Personal Injury Compensation Solicitor in Ireland
When you make a claim for personal injury compensation in Ireland, there are certain criteria that you have to fulfill and distinct procedures that you must follow. The procedures and required paperwork can seem complicated; perhaps even a little intimidating to someone with no experience of them.
It is imperative for you to talk to a specialist personal injury solicitor whenever you have sustained a personal injury in an accident that was not your fault. They will take you through the process, the procedures and the criteria a step at a time, taking the additional stress away and supporting you from start to finish.
The information below is a guideline to claiming injury compensation in Ireland, but remember that no two injury compensation claims are identical. The amount of personal injury compensation you receive may be heavily influenced by your own personal circumstances: a solicitor will be able to advise you on how to integrate your own particular needs into a claim for injury compensation in Ireland.
Your Health Comes Before Injury Compensation in Ireland
Whatever the circumstances of your personal injury, you should seek medical advice whenever you are involved in an accident or start to develop signs of an illness. With the most serious accidents, treatment might be given onsite by a paramedic team before they take you to hospital: you should treat any other ailment with the same urgency. No amount of personal injury compensation can ever make up for a permanent health issue which could have been avoided if you had visited the hospital or doctor’s surgery as soon as you felt something was wrong.
Your doctor will diagnose your injury and confirm that it has been caused by your involvement in an accident, or developed by an action you perform or illness you have acquired in your employment. He will then prepare a report, which you can use to support your claim for personal injury compensation, and prescribe a course of treatment to aid your recovery.
Establishing Liability for Injury Compensation in Ireland
To claim injury compensation in Ireland there has to be a person or party who was negligent or failed in their duty of care. This could be a car driver who did not pay attention at a road junction, an employer who has failed to provide training on how to use a potentially dangerous piece of equipment or a restaurant proprietor who has known about the leak from his ice-making machine for some time, but had not attended to the necessary maintenance before you slipped in his premises.
Even though the car driver, employer or restaurateur may be horrified that their negligence has caused your injuries, they may not be prepared to admit their liability. It is always a good idea if you can get the contact details of people who may have seen your accident – they could provide vital supporting statements if you make a claim for injury compensation. In these days of modern technology, many road traffic accidents will be recorded on roadside cameras, or one of your witnesses may have taken a photograph of the event. Anything that proves liability for your personal injury will assist your claim for injury compensation in Ireland.
How to Claim Injury Compensation in Ireland
The procedure for claiming personal injury compensation in Ireland is, to a professional used to dealing with these matters, straightforward, although much of the paperwork is not. Once any risk to your health has been addressed and you have established who is liable for your injuries, you apply to the Injuries Board Ireland for them to assess your claim for injury compensation. You accompany your application with your medical notes, any accident report that has been made by the Gardai or other party (employer/restaurant proprietor etc) and any receipts for expenses you have incurred due to your injury.
The Injuries Board Ireland will arrange for you to have an independent medical examination to confirm the extent of your injuries and determine the likely length of recovery. Then they make an assessment of your injury compensation claim based on the Book of Quantum. Once their assessment has been finalised, they will advise you and the negligent party. Should you both agree on the amount of the assessment, an order to pay is sent to the negligent party’s insurance company and your claim for injury compensation in Ireland is settled.
Special Damages and Injury Compensation in Ireland
Special damages are effectively expense claims for costs you have incurred due to the personal injuries you have suffered. Everybody’s circumstances are different and some people may need to claim for child care while they were recovering from their injuries and/or they may have suffered a loss of earnings. Special damages can be paid for psychological trauma sustained in an accident as well as physical injuries. In the event of a fatality, funeral costs can be incorporated into a claim for injury compensation in Ireland.
It is important that the application form to the Injuries Board Ireland contains details of all the special damages you wish to claim. As there is little information available on the application form on how to include special damages in your claim for personal injury compensation, this area of your application is best completed with the help of a personal injury claims solicitor. To attempt it without help could leave you seriously undercompensated.
