Personal Injury Claims
Initiating personal injury claims in Ireland can be difficult even when you have your full health and are aware of the procedures involved to successfully claim personal injury compensation for an accident in Ireland. At a time when you may still be in a considerable amount of pain, and the thought of making a compensation claim fills you with apprehension, it is understandable that as a potential plaintiff you might relinquish your right to compensation because it all seems too complicated in the circumstances.
For many people however, giving up their legal right to claim for an injury in Ireland is not an option if their injury prevents them from working and supporting their family or paying for the medical treatment they need in order to resume their regular lifestyle. Through the personal injury claims process, a plaintiff can recover compensation for an accident in Ireland – most often against the insurance policy of the negligent party liable for the accident.
Although Irish injury compensation can be pursued by the claimant acting alone, you are strongly advised to seek compensation with the assistance of a personal injury solicitor; as not only will their experience and expertise be invaluable when pursuing compensation for an accident claim in Ireland, but a solicitor will be able to advise you on potential pitfalls which may arise while making personal injury claims.
This article will provide guidance on seeking compensation for an injury in Ireland – however it should be noted that each accident and injury claim is unique, and to establish whether you should pursue a personal injury claim following an accident for which you were not to blame you are advised to consult a personal injury solicitor at the earliest opportunity.
Steps to Take Before Making an Accident Claim in Ireland
Before pursuing personal injury claims in Ireland, it is crucial that you first seek immediate medical attention for your injuries from the accident and emergency department of your nearest hospital or from your family GP. This should be done not only for the sake of your health, but also to ensure that your compensation for an injury in Ireland is not affected by allegations of Contributory Negligence. This could be the situation if it is considered that your injuries – due to a lack of professional medical attention – had deteriorated, which could in turn result in a reduction in the amount of compensation for an accident in Ireland to reflect your own carelessness.
Receiving medical attention is also necessary to support your claim for an injury in Ireland, as a Medical Assessment Form B completed by your doctor will have to accompany your application for assessment to the Injuries Board. There is also the fact that, regardless of the amount of Irish injury compensation to which you may be entitled, this will never truly compensate for any long-term injuries which you may develop which could have been averted by timely medical intervention. If you have not already sought medical attention for your injury, you are advised to do so without further delay in order to enable your accident claim in Ireland.
Applying to the Injuries Board for the Assessment of an Accident Claim in Ireland
After medical attention has been sought for your injuries, the procedure for personal injury claims in Ireland can begin. The first stage is to complete the Injuries Board application for assessment of compensation for an accident in Ireland, which can be done either online or by sending the Injuries Board Form A through the post. This form should have attached Form B – the medical assessment of your injuries from your doctor – and receipts for any expenses which you wish to recover as part of your claim for an injury in Ireland.
When this has been submitted, the Injuries Board will contact the party who you hold responsible for your injuries – the “Respondent” – seeking their consent to assess how much compensation for an injury in Ireland you are entitled to. Ninety days are provided to the Respondent in which to grant permission for the assessment to continue, and if they fail to provide this consent it will be assumed that they have provided consent by default. If the Respondent withholds their consent for an assessment, you will be provided with an “Authorisation” by the Injuries Board to pursue your accident claim in Ireland though the courts, and the Injuries Board will no longer be involved with your claim.
If the Respondent agrees to the assessment of your Irish injury compensation claim, you may be asked to undertake another medical examination within four weeks to determine the progress – or lack thereof – you have made in your recovery; which could have an effect on the amount of compensation to which you may be entitled. The assessment carried out by the Injuries Board takes – on average – seven to nine months, after which you and the respondent are given a “Notice of Assessment” advising both parties how much compensation for an injury in Ireland the Injuries Board calculates you should receive, and provided this is accepted by both parties within 28 days, a “Notice of Pay” is then issued. In the event that either party fails to accept the assessment within 28 days, an “Authorisation” will be provided in order to pursue your personal injury claims in Ireland through the court system.
