Introduction to High Court Personal Injury Claims
When discussing high court personal injury claims it is important to realise that the process of taking a claim all the way to the high court is likely to be long and arduous. However, it should be noted that 80 per cent of personal injury cases do not go to court as they are successfully settled before there is any need. This result usually comes because a certain amount of money offered by the defendant (the negligent party involved) to settle the case out of court is accepted by the plaintiff (the injured party).
Injury compensation claims that are brought to the high court are usually the most complex cases, cases where an agreement on liability cannot be decided and when an appropriate compensation settlement cannot be easily resolved. In some cases, high court action is the rational next step when both parties are somewhat responsible for injuries sustained in an accident.
All personal injury claims in Ireland (excluding medical negligence claims) are required to be submitted for an assessment by the Injuries Board Ireland before anything else can be done. Every effort is made in the majority of compensation claims to reach a settlement figure that both parties accept and while this process may be lengthy, a satisfactory resolution can usually be arrived at without the need of taking the case to the high court.
Criteria for High Court Personal Injury Claims
High court personal injury claims may be pursued for a number of reasons. For example, medical negligence claims are often taken to the high court, especially when there is uncertainty over liability for death or serious injury. Medical negligence claims can sometimes be hard to prove, for example, in cases where an inherent risk was involved in the operation that was performed or in cases of difficult births when injury may have been deemed inevitable by the attending obstetrician.
Compensation for industrial-disease claims may be brought to the high court for cases such as when an employee has developed a serious injury at work that has taken many years to develop. Prime examples would be asbestos related diseases and a major issue in these cases is the question of liability.
Seemingly straightforward road traffic accidents where a party has, in fact, been accepted as being fully liable may be escalated to the high court if compensation for the plaintiff cannot be agreed on – particularly when the negligent driver has already received penalty points and a fine for their reckless driving. In cases involving uninsured drivers, high court injury compensation claims may be the only option to ensure money is awarded to finance medical bills and expenses.
Common Concerns over High Court Claims
The threat of a long, drawn out battle is usually enough to encourage claims to be settled out of court rather than pursue high court personal injury claims, especially as elevating a claim to the highest judicial level does not guarantee a successful trial, and so brings the risk of considerable costs.
An injury compensation claim is also quite likely to be a protracted process and the length of time it takes to resolve a case may place serious financial strain on the plaintiff in cases where there is a rapidly increasing medical bill.
However, in cases where negligence has been admitted by the negligent party and the only issue lies with agreeing on the final settlement amount, there is the possibility of the plaintiff receiving an interim payment in the intervening period. Even where negligence has not been determined, interim payments may be applicable if the case is particularly strong.
The Benefits of a Specialist Solicitor
It is of utmost important to choose a highly experienced solicitor in high court personal injury claims in extremely complex cases, cases where liability is denied or where settlements cannot be agreed on. Entering a legal battle for industrial disease claims or aggressive clinical negligence claims will almost always call for specialist legal advice.
It must be repeated that compensation cases heard in the high court may not always rule in favour of the plaintiff; therefore, it is imperative that the plaintiff selects the best possible legal representative to increase the chances of a successful claim.
In cases of professional, medical or legal negligence, a high court compensation solicitor will be needed to prove an opinion that “on the balance of all probability” a professional failed in their legal duty of care and that their behaviour resulted in an injury or loss.
If you have sustained injuries in an accident for which you were not to blame and believe that you may have a viable personal injury compensation claim, it would be in your best interests to discuss the issues outlined above with a solicitor who would be able to assess the circumstances of your claim and determine if it may potentially require high court action.