Personal Injuries Claims*: How Do You Know If You Have a Case?

It’s a traumatic time when you’re injured in an accident you didn’t cause, but before you make a claim, you first have to know if you’re eligible.

Being involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and becoming ill or injured as a result can lead to an array of emotional and financial problems. Making personal injury claims is everyone’s right under the law, and if successful, the award will go a long way towards helping you get your life back on track.

A man slipping at work who may be able to make a personal injury claim

For victims who are unable to work due to an injury, and those who have expensive and ongoing medical needs, it is essential to pursue a personal injury claim using a solicitor with experience in the field, so that their chances of success are maximised. People can, of course, make their own applications for a personal injury claim, direct to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. This is the governmental body responsible for these claims, but without also instructing a solicitor to help with it, they may not be getting the best outcome that they could in their circumstances.

It is not always the easy to a make personal injury claim, with or without a solicitor, and the starting point is to find out if you actually have a case. First of all, be mindful that there’s a general deadline in Ireland of two years from the time of an accident for making a claim. After that, your ability will expire and you will no longer be able to try and get compensation. Time, therefore, is of the essence.

Getting Medical Care

If you were injured or became ill as a result of an accident or incident that you didn’t cause, it is vital that you seek immediate medical attention. This is not just for your own personal welfare — doctors’ reports and other documentation will be invaluable later on in helping to prove your claim. Plus, if you intend to file a claim for an injury, your doctor will be required to fill out a medical report form.

Bear in mind that if you’re going to make a claim for compensation to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, either yourself or via a solicitor, you cannot do so for medical negligence claims. These are often extremely complex and difficult to prove in court, and it is in your best interests to instruct a solicitor who is highly experienced in this area.

Claims you can file with the injuries board are those for injuries received in a traffic accident; injuries in the workplace; trips, slips and falls in public places, such as a supermarket; accidents that occur on farms; and claims for accidents while on holiday in Ireland as well as for food poisoning after dining at a restaurant.

Children and Personal Injury Claims

If a child in your family became ill or injured following an incident, you can make a claim on their behalf up to the time they are 18 years of age. The general two-year time period for making claims does not apply to minors until they reach that age. But even if they are still much younger, it is recommended you go ahead with a personal injury claim as soon as possible, as circumstances can change.

That’s because the party who allegedly caused the accident, and their insurance company, may not be around years later and you could find it extremely difficult to win your claim. If the case is filed soon after the accident occurs, however, and it succeeds, the amount of money awarded will be held by the courts until the child reaches their 18th birthday.

As to how much any victim might potentially be awarded in a personal injury claim, it largely depends on the nature and severity of the illness or injury. Emotional or psychological trauma may be factored into the damages amount, as long as it has been properly diagnosed by a medical professional. Then, as a guide, the figure awarded will be calculated based on a guide called the Book of Quantum that sets out financial sums for the various types of personal injuries.

If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault and are wondering if you are able to make a personal injury claim, and how to go about it, contact McCarthy + Co today and one of our specialist personal injury solicitors will advise. You can also download our free e-book on the Consumer’s Guide to the Injuries Board – get your copy now.

In contentious business, a legal practitioner shall not charge any amount in respect of legal costs expressed as a percentage or proportion of any damages (or other moneys) that may become payable to his or her client or purport to set out the legal costs to be charged to a junior counsel as a specified percentage or proportion of the legal costs paid to a senior counsel. A legal practitioner shall not without the prior written agreement of his or her client deduct or appropriate any amount in respect of legal costs from the amount of any damages or moneys that become payable to the client in respect of legal services that the legal practitioner provided to the client.

John McCarthy specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims. His practice focuses on high-value compensation cases. John qualified as a solicitor in 2003 and holds a diploma in civil litigation. This specialist qualification in the area of personal injury and medical negligence litigation, is awarded by the Law Society of Ireland.