It should be noted by a potential claimants that certain types of accident claim in Ireland cannot be assessed by the Injuries Board – for instance, medical negligence claims. The following is a list of scenarios in which an assessment would normally be conducted by the Injuries Board:
- Compensation claims for injuries sustained in a traffic accident
- Claims for compensation for an injury in the workplace
- Injury compensation claims for a trip and fall in the street
- Claims for injury compensation for a slip and fall in a shop
- Compensation claims for being injured in a bus accident
- Claims for being injured when a passenger in a car crash
- Compensation claims for injuries caused by a medical device
- Injury compensation claims for accidents on a farm
- Food poisoning claims for compensation against a restaurant
- Compensation claims for an accident on holiday in Ireland
To establish whether or not your claim is eligible to be assessed by the Injuries Board, or if an alternative method of pursuing a claim for compensation for an accident in Ireland is more suited for your needs, you are advised to consult a personal injury solicitor at the earliest opportunity.
Medical Negligence Claims in Ireland
As mentioned above, medical negligence claims in Ireland are among the accident and injury scenarios which are not assessed by the Injuries Board. This is because no matter how obvious it may be that you have suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to the negligence of a medical professional, it has to be proven that the injury you sustained was avoidable “in the circumstances and at the time”, and the only way to demonstrate this is by having a competent medical expert review your case.
It may sometimes be the case that the injury you sustained could not have been avoided, or by causing an injury to you, the medical professional whose care you were in prevented a worse injury from occurring. There are also circumstances in which it is not in dispute that medical negligence has occurred but, if you have suffered no ill-effect, you will not be able to claim medical negligence compensation. An example of this being when a swab has been left inside of you after an operation, but you have suffered no adverse effects as a result.
Medical negligence claims are among the most complex personal injury claims in Ireland, and it is in your best interests to engage a solicitor with experience of managing claims for medical negligence compensation to guide you through scenarios such as:
- Claiming compensation for injuries to your child at birth
- Making compensation claims for nursing medical negligence
- Claiming compensation for the misdiagnosis of an illness
- Making a claim because a doctor failed to act on test results
- Claiming compensation against a negligent dentist
- Making a claim for an injury caused by a cosmetic surgeon
- Claiming compensation for failing to inform you of medical risks
- Making a claim for an adverse reaction to medication
- Claiming compensation for surgical anaesthetic awareness
- Making a compensation claim for surgical errors in a hospital
The Statute of Limitations for Irish Injury Compensation
When making personal injury claims in Ireland, it should be well noted by potential plaintiffs that a time limit exists in which to make a claim, as per the Statute of Limitations. In many cases you will be provided with two years to seek Irish injury compensation from the “date of knowledge” of your injury, which is generally the date upon which your injury was diagnosed and is often the same day on which you were injured. However exceptions apply to this, such as that relating to injuries which were gradually sustained over time. In this situation, it is difficult to place an initial date upon which your injury was sustained and for this reason the Statute of Limitations for your accident claim in Ireland will begin upon the date on which you were initially diagnosed with your illness.
Certain other exceptions exist when determining the Statute of Limitations for compensation for an injury in Ireland. Children are legally unable to initiate a claim for an injury in Ireland and must wait until they reach the age of eighteen – at which point the Statute of Limitations will come into effect – meaning the claimant will have until their twentieth birthday to make a claim. However a claim can be made by a parent or guardian as a “next friend” on behalf of the child at any point between the accident and the child’s eighteenth birthday (which will be discussed in further detail later). Other exceptions regarding the Statute of Limitations for compensation for an accident in Ireland include misdiagnosis cases – where the time limit begins upon the date of the correct diagnosis –and claims involving those who have suffered mental incapacitation.
Compensation for an Accident in Ireland for Children
As previously mentioned, personal injury claims in Ireland can be initiated on behalf of children at any stage between their accident and their eighteenth birthday, after which two years are provided for the victim to make their own claim. However it is recommended that a claim for an injury in Ireland on behalf of a child is initiated sooner rather than later as, not only may the compensation be required for your child’s treatment and recovery, but as evidence fades over time and memories of witnesses become less reliable, a claim may be stronger if made earlier.
A “next friend” can make a claim to compensation for an injury in Ireland on behalf of a child, but must receive approval from the District Court before they can represent the child. The “next friend” must also be prepared to accept any financial liability which may arise as a result of an unsuccessful claim for Irish injury compensation. Upon a successful accident claim in Ireland for a child, the compensation which has been awarded must first be approved by the court, before the sum is paid into court funds – where it will remain until the child reaches the age of eighteen.
