The Main Factors in Settlements in Ireland
There are number of factors that influence personal injury awards/settlements in Ireland, and one of the major advantages of using the services of a personal injury law firm is that we take responsibility to ensure that you receive the maximum personal injury settlement you are entitled to. Elements that should be considered when calculating personal injury compensation include:
- The Book of Quantum – This publication was originally produced to coincide with the formation of the Personal Injury Assessment Board (PIAB – now the Injuries Board). It lists a number of the most frequent physical injuries sustained in accidents and allocates them a financial value, depending on the severity of the injury and the length of time it may take to heal. While the Book of Quantum is a useful guide to compensation it would not be prudent to regard it as being a definitive.
- Age and Gender – Inasmuch as the Book of Quantum provides a valuable guide for estimating personal injury settlements, it makes no consideration for age or gender. If, for example, a young person was to lose the use of their legs, it would be of far greater consequence than if the same injury occurred to an elderly person. Similarly, there a disparity between personal injury settlements made to males and females when an injury is likely to leave a permanent scar.
- Psychological Injury – People who sustain a physical injury in an accident can also be susceptible to emotional trauma. Whereas this usually manifests as anxiety and depression during the recovery period, it can also become apparent once the physical evidence of an injury has gone – for example, a motorcycle messenger who has lost the confidence to ride his bike after a road traffic accident, or a construction worker who develops a fear of heights following a fall.
- Family Circumstances – The burden of care that is placed on a single mother with young children is far greater than that of single man living with his able-bodied parents. Personal injury settlements need to reflect any additional costs for people who need secondary care solutions – even if it is just the cost of transporting the children to and from school in a taxi because the mother is temporarily unable to drive.
- Loss of Amenity – Claiming for loss of amenity in personal injury settlements is especially important as it covers the elements of your life outside of work which you can no longer enjoy. Effectively, compensation for loss of amenity is recompense for the deterioration in your quality of life due to somebody else’s negligence and can cover such elements of life as hobbies, sports activities, gardening or even enjoying a drink with friends at your local bar.
- Special Damages – Special damages are a straightforward factor in personal injury settlements despite their name (“special”). Special damages cover any financial costs of seeking medical attention, paying for treatment, rehabilitation expenses and any loss of earnings you may incur due to your injuries. They can range in scale from the cost of a few bus trips to the hospital to the complete redesign of your house in the event of catastrophic injuries where the victim is now wheelchair bound.
Admittedly, there is a great deal to consider when compiling a personal injury claim and, at a time when you may be feeling fragile after a physical or emotional trauma, it is in your best interests to speak with a personal injury solicitor in order for any personal injury settlements to be complete and adequate for your needs.
The Statute of Limitations and Personal Injury Settlements
One further factor which affects your entitlement to make a personal injury claim is the Statute of Limitations. This Statute limits the amount of time you have after the “date of knowledge” of an injury (i.e. the date on which you were diagnosed with an injury) in which to make a personal injury claim. Currently, this limit is two years for adults and two years from a child’s eighteenth birthday for minors.
Children can make a personal injury claim at any time prior to their eighteenth birthday but have to be represented by a parent or guardian acting as their “next friend”, and any personal injury settlements for children have to be approved by a court (and are often held in court) prior to payment of compensation being made.
Free Legal Advice About Settlements
One area of personal injuries in practice which is not mentioned above is “third party capture”. This is the act of an insurance company making a direct approach to you immediately after you have been injured in an accident with an offer of early settlement. An insurance company’s idea of personal injury settlements can vary wildly from those of solicitors (just think of who is representing their own self-interest and who is representing yours). For your own protection, you should speak with a solicitor as soon as possible after you have been injured in an accident for which someone else was to blame.
Consequently, we have established a free legal advice service which you are invited to contact should you wish to know more about personal injury settlements and how to maximise the value of your personal injury claim. To take advantage of this service, please leave your name and telephone number in the box below, with a suitable time of day at which we can call. Once you have spoken with us, there is no obligation on you to proceed with a personal injury claim – however you may benefit significantly from our experience of personal injury settlements.