Many people know that they are entitled to make personal injury claims when they have been hurt in an accident which was somebody else´s fault but are not always sure how to claim injury compensation in Ireland. This article provides the basic information that you need to claim compensation for a personal injury in Ireland but, as you will see, it is no substitute for the discussing the nature of your accident with a solicitor at the first practical opportunity.
Before you claim compensation for a personal injury, it is common sense that you seek a professional medical examination of your injuries from a hospital or your family GP. In most cases, an injured person would naturally already sought medical attention after an accident but, if you have not already done so, you must see a doctor before you make any personal injury claims for compensation.
No amount of compensation can ever make up for the deterioration of an injury which could have been avoided with swift medical care, and you cannot claim injury compensation in Ireland unless there is a record of your injury in your medical records. Furthermore, if you make your injury worse by your own lack of care, how much compensation your claim is settled for could be reduced.
When you claim injury compensation in Ireland, you are supposed to make an application for an assessment of your claim to the Injuries Board. The Injuries Board is an organisation which assesses the value of personal injury claims in Ireland, but has no role in determining who was at fault for an accident and does not get involved in disputes if plaintiffs or respondents reject their assessments.
The assessment forms are available online from the Injuries Board web site or you can complete the whole application online (except for personal injury claims for children). The Injuries Board will then contact the person who you name as being responsible for the accident in which you were injured, ask for their consent to assess your claim and - when consent is received - calculate how much compensation you are entitled to.
Inasmuch as the Injuries Board´s process of how to claim injury compensation in Ireland is straightforward, the application form is not - especially at a time when you may still be recovering from your injury and in a considerable amount of pain.
The Injuries Board application focuses on the injuries you sustained and not on how they have affected your quality of life. If you have had your arm broken in an accident for which you were not at fault, you should be compensated if your arm injury prevents you from completing regular daily tasks, participating in hobbies and leisure pursuits and enjoying social events.
There is also no guidance provided regarding what expenses you can include in personal injury claims. If you claim too much, it is likely that the assessment of your claim will be rejected by the negligent party (or, more likely, their insurance company) and if you claim too little, you are being deprived of money because somebody else could not be bothered to pay attention for your health and safety.
When you claim compensation for a personal injury, there are four main elements that should be taken into account.
Taking the unfortunate person above who has broken their arm as an example, the general damages they receive for their physical injury will be assessed against the Book of Quantum - a publication which lists a series of injuries and allocates them a financial value according the extent and severity of the injury. This assessment will then be adjusted for the plaintiff´s age, sex and general state of health before the accident.
If the injured victim suffered any emotional trauma due to the nature of their accident, developed anxiety or depression during their recovery or suffered some other psychological injury (for example if there was a loss of confidence after breaking an arm in a fall from height), this element should also be included in personal injury claims for compensation.
A broken arm is an exceptionally debilitating injury which will prevent you from doing many basic household chores and enjoying an active social life (especially if they require you to drive). There is nowhere on the Injuries Board assessment form or their web site which explains how to claim injury compensation in Ireland for the non-financial changes you have to make because of somebody else´s negligence.
As mentioned above, there is also no guidance on what costs and expenses your are entitled to recover or how to account for a loss of wages - which should also include regular overtime payments and personal pension contributions. Without assistance from an experienced personal injury claims solicitor, it is conceivable that you could be considerably under-compensated in relation to the damages you are entitled to receive.
The Injuries Board process was introduced to reduce the length of time it took to resolve personal injury claims in Ireland and to avoid the necessity of having to claim compensation for a personal injury through the courts. However, there are times when court action will be unavoidable if no satisfactory resolution of your claim can be achieved by negotiation.
If court action is necessary, a solicitor would be required in order for you to claim compensation for a personal injury, but he or she would guide you through the procedures according to the reason for your claim.
No two personal injury claims are the same - even when similar injuries are sustained in identical accidents - and it is advisable to discuss the nature of your accident and the injuries you sustained with a solicitor to get advice on how to claim injury compensation in Ireland in relation to your personal situation.
From experience we know that some people are apprehensive about contacting a solicitor because of what they might be committing to, so we have set up a personal injury claims advice service which you are invited to call and ask any questions you may have about how to claim injury compensation in Ireland without any obligation on you to proceed with a claim.
We are happy to provide advice on how to claim compensation for a personal injury, how to complete the Injuries Board assessment form (we are even happy to complete it on your behalf) and what you should do if you have already submitted your claim to the Injuries Board and either consent to assess has been denied or the assessment of compensation has been rejected.