The Role of a Personal Injury Solicitor
A personal injury solicitor in Ireland is a specialist solicitor who represents victims of accidents that have been injured or sustained a loss due to a third party’s negligence. The solicitor’s primary function is to advise clients on whether they have a personal injury claim which is worth their while to pursue, construct the strongest possible case on their behalf and ensure that they receive a fair and adequate compensation settlement in relation to their injury or loss.
A personal injury solicitor is more than an encyclopaedia of laws and regulations. A good personal injury solicitor acknowledges that everybody’s personal circumstances are different and identical injuries can have very dissimilar consequences to two different people. Therefore, a personal injury solicitor will listen carefully to each individual’s unique situation and arrive at a conclusion on how they can be best served.
The Benefits of a Personal Injury Solicitor
As well as having an in-depth knowledge of the law, a personal injury solicitor has practical experience of how to apply it to his clients’ benefit, and ensure that all elements of personal injury compensation are considered when making a personal injury compensation claim. Awards of compensation damages are comprised of two parts – “General Damages” and “Special Damages”.
General damages compensate an accident victim for the pain and suffering they experience throughout and after a trauma. The amount of general damages compensation you receive in Ireland is directed by the Book of Quantum – a publication which lists various physical injuries and gives them a financial value according to the extent of the injury and the length of time it may take for a victim to recover.
Personal Injury Solicitors and Special Damages
Special damages are the “out of pocket” expenses you incur due to your injury and directly attributable to the negligent party’s lack of care. In many cases, special damages may not account to much if you have been able to work through your injury and can still drive and perform regular domestic tasks.
However, if you need to adapt your home for wheelchair access after a loved one has been catastrophically injured in a car accident and will never work again, the amount of special damages you could receive may be considerably more that the general damages that are awarded. Because many people do not know what they are entitled to receive, or are too emotionally distressed to give it their attention, it is conceivable that you could be seriously undercompensated without a personal injury solicitor’s assistance.
Personal Injury Solicitors and Negligence
There are many times when there is no dispute over who is the negligent party in an accident. Whether it is the driver who fails to stop and look at a road traffic sign, an employer who neglects to implement health and safety regulations in the workplace or a shopkeeper who stacks is goods in a disorderly manner – these are clear cut examples of a person with a duty of care neglecting their responsibilities towards you.
However, sometimes negligence – a vital element of any personal injury compensation claim – is not so hard to establish. Sometimes, accidents can happen when there are no other witnesses to see the event, and it may be your word against somebody else’s. It might also be the case that a negligent person has been advised not to admit responsibility for an accident in any circumstances. In these cases a personal injury solicitor has the resources to conduct an investigation and determine who the negligent party is with hard evidence.
When You Need a Personal Injury Solicitor
Although most people would choose to take advantage of a personal injury solicitor’s experience and knowledge, there are times when you need, by law, to use the services of a personal injury solicitor. As the previous topic discussed negligence, let us start there.
- The Injuries Board Ireland will decline to assess any personal injury claim where negligence is in dispute. They will issue you with an authorisation to pursue your personal injury claim in court, for which you will need to be represented by a personal injury solicitor.
- You will also require a personal injury solicitor to litigate on your behalf if there is a disagreement over the amount of personal injury compensation assessed by the Injuries Board Ireland. Your solicitor may be able to resolve the dispute by negotiation, but will be prepared to fight your case in court if necessary.
- The Injuries Board Ireland will also decline to assess any personal injury claims which involve medical or professional negligence. As a breach in the “duty of care” owed to you by a professional person is determined by expert opinion rather than physical fact, any claim for personal injury compensation which involves medical or professional negligence will have to be resolved in court or a settlement negotiated between the parties.
- Personal injury compensation settlements in which the victim is a child have to be approved in court by a judge before payment of the personal injury compensation can be made – irrespective of how it has been agreed. Again, you will need a personal injury solicitor to act as your legal representative.
Personal Injury Solicitors and Insurance Companies
One of the most important reasons for discussing a claim for personal injury compensation with a personal injury solicitor as soon as you have received treatment for your injuries, is that you may be approached soon after you accident by the negligent party’s insurance company with an offer of early settlement.
These initial offers are frequently inappropriate to your needs and do not represent how much personal injury compensation you would receive if you were to make your personal injury claim through the Injuries Board Ireland. However, if you have spoken with a personal injury solicitor before their approach, and established how much personal injury compensation you may be entitled to, you will know not to accept their offer.
Being approached by an insurance company soon after you have been injured in an accident is not necessarily a bad thing. It displays that the insurance company acknowledge their client’s liability and opens the door for your personal injury solicitor to negotiate a more suitable deal on your behalf. Often, negotiations are concluded long before the Injuries Board Ireland makes its assessment, enabling you to receive your true entitlement of personal injury compensation faster than you might otherwise.
Personal Injury Solicitor Summary
Engaging the services of a personal injury solicitor is not always necessary in claims for minor accidents where there is no doubt concerning negligence and the amount of personal injury compensation you receive is likely to be minimal. Despite this, more than 90 per cent of people making a personal injury compensation claim in Ireland chose to do so with the assistance of a personal injury solicitor.
A personal injury solicitor in Ireland is there to advise, represent and negotiate. He or she will attempt to get the maximum award of personal injury compensation for your injury or loss through the Injuries Board Ireland, litigation or negotiation. Personal injury solicitors take special care to ensure all aspects of a personal injury claim are accounted for to ensure you receive everything you are entitled to.
Where a personal injury solicitor is required or engaged, you will find them as interested in you as in the circumstances surrounding your accident. This enables them to interpret what effect your personal injury has had on your quality of life and advise you accordingly. Your personal injury solicitor will also investigate accidents, resolve issues regarding negligence and represent you in court. Most of all, a personal injury solicitor is able to guide you through the process of obtaining the best possible compensation settlement when you have been injured or sustained a loss in an accident for which you were not wholly to blame.