We are experienced personal injuries solicitors with a history of dealing with each type of case that can arise from injury since we were established in the 1960s.
Some of our first clients over 50 years ago came to us because they were injured in road traffic collisions or in public places. We have significant experience in acting for individuals who have suffered injuries from road traffic or workplace accidents, defective products, accidents in public places or medical negligence. We represent clients and advance their claims through the Injuries Board and the Irish courts, at all levels, including appeals.
We know the impact injuries have on people following a road traffic collision or other accident. Our experience and our approach to representing clients provides the appropriate guidance, reassurance and assistance in obtaining the best possible outcome.
Claim assessment by the Injuries Board
The Injuries Board is a Government agency operating outside of the court system. It deals with all personal injury claims except medical negligence cases, psychiatric injuries or, sometimes, complex cases.
- When an injury is suffered, a claim for compensation must be made within two years. The claim must initially made to the Injuries Board, and the law provides deadlines for action so it is crucial to take steps as soon as possible. Your rights may be affected if you delay and do not notify the person who is responsible straight away. If you have suffered injuries or loss that are the basis for a claim for damages you should consult a solicitor immediately for advice.
When dealing with a claim for compensation, the Injuries Board assesses cases on a ‘no fault’ basis by looking at medical reports and evidence of specific costs. However, many claims do proceed to court, for example if either side does not want the Injuries Board to assess the claim or is unhappy with the value of compensation calculated.
Like a court, the Injuries Board calculates what compensation it thinks should be paid. It does this under two categories of “damages” (ie. compensation). The first category is called general damages and covers the pain, suffering and inconvenience suffered as a result of an injury. It is based on medical reports seen by the Injuries Board.
The second category is called special damages and covers specific expenses, like medical bills and loss of wages. If you are involved in an accident it is important to have records of all losses and costs suffered, for example by keeping receipts and invoices. When making an assessment of damages (ie. the compensation that should be paid), the Injuries Board will only order that your costs be reimbursed if you can prove you had to pay them.
When the Injuries Board reaches a decision on compensation it sends both sides an “assessment”. If both sides accept the assessment it has the same effect as a court order. If either party does not, the claim can proceed to court.
The role of your solicitor
The crucial deadlines imposed by law and the possibility of a case proceeding to court make early legal advice and representation important.
For example, a court case can involve a lot more evidence relating to an accident than the Injuries Board requires, so it is important to have comprehensive advice from the outset.
Expert advice is crucial in ensuring that a claim is properly formulated from the outset if there are any unusual or complicating factors, for example where the person who caused the injury does not have insurance or cannot be found (hit and run cases), or where the injured party is under 18.
If the person responsible for an accident is a company or organisation, for example, it is important to be sure that the right organisation is named in the claim. This is a common problem where injuries are suffered in public places like shops and it can be difficult to identify who the claim should be made against.
The Injuries Board handles around 10,000 claims every year and 75% of those arise out of car accidents. In all of those cases, an insurance company will engage claims handlers and experts with expertise in dealing with personal injuries claims. Anyone who is injured in an accident should ensure that their rights and interests are equally protected by a trained and experienced professional.
It is important to take specific legal advice in relation to any claim or query you have.
* In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This article is primarily intended to give information on the law of a general nature and individual advice should always be sought.