You may have seen discussion in the news around proposed changes to personal injury legislation in Ireland recently. If this has promoted you to think about how a personal injury claim may apply to you, read on.
There is a review looking at putting a cap on the amount that can be claimed under a personal injury claim https://www.thejournal.ie/law-reform-commission-round-of-reviews-4667696-Jun2019/, this is under review and there is quite a lot of debate about how the law should be applied or revised, or if it is fine as it is. What this does mean for you though, is that if you have suffered an injury you need to start the claims process sooner rather than later. There is a time limit on claims, normally two years from the date of injury, but proposed changes to the maximum amount you can claim could have an adverse effect on you.
What Is The Claims Procedure?
After you have suffered an injury (physical, phycological or both) in order to have a chance of compensation you will need to write a letter to the person you believe responsible for your injury and start an Injuries Board Application. If the other party agrees to assessment by the Injuries Board then then board will simply access your claim. However, if the other party does not agree then you will need to go to litigation.
Whether you anticipate the party responsible accepting your claim or rejecting it, your first point should be to be contact a personal injury claims lawyer and see if they feel you have a strong case. Many lawyers in Dublin will work on a no claim – no pay basis and offer a free initial consultation to access your situation, so it is definitely worth getting a professional opinion.
Why Work With A Lawyer?
For most people, even if lawyers themselves and completely confident with legislation and legal proceedings, working on your own case, particularly if you have suffered physical or emotional harm, is very difficult. You are emotionally invested in the outcome, and it is very easy to miss aspects that an outsider will be able to see quite clearly. Being emotionally invested is a good thing, as long as you have someone to come between you and the Injuries Board.
It is a common practice for an insurance company to make you an offer quite quickly to assist the settlement process in a timely manner. But before you accept this offer, you should still consult with a legal professional, as many times you will find that the amount offered is significantly less that what you should be intitled to. Yet, for people in financial difficulty, particularly if caused by being unable to work temporarily because of injury, a quick settlement may seem like a Godsend to get them out of immediate financial strife. However, you also need to consider your long-term prospects. Yes, a quick settlement may ensure payments go through this week, but if you are unable to work for 6 months, what will happen next week?
Don’t stress too quickly about not receiving any compensation for years, upon talking to your solicitor they will be able to advice you if your claim has a good chance of being successful – if they feel that it is unlikely, then they may suggest you take whatever the insurance company has offered, or they may be able to negotiate with the insurance firm on your behalf to try and increase the offer.
Your lawyer will also be able to give you an indication on how long the process will take. Going to a specialist attorney means you are talking to someone who not only is very familiar with the legislation, but they are also dealing with insurance companies and the assessment board on a regular basis, so they will know if there is a current delay in turnaround time or changes in procedures (see here). They will also be familiar with assessment requirements for each type of claim, and while you will likely need a medical assessment from a Doctor, but they may also advise you to have other proof available, such as loss of income or contracts if you are self-employed.