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’’.
Duty of Care
A duty of care is imposed on another in a number of ways. An example is where a factory has a duty to ensure that the work environment is safe for employees. An employer must ensure, as much as is reasonably practicable, that employees are safe at work and that all due care is exercised, such as implementing any necessary preventative or protective measures to avoid injury.
Personal Injury Assessment Board
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.
Notification of claim to the wrongdoer or the alleged wrongdoer
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.
Time Limits – Personal Injury* Claims
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.
The applicant (injured party) has 28 days to accept or reject the Injuries Board award, and if you don’t reply in this time, it is assumed that you rejected the award. The defendant, on the other hand, has 21 days to accept or reject the award, after which if they don’t reply they are deemed to have accepted.
In circumstances where a minor has been injured, legal proceedings will be instituted by the adult representing the child. This adult would be the parent or guardian of the child and is referred to as a “next friend”.
A fatal injury* claim is taken when a person dies as a result of another’s wrongful act. The loss of life can never be compensated but the financial burden that the plaintiff bears because of the death can be alleviated with this type of legal action. Legal action is sought on behalf of the deceased’s dependants. Whoever represents the deceased’s estate can act as the Plaintiff.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
What happens in a personal injury* claim ?
An application is made the the Personal Injuries Assessment Board and detail of how this works can be found here.
Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute.
Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.
Personal Injuries * In contentious business, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.