12 Frequently Asked Questions about Personal Injury Claims and the Injuries Board*

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.

The advice from Mulroy Personal Injury Solicitors is simple – Never settle a personal injury claim without obtaining legal advice.

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 Personal Injuries Assessment Board.

2. What is the Personal Injuries Assessment Board?

The Injuries Board (PIAB) 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 Personal Injuries Assessement Board?

According to the Injuries Board, anybody seeking compensation for a personal injury must first make an application to the Injuries 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. It should be remembered that in most cases, an insurance company will have substantial legal resources at their disposal to 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 personal injury claim on his or her behalf.  In the event of the Injuries Board making an assessment on behalf of a minor, an application has to be made to Court to have the Injuries Board assessment approved.

6. Will the Injuries Board pay my legal costs?

As a general rule the Injuries Board will not pay legal fees and in fact they rarely do. 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. This is clearly unjust and puts the Claimant at a very serious disadvantage compared to the Respondent who is normally represented by an insurance company.

The advice from Mulroy Personal Injury Solicitors is simple – Never settle a personal injury claim without obtaining legal advice.

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. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. If my claim for personal injuries was successful what would I be entitled to receive?

If you are successful in your claim for personal injuries* you will be entitled to receive compensation for your personal injuries claim which is comprised of General Damages and Special Damages.

What are General Damages?

General Damages cover compensation for pain and suffering resulting from injuries which you sustained in the accident.

The 2016 Injuries Board Book of Quantum will provide you with a guide to the damages you may receive.

This Book of Quantum was produced by the Injuries Board and is intended as a Guideline as to the likely compensation for a particular injury. This book only reflects compensation for pain and suffering which is supported by appropriate medical evidence.

An assessment of general damages has a number of components, covering some or all of the following:

• A sum to compensate for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life

• Specific losses such as past loss of earnings and medical bills

• Future cost of medical care

You can view the updated 2016 Injuries Board Book of Quantum here.

In order to use the Injuries Board Book of Quantum follow the steps set out below to understand what assessment range may be appropriate for an injury:

1. Identify a category of injury
2. Understand the severity of the injury using the medical report on the claimant
3. Look up the value range
4. Consider the effect of multiple injuries

What are Special Damages?

However, every personal injury  claim is unique and will be decided on its merits and of course does not deal with the financial losses associated with an accident such as loss of income, medical expenses incurred etc.

Special Damages are any expenses that you have incurred as a result of an accident. Special Damages cover areas such as loss of earnings, medical expenses, out of pocket expenses and vehicle damage costs. In serious cases there may also be future loss of earnings, future expenses etc in addition to general compensation for your personal injuries claim.

How is loss of income calculated?

Loss of earnings into the future caused by the injury A claim will be assessed in its entirety including all components appropriate to the case that have been vouched.

We are here to help. Please do not hesitate to telephone Mulroy and Company Personal Injuries Solicitors at 091 – 586760 or email us to discuss your claim.

Here at Mulroy and Company Solicitors, we specialise in personal injury claims and it is our job to clarify whether you have a case. If so it is also our job to ensure you are fully compensated for your loss arising from your injury.

Mulroy and Company Personal Injury Solicitors are here to help. Please do not hesitate to telephone us at 091 – 586760 or email us to discuss your claim.

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*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.