How The Injury Compensation Process Works in Ireland

Your Motivations for Making a Claim

It is regretful that, in recent years, the perception of a person’s right to personal injury compensation in Ireland has been tarnished by the media, high profile politicians and certain public figures. They would claim that citizens have developed a philosophy which states it is acceptable to claim injury compensation in Ireland for any minor personal violation, whereas the opposite is in fact true.

The most common reason for an injury compensation claim is injury due to a road traffic accident. Primarily this is due to the fact that Ireland has a high percentage of car owners and a poor rural public transport system. However, even though the number of car registrations in Ireland has grown by 53% since 1999, the number of serious accidents on the roads has declined by more than 60%.

Figures produced by the Gardai for the 2009 Road Safety Authority’s Annual Report indicate that 26,945 collisions were reported during the year. In comparison the Injuries Board’s Annual Report for the same year shows that fewer than 6,600 claims were made for motor liability – less than 25%. A similar picture exists in statistics for employer liability (accidents at work) and public liability (injury in public places).

The only area of injury compensation in Ireland in which trends cannot be quantified is professional negligence. This is due to changes in the public body responsible for paying injury compensation for medical negligence claims against the State, and also by reason that many victims of medical negligence are choosing to wait before claiming their entitlement to injury compensation.

We respect every individual’s right to make a claim for personal injury compensation, irrespective of the circumstances behind the injury or loss and the level of negligence attributable to the liable party. Every case is assessed on its merits and will always apply the highest standards of professionalism and courtesy whenever assisting a client.

The General Injury Compensation Process

With the exception of personal injury claims for professional negligence, claims for injury compensation in Ireland are initially submitted to the Injuries Board for assessment. Once received, the Injuries Board will acknowledge the application, formally notify the party responsible and allow them a period of 90 days within which to confirm if they wish to allow the Injuries Board to assess damages.

Where the party responsible declines to allow the Injuries Board to assess damages then the Board will issue an authorisation to allow the Injured Party to proceed to Court to obtain compensation. Where the party responsible allows the Injuries Board to assess damages then the Board is required by Law to make an assessment within a further period of nine months. The Board can, but only for good reason, extend the time within which it must make an assessment and the Injured party must be notified in advance of the extension.

Thereafter, they issue the claimant and the liable party with a “Notice of Assessment” which indicates how much injury compensation they believe is appropriate in the circumstances and, provided both parties agree on the Injuries Board’s assessment, payment of the injury compensation is made. The process currently takes approximately twelve months and the application fee charged by the Injuries Board is €45.00.

Where an Claim Can Get Complicated

Frequently, the process for claiming injury compensation in Ireland is not so straightforward. When the injuries are wholly psychological the Board may decline to assess damages. Where a second accident or another injury might be relevant to the assessment of damages the Board will generally decline to assess damages. The Board does not have any regard to who is responsible for an accident and will not arbitrate where there is a dispute. If either party declines the Boards assessment of damages then it will automatically issue an “Authorisation” for the disagreement to be resolved in court. All the while the application for injury compensation is being processed, there is the potential for the negligent party’s insurance company to approach the accident victim with their own offer of injury compensation.

Further procedural obstacles may arise when the claimant is a child, if the claimant has allowed a long period of time to lapse between the “date of knowledge” of an injury and making an injury compensation claim, and in all claims for injury compensation where an expert opinion is required to determine that professional negligence has indeed taken place. At a time when you may be physically and emotionally drained, it is always in your best interests to have an experienced legal professional deal with these issues on your behalf.