To answer that question you must understand what happens first in Ireland with a Personal injury claim. The Personal Injuries Assessment Board, which is now known as the Injuries Board, is a statutory body which assesses how much compensation is due to an injured person.
It does not, however, make any decisions on liability. That means they do not decide who is at fault. With the exception of medical negligence cases, all personal injury claims in Ireland must proceed through the Injuries Board before a claimant is entitled to issue legal proceedings. The claimant can proceed with the Injuries Board without a Personal injury solicitor; but there are very good reasons why the claimant should engage a Personal injury solicitor before starting the Injuries Board process.
The claimant must submit a medical report setting out the extent of their injuries, the impact that the injuries have on the claimant and the future forecast in respect of recovery, long term effects. The claimant must also submit proof of written notification to the proposed defendants indicating the claimant’s clear intention to seek compensation as a result of the injuries suffered in the accident An application fee is also required, currently in the sum of €45 and an Application Form, Form A, must be completed accurately and submitted with the other documents. Once Injuries Board receives the claimant’s application, the Injuries Board will write to you or your Personal injury solicitor acknowledging receipt of the claimant’s application. Receipts of any out-of-pocket expenses due to the injury may also be submitted along with any loss of earnings.
Statute of Limitations
A Personal injury claim must be submitted within two years from the date of the personal injury. In some cases this may be extended.
Typical time length of claims process
The Injuries Board will then contact the alleged negligent party and ask them if they are willing to allow them to make an “assessment of value”. The alleged negligent party has 90 days to decide whether they consent to the assessment of value or not. If the alleged negligent party agrees, then the assessment proceeds. When the alleged negligent party consents to an assessment and the Injuries Board decide it is appropriate to proceed to an assessment, and then an assessment will be made by the Injuries Board usually after a period of about one year from the initial application to the Board.
Once the Injuries Board finished its assessment it writes to both sides with the assessment amount. If both sides accept the assessment then the Injuries Board issues an ‘Order to Pay’ and you should receive payment from the respondent soon thereafter. If the respondent says no, then the Injuries Board plays no further part in the process. However, both parties can reject the Injuries Board assessment and when this happens the case will have to proceed to Court after the Authorisation has been issued by PIAB. However, you should know that most personal injury cases in Ireland do not go to court because they are settled in advance.
Approximately 80% of all claims never see the inside of a court. Often, a settlement between all the parties is reached before the trial date or sometimes on the day of the trial. If the Defendant wishes to offer you money to end your claim and you are agreeable to settling your case out of court, your solicitor can arrange a settlement meeting with the Defendant’s legal representatives prior to the trial date.
At the meeting, your Personal injury solicitors will explain to you the advantages and disadvantages of accepting the offer made by the Defending insurance company and will give you advice about your chances of success at trial and the amount of damages you may receive in court. If it is not possible to settle a case satisfactorily, you can elect to proceed to court, but which court? Your Personal injury claim may be heard in the District Court, the Circuit Court or the High Court. The choice of venue simply depends on the value of your Personal injury claim. If you have been injured in an accident, your Personal injury solicitor will assess the value of your case by carefully considering all relevant factors, including the nature and extent of your injuries, your prognosis for the future, and the financial impact your injury has had on you and your family.
The District Court has power to award up to €15,000 in damages. The Circuit Court has power to award up to €60,000 in damages. The High Court has unlimited power to award damages and will handle all cases where the value of the claim is over €60,000. Most Personal injury claims are resolved in one to two years.