1. How do I initiate a claim for personal injury?
There is no obligation on you to contact a solicitor following a car accident, accident at work or accident in a public place. However Mulroy & Company Personal Injury Solicitors Galway advise, to ensure your rights are protected, that you contact a Solicitor in certain circumstances. Since the establishment of the Injuries Board (previously known as Personal Injuries Assessment Board or PIAB), it is no longer lawful, with some exceptions, for parties injured in an accident to initiate court proceedings without first referring their personal injury claim to the Injuries Board.
2. What is the Injuries Board?
The Injuries Board is an independent body established in 2003 with the aim of assessing how much compensation is due to injured parties following an accident.
3. Who should apply to the Injuries Board?
According to the Injuries Board, anybody seeking compensation for a personal injury must first make an application to the Board.
4. Is it necessary for me to employ a Solicitor?
It is not strictly necessary for a claimant to the Injuries Board to employ a solicitor to act on their behalf. However, it is strongly advisable that you seek legal representation in certain circumstances. It should be remembered that in most cases an insurance company that will have substantial legal resources at their disposal will represent the other party.
5. Can minors make a claim to the Injuries Board?
Yes. A minor is usually represented by a parent or guardian (called a “next friend”) who makes the claim on his or her behalf. In the event of the Injuries Board making an assessment on behalf of a minor, application has to be made to Court to have the assessment approved.
6. Will the Injuries Board pay my legal costs?
As a general rule the Personal Injuries Assessment Board will not pay legal fees. However, where the legal fees are submitted as part of claim they will consider whether they were reasonable and necessarily incurred. Where the Injuries Board does not consider such fees were reasonable or necessarily incurred, they will not be allowed.
7. What happens if both parties accept the Assessment made by the Injuries Board?
If both the claimant and the other party accept the assessment, the Injuries Board will issue an order to pay. This will then be binding on both parties.
8. What happens if either party rejects the Assessment?
If either party rejects the assessment, then the Injuries Board will issue an authorisation that will allow the injured party to pursue their claim through the Courts system in the normal way, if they so wish. It is necessary to contact a solicitor to ensure that legal proceedings are initiated, without delay.
9. What are general damages?
General damages include compensation for pain and suffering resulting from the injuries sustained in an accident.
10. What are Special Damages?
Special damages are expenses which are incurred as a result of an accident including loss of earnings, medical expenses, damages to a vehicle, pharmacy expenses etc.
11. Do I need to attend at the Injuries Board?
No. The Injuries Board does not take oral evidence from you. The assessment is based on documentation submitted by you including an application form and accompanying documentation, for example a medical report. It is therefore important that these documents are submitted correctly and all relevant documents are submitted. For that reason, it is important to seek proper advice in this matter including instructing a solicitor if you deem it necessary.
12. How long do I have to make a Claim?
It is vital that if you intend to make a claim you must contact the other party to advise them within two months of the accident. Failure to do so may affect claims for costs at a later stage. The normal time-frame within which you must make a claim is two years from the date of the accident. There are some exceptions to this including cases involving persons under the age of 18 years. You can read more about the Statute of Limitations here.
13. Does the Injuries Board deal with fatalities?
Yes. The Board also has competence to make assessments in respect of accidents where fatal injuries are sustained. In these cases, the family of the deceased person should initiate the process.
Any questions on the above? Please contact Mulroy & Company Solicitors Galway.
* Please note that in contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion or any award or settlement.