It should be noted that an application for assessment to the Injuries Board must be made through the post, as an online application made on behalf of a child will be rejected.
How Contributory Negligence Affects Compensation for an Injury in Ireland
Personal injury claims in Ireland can be adversely affected if contributory negligence has been a factor in your accident or injury. This may be the situation if it is believed that your own careless actions are considered to have been a factor in causing the accident in which you sustained your injuries or if your lack of care contributed to the severity of your injuries, which could in turn affect your claim for an injury in Ireland. For instance, if considered that by neglecting to pursue immediate medical attention for your injuries you made your injuries worse, your compensation for an injury in Ireland can be reduced accordingly.
Claiming Irish injury compensation for your injuries is still possible if contributory negligence is a factor – however the compensation you can claim may be reduced because of your own carelessness. The percentage liability you are considered to share in your accident claim in Ireland will indicate the amount by which your compensation can be reduced – for instance, a person who shares 20% liability may only be entitled to 80% of compensation – and if you share a great deal of liability for your injury your claim may not be worth pursuing. If you believe contributory negligence may affect your compensation for an accident in Ireland, you are advised to consult a personal injury solicitor at the earliest opportunity.
How Much Compensation you can Claim for an Injury in Ireland
Various factors will determine the amount of compensation to which you may be entitled for personal injury claims in Ireland. This amount will begin with general damages for the injuries you have sustained and will be calculated from the Book of Quantum – a publication which lists a number of injuries that might be sustained in an accident and assigns them a financial value. This can include compensation for the severity of your injury and whether it is permanent, which will then be altered to consider your age, gender and general state of health prior to your accident. Psychological trauma will also be taken into account in your claim for compensation for an injury in Ireland, provided that your emotional trauma has been professionally diagnosed.
Special damages in Irish injury compensation claims will allow you to recover any quantifiable expenses you have incurred due to your injury, along with income you have lost as a result of being unable to work. Loss of amenity can be included in your accident claim in Ireland for any non-financial deterioration you have suffered in your normal lifestyle as a result of your injuries, which could include being unable to perform everyday tasks because of your injuries – such as being unable to collect your children from school – or the inability to enjoy social or leisure activities which would have formed part of your regular schedule – such as sports or pastimes you can no longer partake in. The amount of compensation for an accident in Ireland to which you may be entitled can differ greatly depending on your accident, injury and your personal circumstances.
Unsolicited Offers of Compensation for Personal Injury Claims in Ireland
Making personal injury claims in Ireland can be greatly impacted by unsolicited offers of compensation which could be made to you by the insurance company of the negligent party liable for your injury. Such offers may be highly tempting, as not only may you require the money for your treatment and recovery, but the prospect of quickly settling your claim for an injury in Ireland may be appealing. However the amount of compensation for an injury in Ireland which is offered in such circumstances rarely reflects the true value of your claim, and for this reason you are advised not to accept any such offer until a personal injury solicitor has been consulted.
These unsolicited offers of Irish injury compensation are often made by the insurance company with the sole intention of saving on money, meaning you could be under-compensated for your injuries. This means if you settle your accident claim in Ireland for less than it is worth – and it later transpires you do not have enough to provide for your family or pay your medical costs – you will be unable to return to the insurance company and seek more compensation. If you are directly contacted by the insurance company with such an offer, you should first contact a personal injury solicitor who not only can advise you on whether or not the offer is fair, but can also negotiate the correct amount of compensation for an accident in Ireland to which you are entitled.
Making a Claim for an Injury in Ireland: Conclusion
Sustaining an injury for which you are not to blame can be debilitating both physically and emotionally, and the prospect of seeking compensation for an accident in Ireland while you are already in recovery can be intimidating for many. For this reason, you are advised to contact a personal injury solicitor if you believe you have a valid accident claim in Ireland. The expertise and experience of a solicitor may be of invaluable assistance when making an Irish injury compensation claim, and will also ensure that the process will run as smoothly as possible.
No two claims for compensation for an injury in Ireland are exactly alike, and complications can arise when pursuing a claim for your injury. It must also be considered that the success of personal injury claims in Ireland could be determined by the strength of the evidence which has been gathered to support it if court action is required. Furthermore, as a two-year time limit exists in which to initiate personal injury claims in Ireland, you are advised not to delay seeking legal advice following an accident for which you were not entirely to blame.