Personal Injuries Process
If you have been injured in an accident the first point of contact for your claim should be the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. Together with your solicitor you will need to complete a PIAB application form and submit the medical reports that your doctors have given to you following their treatment for your injuries. This must be done within two years of the accident date or the date you had knowledge that a wrong was committed. this is an extremely strict timeline and there are only very limited excepts to this.
The Personal Injuries Assessment Board will then assess your claim and, if the defendants consent, will issue an award of damages to you. You can then either accept or reject this award. if you reject the award your claim will then go to the Courts to be heard in the normal manner.
Some cases however cannot be assessed by PIAB such as cases involving minors, cases involving complex ongoing injuries and cases involving physiological injuries to name but a few examples. in such cases PIAB will issue an authorization immediately upon application and you can then apply to the Courts in the usual manner.
Once your case is ready to go to Court your solicitor will issue proceedings in the relevant Court depending on the severity of your injuries. All injuries must be fully vouched by reference to medical reports provided by you through your GP and Consultants.
For many cases it is also strongly advised to have comprehensive engineering reports as to the cause of the accident and area the accident occurred in. In road traffic cases it is vital to have an engineer assess both the vehicles and accident location as soon as possible after the accident.
Your case may also require the input of a junior barrister (junior counsel) and in cases in the High Court, a senior barrister (senior counsel). Your barrister will essentially assist your solicitor to draft the proceedings firstly and assist your solicitor throughout the case. The barrister will also be the individual who will speak in Court on your behalf at the hearing of the case and cross examine any witnesses involved. It is advisable to have a barrister who deals regularly with personal injuries cases as it is a complex area of law that requires experienced professionals.
One of the most common questions we are asked in relation to cases such as these are how long will it take and what does it cost to take a claim.
With regard to PIAB applications generally such claims can be dealt with within 12 months if your medical reports are conclusive as to your injuries.
For all other cases it is almost impossible to give an indication of time due to the complexity of injuries, ongoing treatment recommended by doctors and the Courts system generally.
As regards costs there are significant outlay costs firstly to take a claim such as engineers reports (can range from upwards of €1,000) to medical reports (€450-€600 per report). This is significant outlay that you as the client must pay during the case. You can recoup most of these costs should you win your case however most external report writers will require payment throughout the case.
Your solicitors and barristers fees are generally covered by the defendants should you win your case. There may however be an element of solicitors - client costs which are not covered and these should be discussed in detail with your solicitor throughout the case. Should you loose your case you will however be liable for all costs and also the costs of the defendants legal team and experts, this is why it is so important to carefully consider any potential claim from the very outset. Also be aware of taking claims against Limited Liability Companies. if such entities go into liquidation during your case you may be left paying large bills to your own legal team, doctors and engineers as the defendants may no longer exist.
For further information and advise on your personal injuries claim contact us today.
*Irish solicitors may not calculate fees or other charges in contentious business as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement nor is it our practice to do so.