The process for receiving compensation for injury suffered may be a daunting one for any would be litigant but it doesn’t need to be. At Moran and Ryan we ensure our clients know exactly what is happening to ensure peace of mind. The steps that are taken after suffering a personal injury are outlined below:
Talking to your Personal Injury solicitor
When contacting your solicitor you should arrange a full consultation in order to go through the events in detail. The facts of the events and the consequences will be discussed during the initial consultation. The solicitor will then gather all relevant information including medical records, CCTV footage and any Garda statements as needed. Any loss of earnings or expenses incurred as a result of the injury will then be noted. These will be added to any claim made to the Injuries Board.
What is the Injuries Board?
Following from this the Injuries Board will contact the intended Defendant and ask them if they will consent to them making of an assessment of compensation. If they refuse, then the Injuries Board will send to the injured party an ‘authorisation’- this is a formal document that allows the party to commence court proceedings.
If the Defendant consents to an authorisation being made, then the Injuries Board will assess the claim and arrive at what they deem an appropriate amount of compensation. They send this assessment to both sides. If both sides agree to the valuation then the Injuries Board will issue an ‘Order to Pay’ to the Defendant, which the Defendant will have to comply with. However if either party rejects the assessment, the Injuries Board will issue to the injured party an authorisation and close the file on the matter.
In order to proceed with a claim in court the solicitor will have to value your claim. Your value attributed to your claim will decide which court the claim will be made in.
The value that the solicitor or other legal representative places on your claim will determine what court the matter will proceed in. The value of the claim will be decided by consideration of the nature and extent of the sustained injuries (both physical and psychological) and the prognosis for the future, as well as other factors such the extent of any loss of earnings or general enjoyment. The District Court has jurisdiction to make awards up to the sum of €15,000 in damages. The Circuit Court has jurisdiction to make an award up to €60,000. The High Court has no cap on the amount of damages it can award.
After a court date is set it is often the case that the matter is settled before the case goes ahead. Through your solicitor negotiations will be held. A settlement sum may be offered by the defendant at this stage. The solicitor will be there to inform you of the likely outcome should this matter go to court and whether you should consider the settlement offer.
The Court Hearing
If settlement talks fail to end the dispute a full hearing will be set. During the course of the hearing each side will be represented by barristers. It is at this stage that any medical documents will be used as evidence as well as oral testimony from the injured party and/or witnesses of the incident. The barristers will then make their legal submissions to the Judge and the Judge will make a decision as to whether compensation will need to be paid. When the defendant has admitted fault there is no need for the Court to decide on liability. The Judge will consider compensation only. The side that loses the case will normally pay all the costs.
Award of Compensation
Any awards of compensation made by the Courts are divided into two separate categories: special damages and general damages. Special damages include all the expenses incurred as a result of the accident such as medical expenses as well as future potential earnings that will be missed due t the accident.
General damages accounts for all the pain and suffering incurred due to the accident. This amount will be calculated based on the gravity of the injuries and the prognosis for the future of the victim.
After the award of damages the common practice is for the defendant to make the compensation payable to the plaintiffs solicitor within the two months following the court case.
*In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.