Bringing a personal injuries claim
BRINGING A PERSONAL INJURIES CLAIM – STEP BY STEP GUIDE
1. Never settle before seeking legal and medical advice
Suffering from a personal injury is one of the most difficult and traumatic experiences you can endure. Suffering can include and is not limited to physical injury and pain, stress and symptoms of fear, anxiety, depression, embarrassment, reduced satisfaction with life and expectations with life and psychiatric illness.
Your pain and suffering may be ignored by insurance companies if and when they directly approach you within days after an accident to reach a quick settlement. At this time you will have no independent medical advice and report. You will not have an accurate picture of the true extent of your injuries and suffering either then or in the future. You may not be fully aware of your legal rights and entitlements. Settling at this time may not be in your best interest and you should seek legal and medical advice to ensure you have the best chance of receiving appropriate compensation for your current and future needs as a result of the injuries you have experienced.
2. Time waits for no person
The first step to consider is if you are within the time limit to bring a personal injuries claim? You have two years from the date of the accident or the date you are aware that there was a connection between the injuries and the matters you believe to have caused the injuries. The Injuries Board (formerly known as the Personal Injuries Assessment Board aka PIAB) and the courts are the two routes you can recover compensation for the personal injuries you have suffered.
3. The Injuries Board Process
The Injuries Board is the first route that you must follow when seeking compensation for your personal injuries.
It is a statutory body which provides independent assessment of personal injury compensation for victims of workplace, motor and public liability accidents. It does not cover psychological injury or assess personal injury claims that are the result of medical negligence.
4. Letter before going to the Injuries Board
Within two months of the accident or as soon as practicable thereafter write a letter to the person you believe caused the injury setting out the type of accident and the cause of action and send it by registered post.
Having Moynihan & Co. Solicitors represent you is of benefit to you, as they have the experience, skill and expertise necessary to submit your application to your best advantage.
5. Injuries Board Application
(a) Get a medical assessment form (Form B) completed by your doctor.
(c) Send in all your receipts for any financial loss you may have incurred.
(d) If you have had correspondence with the person you hold responsible for your injuries include copy correspondence.
(e) Send in your €45 fee by cheque/postal order by registered post to the Injuries Board at: PO Box 8 Clonakility, Co Cork. This fee can also be paid by credit card or debit card.
When they receive your application and supporting documentation they will write to you acknowledging this and confirm your application number.
6. Injury Claim Assessment
The Injuries Board will only assess a claim for compensation if the other party does not dispute liability and consents to be assessed by them.
They then write to the other party (the respondent) who has 90 days to consent or decline to submit to the agency process. Failure to respond is deemed consent.
If after 90 days the other party declines to have the claim assessed by the Injuries Board, then the agency will issue an authorisation. At this stage you can instruct Tyrrell Solicitors to commence court proceedings on your behalf.
7. Medical Assessment
Let’s assume the other party does not dispute liability and consents to the assessment. If the Injuries Board do not assess your claim within nine months they have the authority to extend the time to fifteen months in which to assess the claim.
Claims are assessed using all the medical evidence. Occasionally they have been known to accept your doctor’s medical report when making their award. Where the Board obtains its own report, it relies on this when making its award. They also have regard to the level of compensation awarded for particular injuries known as the Book of Quantum.
8. Out of pocket expenses
You will also receive a sum for out of pocket expenses which can consist of doctor’s fees, physiotherapy fees, medication and medical appliances, past and future loss of earnings.
It is important to be aware that if the Board fail to inform you before nine months has passed that they intend to extend the time and you have received no notification that an extension has been sought, then you are entitled to go to court immediately.
9. Time limit to accept or reject the award for you and the other side
Once the award is decided by the Board it is communicated to you and the other party.
You have 28 days to accept or reject the award and if you do not reply to the Board you are deemed to reject the award.
The other party has 21 days to accept or reject the award and if it does not reply to the Board it is deemed to accept the award.
10. Effect of accepting the award
If you and the other party accept the award, the claim is settled and an order to pay is provided to the other party. This document, which is copied to you, has the same effect as a court judgment and proceedings may be issued on foot of it, in the event of non-payment.
11. Effect of rejecting the award
If you or the other party rejects or is deemed to reject the award, then you are entitled to go to court immediately. If you are not happy with your award you can instruct Moynihan and Co. Solicitors to commence court proceedings on your behalf.