessment Board, which means you do not need to attend any court hearing of any sort, and the Injuries Board can direct the offending party to pay you a certain amount of compensation.
If the case is not dealt with by the Injuries Board, you will have to go to the District Court, Circuit Court or High Court to establish that the offending party is legally responsible for the accident and must pay the compensation.
If the offending party, once the Order has been granted decides not to pay, your Solicitor can help you with what is termed enforcing the Order, to ensure that you get the compensation.
If you have been injured in a car accident or injured at work or for example injured in a public place etc. and can initiate a civil remedy and seek damages. To start this you must submit an Application Form to the Injuries Board for assessment.
The Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act established the Personal Injuries Board as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism to a court.
If you have been injured and seek compensation for the pain, suffering and loss then certain procedures must be followed.
If you have been injured due to the negligence of another and wish to pursue an action to recover damages, you must begin this action within 2 years of the accident in question.
This is a strict legislative rule which has an exception for exceptional circumstances only.
Letter before Action
Under S.8 of the Civil Liability Act 2004 this is called a ‘Letter of Claim’. A person pursuing an action should serve notice in writing to the other person within 1 month of the date of the accident of their intention to pursue this course of action.
If its possible in the circumstances, do obtain the details of the other driver in relation to a car accident or a cycling accident and take note of the registration of the car.
Its more difficult for the Gardai to investigate an accident if they don’t have the necessary information particulars.
If the letter of claim is not sent to the offending party, a court can draw inferences from the injured party’s failure to do so.
Preservation of Evidence
Depending on the nature of the accident and the factual situation, an application can be make to Court to preserve necessary evidence in a situation where the other party will not undertake to preserve it. This is especially the case with CCTV as many holders of CCTV do not retain it for very long.
If the matter is not resolved at this stage and the alleged wrongdoer is on notice of it, then an application to the Injuries Board can be made by completing and submitting Form A with the application fee €45 or €90 and a medical report. The Injuries Board accept applications either online or via post.
The medical report will be completed by your doctor and will include information regarding accident details, injuries sustained, medical history, complaints, clinical findings and prognosis.
When you receive the medical report you should go through its content and make sure everything is accurate and your happy with it.
Insurance Company Correspondence
Its likely after the application to the Injuries Board is submitted, you will receive a holding letter from the Insurance Company explaining that liability is being investigated and asking a series of questions.
Various outcomes can happen in civil cases after initiation, such as, liability can be admitted, the Injuries Board Assessment can take place, or the matter can proceed to Court for a determination by a Judge.
Once the Injuries Board have received the application they will send the s.50 confirmation letter which is very important, as it acknowledges registration of the civil action.
Section 13 Notice
The Injuries Board will then send this notice of the application to the alleged wrongdoer and he/she has 90 days to consent/reject or do nothing. The Injuries Board will send a copy of the injured person’s application with this notice and or any other accompanying documents.
The Injuries Board will after this period begin their assessment, if the alleged wrongdoer does not reject this outright. In that case court proceedings can begin.
9 Month Period
The Injuries Board must make their assessment within 9 months of receiving the alleged wrongdoers consent to assessment. Once the assessment decision is made the alleged wrongdoer is given 21 days to accept the award or its considered accepted. The injured party is given 28 days and if no response is received, is deemed to accept the award.
Award of Pay
If the injured person and the other person ( respondent ) BOTH accept the award then the Injuries Board will make an Order to Pay. If one party does not accept the award in question for whatever reason, then a Court will have to hear the matter and resolve it.
More Frequently Asked Questions
If you have been injured as a result of the actions of someone else, you will have suffered what is termed a Tort, which is a civil wrong, which basically means you will have a right to seek a legal remedy for this wrong. Tort law is there to protect people from harm and injury and attach legal responsibility to anyone who causes the harm.
One must register their personal injury* claim within 2 years from the date of the accident with the Injuries Board, and serve whats termed the letter of claim on the party responsible for the accident within 1 month of the date of the accident.
Your solicitor is the person best qualified to answer this question. Every case is unique and if you give your solicitor all the details surrounding your situation they’ll be able to guide you.
Personal Injury* Claims Questions & Answers
If you have been injured in an accident due to the fault of another you will have a lot of questions.
These can vary from –
‘Am I eligible to make a claim or take a case’;
‘Is the other driver possibly negligent and is it easy or hard to prove’;
‘What is my personal injury case worth’;
‘What do I do if the other party has no insurance’;
‘Do I have a good case’
We will try to answer any questions you have and advise on the best course of action. Most importantly, if instructed we will act for you to seek the best possible outcome for you.
Kieran Cleary and Roger Cleary can help with any questions you have regarding negligence, liability and what can be done in offices in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary or Dublin 7. If instructed we will act in your best interests to secure whats agreed.
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