Why do I need to make sure that evidence is preserved?

While the Injuries Board process itself operates on the basis that liability is not in issue, it is up to either you or any of the respondents to reject the assessment after it has been made.

Even though they have submitted to a process where fault is admitted, after the Injuries Board makes its assessment a respondent can decide to fully contest the question of liability in court, meaning that it will be up to you to satisfy a judge that on the balance of probabilities (i.e. that there was a 51% or greater chance) the respondent was to blame for your injuries.

If you can’t come up with the appropriate evidence in your court hearing (which, bear in mind, could be a number of years after you were actually injured) because you didn’t take the necessary precautionary steps in the immediate aftermath of the accident, your claim could be hopelessly undermined.

Write to whom you think is at fault calling on them to admit liability.

The next thing you’ve got to do, after you’ve ensured that all necessary evidence has been preserved, is to write to the person (or persons) whom you believe to be responsible for causing your injury. It’s important not to delay in sending out these letters for two reasons, the main one being that you don’t want to find that your claim has become statute-barred, which you can read more about in the post entitled ‘How much time do I have to bring my claim?

The second reason is that section 8 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 says that where a plaintiff in a personal injuries action fails, without good reason, to serve a notice in writing, within 2 months of the accident or as soon as practicable after that, on all of the alleged wrongdoers stating the nature of the wrong alleged to have been committed by each wrongdoer, the court hearing the action may draw such inferences from the failure to serve these notices as is deemed proper and, where appropriate, the plaintiff may have their costs disallowed.

This means that the plaintiff could end up paying their own, very significant, legal bill.
For this reason you should ensure that your so-called ‘section 8 letters’ are sent as soon as possible after the accident. But, while you should be vigilant about this time limit, don’t panic if you’ve missed it. Judges are understanding people. If you haven’t put the wrongdoers on notice within the two-month period either because you couldn’t because you were recovering from your injury and were unable to, or you simply had no clue that there was a legal obligation to take this action, a court will almost certainly not punish you for not having done so.

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Flor McCarthy

Flor McCarthy

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is one of Ireland’s leading lawyers, certified by the Law Society of Ireland in Data Protection Practice. He was chosen as Munster Solicitor of the Year at the Irish Law Awards in 2018. Flor completed his Masters degree in law at University College Dublin. [Read More]

John McCarthy Solicitor West Cork

John McCarthy

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John specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims. His practice focuses on high value compensation cases. He has extensive experience in this area of litigation for over 10 years. John has acted in a wide variety of personal injury, wrongful death, property damage, medical negligence, defective product, professional negligence and judicial. [Read More]