What is a Personal Injury Claim?

A personal Injury is defined in the Civil Liability Act 1961 as ‘including any disease and any impairment of a person’s physical and mental condition.’

Clearly this is a very wide definition.

Types of Injury

They types of injury which constitute claims for compensation are wide and varied.

They include:

  • Neck Injuries
  • Back Injuries
  • Broken/Sprained Limbs
  • Dental Injuries
  • Psychiatric/Psychological Injury-Including Post Stress and Depression
  • Army Deafness
  • Asbetos Poisoning
  • Blood Tansfusion Claims
  • Sexual Abuse Injuries

How can I bring a Successful Claim?

If you are involved in a car accident or some other type of injury and you wish to recover your damages from the insurance company of the individual who is at fault, then you will need to be able to prove liability for an insurance claim. Understanding liability insurance claims rules is key to being able to achieve an out of court settlement for damages you suffered, and is also essential if you can’t reach an agreement with the insurer and you decide to sue.

Proving Liability in Insurance Claims

Liability insurance protects an individual from being sued. Almost everyone has some type of liability insurance: drivers have liability insurance on their cars, homeowners have liability insurance to protect them from being sued for injury that happens in the home, and doctors have liability insurance to pay the bills when medical malpractice cases are brought against them.

When you are injured by another individual and you want to make a claim against that person’s liability insurance, there are several things you need to prove:

  • You need to prove the insured had a duty to you. For example, a driver has a duty to act with reasonable care; a homeowner has a duty to make his premises safe; and a doctor has a duty to act as a reasonably competent doctor would
  • You need to prove that the insured breached that duty. If a driver is so negligent that no reasonable person would have behaved that way, this is a breach of duty. For example, driving drunk, texting while driving, running a red light, and otherwise doing something dangerous can be a breach of legal duty.
  • You need to prove that the breach was the direct/proximate cause of injury: Not only must the person have been negligent, but the negligence must have actually caused you to suffer in some way

Generally, proving liability- or proving that the insured was negligent and caused injury- comes down to providing the appropriate evidence to the insurance company. This evidence can include:

  • Accident reports, which are usually written by the Gardai/Police in car accident cases
  • Expert evidence, such as from accident reconstruction experts or from other doctors in the case of a medical malpractice case
  • Eyewitness evidence, or personal accounts from people who saw what happened
  • Photographs that show the cause of the accident or damages
  • A personal account of what occurred

Provided the insurance company believes what they see in the evidence and accepts fault, they are likely to make you an out of court settlement offer that you can choose to accept on the claim. If you don’t accept, you may need to go to court.

Proving liability for insurance claims can be difficult, and you’ll want to have expert help to do it. You should consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible, which we can refer you too. Your Solicitor can help you to gather evidence against the insured and can help you present a strong case to the insurance company to convince them to see things your way.

Types of Compensation

General Damages

Compensation includes ‘General Damages’ which represents compensation items that are difficult to calculate accurately and include ‘pain and suffering’ , loss of the enjoyment of life and disadvantage on the open labour market.

Special Damages

In addition claims can be made for ‘Special Damages’ which represents compensation for losses that can be accurately calculated and may include;

  • medical charges
  • loss of earnings
  • insurance excess
  • damage to property
  • assistance for household chores
  • care and assistance
  • medical therapies
  • traveling expenses
  • vehicle damage
  • expenses
  • vehicle hire
  • aids and equipment
  • adapted accommodation and transport

If you’ve been injured we can help you to preserve your legal right to compensation. We can offer free consultations for advice to find out whether you have a good case, how to go about claiming and how much your compensation might be worth. We will give you clear unequivocal advice about your chances of success and the anticipated value of your claim. If after talking to us you decide not to take your accident claims further you are under no obligation to do so and you will not be charged anything at all.

Time Limits for taking an action to Court

For all personal injuries claims arising from negligence, nuisance or breach of duty arising on or after 31stMarch 2005- a claimant has 2 years in which to make a claim either from

(a) When the incident occurred (b) Knowledge of the incident.

This came into force uder Section 7 of the Civil Liabilities and Courts Act 2004.

In the case of an assault or defamation however the claimant has 6 years in which to pursue a claim.

What is the Injuries Board (PIAB)

The Injuries Board is the independent government body which assesses the amount of compensation due to a person who has suffered a personal injury.

It is a purely paper bases system, which conducts no oral hearings, and makes an award based upon medical reprts and with reference to a book of guidelines on damages.

An application is first made on behalf of a claimant and must be accompanied by a medical report.  Then the arty against whom the claim is being made, known as the respondent, decides whether to consent to such assessment by the Injuries Board.  If they do then an award is made which can be accepted or rejected by either or both parties.  If the respondent refuses consent to assessment or either party rejects the award then the claim may proceed to court.  If both parties accept the award the claim is settled.

What claims can be referred to PIAB

  • Claim against an employer for negligence and breach of duty
  • Action against driver because they own or were driving a vehicle involved in an accident
  • Action against owner or occupier of land or any structure or building
  • Action arising out of a health service provided to a person including the carrying out of a medical or surgical procedure

Which Court?

Whether your case is pursued in the District Court, the Circuit Court or the High Court, depends on the amount of damages you are likely to receive.

The District Court

This Court can award Damages up to €6348.69.

The Circuit Court

This Court can award Damages up to €38,092.00.

The High Court

This Court can award unlimited Damages.