If you have been the victim of an accident or injury that was not your fault, you may be wondering if you are entitled to compensation.
In 2020, over 26,000 personal injury cases were brought before the Personal Injuries Assessment Board in Ireland, and that number was made significantly lower as a result of the pandemic.
Personal injury claims make up a big part of Irish law, and if you feel you have suffered an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may want to contact a personal injury solicitor for guidance on how to move forward.
Valerie Kearins Personal Injury Solicitors is one of the leading law firms in Sligo and our experienced team of personal injury solicitors are on hand to advise you on your case.
Contact us today for a detailed assessment of your situation.
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What is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury occurs when you suffer an accident, injury or illness as a direct result of someone else’s negligence.
Personal injuries can be physical and psychological – after-effects of traumatic injuries like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder can also warrant consolation.
To prove negligence in cases of personal injury, you must establish two things:
- The negligent party owed you a duty of care.
- That duty was breached, and directly resulted in you suffering an accident or injury.
It is one thing to prove that the other party was negligent or did not act reasonably, but if their behaviour is not seen to have directly impacted your injury, you may struggle file a successful personal injury claim.
One such example occurred when a painter-decorator fell from a ladder, and admitted that his leaning away from the ladder contributed to his fall.
Even though the ladder was proven to be defective, and thus the company that supplied proven to have acted negligently, the fact that the fall was caused by the contractor’s own negligence meant that there was no causation and, as a result, he was not entitled to compensation.
How to Make a Personal Injury Claim in Ireland
The vast majority of personal injury cases in Ireland, with the exception of cases involving medical negligence, are brought before the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB).
It is common practice to seek the help of a personal injuries solicitor ahead of your application to the Injuries Board.
A good personal injury solicitor will know how to construct a solid claim and ensure the process goes smoothly.
You can submit an application to the PIAB directly yourself if you so wish, but it can be complex if you lack experience in legal procedures.
If the negligent party does not want the claim to be submitted to the PIAB, you can also take your case to court.
Usually, the PIAB will assess your claim within nine months of your application being submitted, and they will decide on an appropriate amount for compensation.
If you are satisfied with the figure decided upon by the PIAB, you can accept the compensation and the negligent party will be ordered to pay.
A personal injuries solicitor can help you decide on whether the PIAB’s decision represents fair compensation, and if you choose not to accept their ruling, you can proceed with a legal case.
Common Types of Personal Injury Claims
All kinds of accidents and injuries can constitute personal injury claims – below are a handful of examples that could form the basis of a legal case for personal injury compensation:
Road Traffic Accidents
The most common type of personal injury claim, road traffic accidents can affect vehicle drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Incidents like side impact collisions, rear end collisions and hit and run road accidents can cause significant damage, and sometimes alter a victim’s day-to-day standard of life.
Occupational Accidents or Accidents at Work
Employers bear a liability and duty of care to their employees that, if breached, can constitute negligence. You can suffer all kinds of accidents in the workplace, from long term back injuries to impact injuries from defective machinery or falling debris.
Public Space Accidents
Public space owners and operators owe a duty of care to members of the public when they enter their premises. Incidents like car park accidents, slips, trips & falls, and injuries that occur from hazardous environments like a poorly maintained footpath can all constitute Public liability negligence.
If you are travelling abroad with an Irish tour operator, and you suffer a personal injury that was caused by their negligence, you may be able to seek compensation in Ireland.
What Steps Should I Take Following a Personal Injury?
Personal injury claims can be daunting and complex – if you have suffered a serious accident or injury, you may not know where to begin in your search for compensation.
The following steps should provide a rough guide on how to approach your situation:
- Seek medical guidance from an experienced personal injury solicitor: Unless you choose to submit your own application to the PIAB, your first step should be contacting a solicitor to advise you on the merits of your case. Our team at Valerie Kearins Solicitors is blessed with experience and expertise in legal cases involving personal injury claims.
- Obtain medical records and seek independent, third-party reports: In building your case for compensation, your solicitor will ask you to gather evidence of the medical impact of your accident or injury, as well as third-party reports that add credence and depth to your case. You can assist the claim by obtaining your medical records as soon as possible.
- Assess the case and estimate appropriate compensation: Your personal injury solicitor will weigh up the merits of your claim and decide on a figure that would represent fair compensation. This is one of the areas in which experience and knowledge of the Irish legal system can be a huge asset to your case.
Begin legal proceedings: When the case has been structured and your solicitor is satisfied with the body of evidence you have built, they can begin legal proceedings by submitting an application to the PIAB.
How Long Do I Have to Make a Personal Injury Claim in Ireland?
The statute of limitations in Ireland is two years, meaning, if you suffer a personal injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, you will have a two-year window in which you can make a legal claim for compensation.
That period begins on the ‘date of knowledge’ – that is, the date on which you become aware of the injury you have suffered.
For example, you may suffer a long term shoulder injury as a result of a road traffic collision, and the extent of the damage may not be revealed to you until you receive medical guidance six months on from the event.
In this case, your two-year window begins after that appointment, although any personal injury claim is aided by proceedings starting as soon as possible.
Will I Have to Go to Court for My Personal Injury Claim?
In Ireland, less than 3% of personal injury claims end up going to court, with the vast majority being settled before trial.
It is very unlikely that you will have to enter a courtroom, but if you choose to hire Valerie Kearins Solicitors to represent you, our team will approach your case as though it is going to trial in order to be best prepared for every outcome.
How to File a Personal Injury Claim for a Child in Ireland
If a minor, i.e. a person under the age of eighteen, suffers a personal injury, they will not be able to file a claim for compensation themselves until their eighteenth birthday.
A parent or guardian can file a claim on behalf of the victim or, if the child chooses to wait until their eighteenth birthday to begin legal proceedings, their two-year statute of limitations will commence on that date.
Make a Personal Injury Claim in Ireland Today
At Valerie Kearins Personal Injury Solicitors, our friendly and experienced team have extensive knowledge of legal cases involving personal injury claims.
Contact us today in our Sligo offices for advice on your case and your best chance of securing fair compensation for your personal injury.