If you have suffered an accident or injury due to the fault of others you may be entitled to take a case for compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of earnings, costs of repairs and any other losses attributable to the accident or injury. Our dedicated and experienced Personal Injury / Litigation Team will guide you through the claim process from the initial application to the Injuries Board through to the Circuit or High Court where necessary.
The first matter to consider following an accident is whether you are injured or not. The law allows you to pursue a case for what are called “General Damages” and “Special Damages. Special Damages relate to any out of pocket expenses or car damage that was caused by the other party and in the event that you are not injured you can take a case to recover these special damages. If you are injured then you can take a case for the Special Damages referred to and also for “General Damages” which is compensation for any pain and suffering caused as a result of the accident.
You may have been involved in an accident and suffered an injury but it may be your own fault and in those circumstances you cannot take an action against yourself. You can only pursue compensation where someone else has caused your injuries or in circumstances where they are only partly responsible. If they were only partly responsible and you were partly responsible then your compensation will be based on their percentage of responsibility (e.g. If your injuries are worth €10,000.00 in compensation but you are 50% responsible then the other party only pays €5,000.,00.)
We will outline any costs at our initial meeting and send a letter confirming same once we have instructions. Our costs are based on the level of work undertaken.
You are entitled to take a case against the Defendant for compensation. The compensation is determined by medical evidence from your Doctor. We will write to the party who caused your injury (“The Defendant”), their insurance company and to your Doctor looking for a medical report. The Doctor will prepare the report and request payment for the report before giving it to us. We may discharge the fee for the report, or we may ask you to discharge the fee which is normally between €250.00 and €450.00. If you are successful in your case you will get most of the report fee back.
Once we have the medical report we will review it and send it to you for consideration and ask you to make an appointment to discuss it. Once we have discussed it and you are happy with the contents (if you are not happy we will ask you to go back to your Doctor and discuss your concerns) we can make an application to the Injuries Board.
All claims for compensation for personal injuries have to go through the Injuries Board. They have an excellent web site at www.injuriesboard.ie. The Injuries Board write out to the Defendant and ask them to confirm if they agree that they are responsible for the accident or if they are defending the case. They have 90 days to confirm their position. If the Defendant’s say they are not responsible and want to challenge and defend the case then they will issue an “authorisation” that allows you to take your case through the Courts (we will look at this later). If the Defendants agree that they are responsible then the Injuries Board will write out to us and confirm that they are “assessing” the case. This means that they will look at the medical evidence, obtain their own medical evidence and provide an monetary assessment of the value of your injuries. They will assess the case within 9 months (unless there are unforeseen circumstances). They obtain their own report (you will be required to attend with a nominated Doctor) from an independent Doctor and send out their assessment based on the evidence. Both parties have to accept the assessment for it to be finalised. You have 28 days and the Defendant has 21 days to accept the assessment. If both parties accept then a notice to pay will issue and the compensation will be sent to your solicitor. We will agree our fee with you based on the work done and matters can be finalised. If either party does not accept the settlement then it goes to Court but with the caveat that unless you get more than the assessment you may have to pay the Defendant’s costs for going through the Courts.
Going through the Courts does not necessarily mean going to Court. It refers to the process involved. The first thing we do is to prepare a brief ( a booklet of documents) for a Barrister and write to him/her outlining the case and asking that he/she drafts proceedings. Once we get the proceedings back we will bring you in and discuss them with you. If you are happy we will Stamp the proceedings ( Stamp Duty has to be paid on the proceedings) and issue them in the relevant Court. The Court will depend on the value of your case. Where we value compensation below €15k we issue in the District Court, where it’s between €15K and €60K we issue in the Circuit Court and above that we issue in the High Court. Once we issue the Proceedings then we will serve them on the Defendant’s Solicitor and request that they enter what is called an Appearance( a one page document stating that they are on record for the proceedings) within 10 days. If we do not get the Appearance we write letters warning that if we don’t get an Appearance we will bring the Defendants to Court to get a Judgement against them and if necessary we will bring the Defendants to Court. The Defendants will normally enter an appearance at this stage and they will raise questions about the case called “Particulars” . We will liaise with you and meet you to go through these Particulars. We may need to get information from Doctors, hospitals, your Employers, the Social Welfare etc. It is a long process but designed to give the Defendant more information about your case so they can prepare a Defence and value the case if necessary. Following our replies we look for the Defence and may have to go through the same process as when we looked for an Appearance if we don’t get one. Once we get the Defence we will prepare papers for our Barrister and get them to Advise on what we need to bring the case to Court. They will normally advise us to get up dated medicals, request details of documents the Defendants have (called Discovery) and finalise all losses. The Defendant’s may also look for your medical records and losses. Once these are finalised we can set the case down for hearing. The case may settle at any stage prior to this.
The Defendant’s solicitor may approach us at any stage looking to settle the case. We will either discuss this with you and advise you or have a meeting in the Four Courts. We will advise on what we think the value of your case is and if you agree we will discuss a settlement with the Defendant’s solicitor. If a compromise is reached that is acceptable to both parties then the case can be settled with no need to have the case heard before a Court.
If the case cannot be settled it will go before a Judge to decide. We prepare extensive papers for hearing and send them to our Barrister who will prepare the case and meet you on the morning of the case. We may have engaged expert witnesses such as Engineers, Doctors, Security Experts etc. The Barrister will go through the case with you and advise you. The case can still settle (and often does) just prior to hearing. If it goes to hearing you will put your case to the Court first and then the Defendant’s will put their case to the Court. The Judge must first decide if the Defendant was responsible. If not the case will be dismissed and costs may be awarded against you but if the Judge decides the Defendants were responsible then they will make an award based on your injuries.
The majority of Court costs will be paid by the Defendants in the event that you are successful other than the Injury Board costs, certain outlays not covered and certain Solicitor and Client charges.