If you have been involved in an accident and suffered a personal injury in Ireland there is a set procedure for personal injury claims when the accident was caused by somebody else’s negligence. The accident could be on the road, a work-related incident, or in a public place such as a shop or restaurant. If somebody else has shown a lack of care, you are entitled to make a personal injury claim.
How to make a Personal Injury Claim in Ireland
A personal injury is where you have sustained some form of injury – either physical or psychological – as a direct result of someone else’s negligence or lack of care. The most common instances of personal injury in Ireland are road traffic accidents, accidents in the workplace and claims against a Local Authority’s public liability insurance when you may have fallen in the street or an owner’s insurance when you have slipped on some spilled liquid in a shop. However, compensation can also be sought in cases of product liability where an injury has been sustained due to faulty goods and in instances of medical negligence (although not through the Injuries Board Ireland for the latter).
The most important consideration after suffering a personal injury is to seek appropriate medical attention at the earliest possible opportunity. In the most serious cases, an ambulance should be called to the scene of your accident, and treatment administered on site before you are taken to hospital. In less severe circumstances, you should visit the Accident and Emergency Department of your local hospital, or make an urgent appointment to see your family doctor. No amount of compensation can ever make up for a long term health issue that could have been prevented with timely medical attention.
How do you Claim for Personal Injury in Ireland?
Ireland has a body known as the Injuries Board Ireland, specifically established to process the majority of applications for compensation. The twin purposes of this body are to cut the administration costs involved in settling compensation claims for personal injury in Ireland, and lessen the length of time a victim in an accident has to wait before receiving their compensation. It has achieved these two goals admirably – saving the Irish taxpayer tens of millions of euros each year, and reducing the timeline of a claim from 3½ years to less than seven months.
You can ask them to send you a claim form through the post or the claim can be completed online – except in cases involving person injuries to children or fatalities. Completing the personal injury claim form is best done with the assistance of a specialist personal injury claims solicitor. As well as being able to guide you through the terminology and documentation required to complete the claim form effectively, he will be able to advise you on how to claim for out of pocket expenses and any loss of earnings due to your personal injury.
Once completed, the form is sent to the Injuries Board for their assessment. The process will involve contacting the negligent party to ensure that they accept liability for your personal injuries, and an independent medical examination to confirm the extent of those injuries.
Ireland has a publication known as the “Book of Quantum” which lists different types of personal injuries and allocates a range of compensation awards based on their severity and the length of time it will take for you to recover from them.
It is from this “Book” that the Injuries Board Ireland will make their assessment of your compensation and add to it any amount of special damages that you have claimed for, with the help of your solicitor, in the application form. The assessment is sent to both parties to ensure that you as the claimant, and the negligent party (or their insurance company) as the defendant, agree on the amount of compensation: Then an “Order to Pay” is issued by the Injuries Board Ireland in order that you receive your compensation.
Do Claims for Personal Injury in Ireland go Wrong?
Claims for personal injury in Ireland sometimes have to overcome obstacles, rather than “go wrong”. Should the negligent party deny that he is liable for your personal injuries, or claim that you contributed to your injuries through your own lack of care, then the Injuries Board Ireland will issue you with an authorisation to go to court. The same will apply if either of the parties disagree with the Injuries Board Ireland assessment of your compensation. The courts frown on cases where just the amount of money to be awarded is in dispute and often this is resolved by negotiation between your solicitor and the insurance company’s solicitor before being going that far.
The only real problem you may encounter is if you leave it too long before claiming compensation for your personal injuries. Ireland has a “Statute of Limitations” which states that compensation claims for personal injuries must be made within two years of the “date of knowledge” that you were injured. The date of knowledge is important because your personal injuries may not have occurred due to an accident on a specific date, but may have been acquired over a period of time – work-related injuries such as mesothelioma and permanent threshold hearing loss would come under this category.
What about Children and Personal Injury in Ireland?
Children have two years from when they come of age in which to make a personal injury claim for compensation. Claims for compensation can still be made while they are minors, but the child has to be represented by a parent or guardian acting as their “next friend”. With the exception of the online application to the Injuries Board Ireland, the process for claiming is just the same as when an adult sustains a personal injury. Ireland, however, insists that all awards of compensation for children go before a court to be approved before payment is made.
Because of the procedures involved and the potential for obstacles, over 90% of people who have sustained a personal injury in Ireland choose to use the services of a specialist personal injury claims solicitor. Solicitors are useful allies to have – particularly in the most serious cases, where an incorrectly completed application form to the Injuries Board Ireland could leave you severely under compensated, or an approach is made to you by an insurance company with an inadequate offer of compensation in return for early settlement.
If you would like to find out more about how using a specialist personal injury claims solicitor can help when you have suffered a personal injury in Ireland please do not hesitate to call our free advice service on 1-800 989 999. This service will enable you to speak directly with an experienced personal injury claims solicitor, discuss the circumstances around your personal injury and determine if you have a claim for personal injury compensation which it is worth your while to pursue. The solicitor will be able to offer you practical and helpful advice, in complete confidentiality, and with no pressure on you to proceed with a claim once you have spoken with us.
Our helpline is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and if it is not a convenient time to speak with us right now, please leave your contact details in our call-back form below – indicating when would be a suitable time to call – and one of our helpful team will be back in touch.
If you are visiting from the UK, you might find UK Claims Solicitors useful.