Contributory Negligence and Injury Compensation in Ireland
One of the issues that will affect your claim for injury compensation in Ireland is when the negligent driver, employer or restaurateur (or any other negligent party) claims you contributed to your injuries by your own negligence. Perhaps you were driving without a seatbelt, failed to attend a training class or were in an area of the restaurant which the public would not normally access. Claims such as these can be proved or disproved by the witnesses who were present at the time of your accident.
If contributory negligence is alleged, the Injuries Board Ireland will decline to make an assessment of your application for personal injury compensation and issue you with an authorisation to pursue your claim through the court system.
The Courts and Injury Compensation in Ireland
As well as authorising you to pursue your claim for personal injury compensation through the court system because of contributory negligence, the Injuries Board Ireland will also issue an authorisation should the negligent party deny responsibility for your injury, or if either of the two parties fail to accept the Board’s assessment for the amount of injury compensation to be paid.
You will also have to resolve your claim for injury compensation in Ireland through the courts in the event that your personal injury has been caused by medical negligence. Cases involving medical negligence are settled by medical opinion rather than physical fact. So the Injuries Board Ireland will decline to assess any application for injury compensation in Ireland where medical negligence is involved.
The court system in Ireland is divided into three tiers:
- District Courts
can award injury compensation in Ireland for amounts up to €6.348.69.
- Circuit Courts
awards personal injury compensation up to €38.092.14
- The High Court
if an anticipated award is above the ceiling for the Circuit Court
You will need a solicitor to represent you in any claim for Injury Compensation in Ireland which has to be litigated in the courts, and he will advise you on the procedures involved in such an event.
The Statute of Limitations and Injury Compensation in Ireland
One further issue that could affect your entitlement to claim injury compensation in Ireland is the Statute of Limitations. This law governs how long from the “date of knowledge” of your personal injury you have to make a claim for personal injury compensation.
The “date of knowledge” is the date on which you sustained an injury, such as in a road traffic accident, or the date when you were diagnosed with a work related injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome, which takes many years to develop.
Currently the Statute of Limitations allows two years from the date on which you know you are injured to make a claim for Injury Compensation in Ireland. Although this may seem like a long time limit, when evidence has to be collated, witnesses interviewed or the opinion of medical experts sought, the time can evaporate very quickly. Once any long term threat to your health has been eliminated, it is in your best interests to contact a solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity.
Children and Injury Compensation in Ireland
Children who are injured in an accident for which they are not to blame are not governed by the Statute of Limitations until they have reached their eighteenth birthday and become adults in the eyes of the law. A parent or guardian can claim personal injury compensation in Ireland on behalf of their child, acting as their “next friend”. However, any settlement of injury compensation for a child has to be approved by the court before an award of compensation can be paid.
Third Party Capture and Injury Compensation in Ireland
Settlement of injury compensation in Ireland is currently fairly equally divided between claims which are dealt with by the Injuries Board Ireland, those which go through the court process and those which are settled by negotiation with the negligent party’s insurance company.
You may be approached by the insurance company very soon after your accident with an early offer of settlement for your personal injury compensation claim. These offers rarely correspond to the amount of personal injury compensation that you would receive if you followed either of the other two processes.
Although an instant and often substantial sum of money may be welcome at a time when you are concerned about your financial security, third party capture (as this act is known) is generally aimed at limiting the insurance company’s loss rather than giving an adequate amount to an injured individual. If you are approached in this manner, you should speak to your solicitor who will negotiate a much fairer settlement of injury compensation on your behalf.
Solicitors and Injury Compensation in Ireland
As mentioned at the very top of the page, if you have been involved in an accident which was not your fault and sustained a personal injury through somebody else’s negligence, you should take advice from a solicitor immediately once any health issues are taken care of.
Something as important as receiving an adequate settlement of personal injury compensation should not be left to chance. An experienced personal injury solicitor will be able to present the strongest possible case to support your claim for injury compensation in Ireland efficiently and as quickly as possible.