Contrary to popular press, not everybody is leaping into court for personal injury claims in Ireland. In fact, many people, who would be perfectly entitled to recompense for their pain, suffering or loss of earnings are completely unaware of their rights.
Others feel uncomfortable bringing personal injury claims, especially those from an older generation. Perhaps they ‘don’t want to make a fuss’, or they found the incident which caused their injury so distressing they simply want to put it behind them and get on with their lives.
What these people have to understand though is that personal liability forces public accountability.
10 year old schoolgirl Deidre Quinlan had every right to expect a good night’s sleep in her new nightie bought in the Dunnes Store retail chain. Instead what she got was 45 per cent burns to her face and body when she stretched across the fire to protect her little brother from the flames. The settlement was made out of court when Ms Quinlan was sixteen and she said at the time that she would use part of the €300,000 award for plastic surgery when she was old enough.
Both Ms Quinlan and her parents had every right to expect an item of child’s clothing not to be made of such dangerously combustible material that the child is left scarred for left and could easily have died. With a large bill to pay and the nationwide bad publicity it received, you can bet money on every single item of clothing in the Dunnes Store being triple-checked for safety standards ever since.
The same goes for a public footpath or government building. Should a pensioner who trips over buckled paving not sue the authority for the pain of her broken hip? In some cases, personal injury forces loss of earnings or extra expenses where on-going care is needed. Where is that money to come from if the injured party does not make a personal injury claim?
If you have been injured as a result of an accident you can speak to a specialist personal injury solicitor about your potential claim without obligation by calling our free advice lineon 1800 911 940 or request a call back by providing your phone number in the form on the left
When is an injury compensation claim valid?
For a Claimant to be awarded injury compensation he or she must have sustained a physical or psychological injury of some kind that was not caused totally by their own carelessness, recklessness or negligence.
In the case of the pensioner above, if she had tripped off a perfectly maintained pavement while rummaging in her handbag looking for keys, the local authority would bear no liability. However, should the old lady have fallen over a broken flagstone on a public footpath which fell under the jurisdiction of the local authority, then she would have a clear and valid case for compensation
What if my injury was partly my fault?
There are countless circumstances where the Claimant may have been partly to blame for the accident that caused her injuries. Again referring to our pensioner, what if she had been rummaging for her keys when she tripped over the broken paving? This is a more complicated case involving ‘contributory negligence’. There is no question that the fall was caused by the pavement being in a state of disrepair but would she have fallen so badly if she had been looking where she was going?
In cases like this, an assessment is made regarding the extent of the Claimant’s contributory negligence and the eventual award will reflect that.
What does an injury compensation award cover?
Any personal injury assessment takes into account the severity of injuries sustained whether they be physical or psychological, medical expenses at the time of the accident and that may be on-going to treat chronic or long-lasting ill health caused by the accident.
Other things taken into account would include personal property that was damaged, loss of earnings and the impact on the injured party’s life. An example would be the case of Sean Geraghty whose case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Mr. Geraghty ‘s right arm was severed below the elbow in a traffic accident . His High Court case included the fact that thanks to his injury he could no longer work as a driver or enjoy his previous sporting hobbies of swimming and golf.
Are there many kinds of Personal Injury Claims?
There are several distinct areas of personal injury liability law, but they all essentially amount to the same thing. They all cover the procedure whereby a Claimant states his or her case against a Respondent for injury compensation. In Ireland these cases are initially assessed by the Injuries Board but should either party reject the Injury Board assessment the case then proceeds to court.
If you have been injured as a result of an accident you can speak to a specialist personal injury solicitor about your potential claim without obligation by calling our free advice lineon 1800 911 940 or request a call back by providing your phone number in the form at the bottom of this page.
Types of Injury Compensation Claims
These cases are always complicated and as such are never heard by the Injuries Board. In cases where illness or injury was caused by unhygienic conditions in the hospital or by the negligence or malpractice of medical staff and the Claimant had the right to a reasonable level of care and safety, he may bring a medical negligence personal injury claim.
Claims Involving Minors
Claims involving children under 18 are also initiated through the Injuries Board although the claim is made in the name of a parent or guardian acting as “next friend”. Assessments involving children must be approved by court and the time limitation of these cases is different. Generally the time limit on bringing a personal injury case is two years but for minors this is extended to be two years from the date of their eighteenth birthday.
Traffic Accident Related Personal Injury Claims
The Gardai have a policy of not attending minor traffic accidents preferring that the drivers sort it out between themselves however in more serious accidents the Garda will attend and their report will form part of the claims case as will any medical examination and witness evidence.
Claims for Accidents in the Workplace
An employee has the right to expect a safe working environment and an employer has a duty of care to provide both a safe environment and adequate safety procedures and training. Even so, workplace accidents are commonplace.
Whichever sub-type of injury compensation claim is to be made, it amounts to the same thing. It is an application for compensation for injury suffered through the negligence or malpractice of another.
A well presented application which includes all the necessary documentation, supporting witness accounts, medical examination reports, supporting evidence of loss or earnings or quality of life will help the Claimant receive their full entitlement. While it is possible to make an injury compensation claim directly to the Injuries Board it is advisable to engage an experienced solicitor to handle your claim.
In so doing you would be much better prepared for court should the Injuries Board assessment be refused by the Respondent, you will have support against the opposing insurance company lawyer and you will know if the assessment reached is fair and reasonable.
Right now, the easiest next step is to call our Free Phone solicitor advice line on 1800 911 940
If you cannot speak now, simply fill in the contact form below to request a call from us at any time that is convenient for you.