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Personal Injuries

FAQ*

Welcome to our FAQ page where you will find some frequently asked questions about making a personal injuries claim.

We hope you find the questions and answers provided of assistance to you. If you require further information or you have a particular query, please do not hesitate to contact us.

How do I know if I have a case?

If you have suffered an injury as a result of an accident or incident caused, or at least partly caused, by the negligence of another party then you may be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.

The first step in the process is to contact us for a consultation. We will discuss your potential injury claim with you in detail offering an immediate and practical assessment and advise you on the best course of action relevant to your individual circumstances. If we believe you have a good case we will explain the process to you in detail allowing you to make an informed decision. If we feel that you have little prospect of success we will be upfront with you about it and fully explain the position.

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Is there a time limit on making a claim?

Subject to certain exceptions, under the Statute of Limitations you have 2 years from the date of the accident to commence proceedings or lodge an application with the Injuries Board. An important exception is in the case of persons under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, who are described in law as minors or infants. For minors, the Statute of Limitations ‘clock’ does not begin to run until they reach their eighteenth birthday. For more information on claims involving minors see: Child Injury Claims.

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What is the Injuries Board?

The Injuries Board, formerly known as the Personal Injuries Assessment Board or PIAB, is an independent body created under statute whose primary function is to assess personal injury claims. All personal injuries claims in Ireland, with the exception of medical negligence claims, must first be submitted to the Injuries Board before court proceedings can issue. The Injuries Board does not look into the merits of a case or establish fault and there is no oral hearing. It simply makes an assessment of damages based on submitted medical evidence and receipts for allowable expenses, including any certified loss of earnings.

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What is an Injuries Board Assessment?

Once the Injuries Board has processed a claim and has had the claimant reviewed by an independent medical examiner it furnishes a formal ‘Assessment’ to the parties involved. The Assessment is a document which sets out a suggested compensation award based on the available medical and other evidence and its own assessment of the claimant’s injuries. The suggested award is open for either party to accept or reject.

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Will I need to attend a medical?

Yes. Firstly, it will be necessary to attend your own doctor for the purposes of preparing a medical report which is then submitted with your application to the Injuries Board. In addition, it may be necessary to attend an independent doctor or consultant appointed by the Injuries Board and often the third party’s insurer may wish to have you medically examined. Depending on the nature of your injuries you may in due course need to attend a consultant for further assessment and prognosis.

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How much is my claim worth?

The value of a personal injuries case depends on a number of factors. Firstly, each claim is unique and assessed in light of the particular circumstances. Factors considered include the nature and severity of the injuries and expected recovery, the extent of any consequential losses such as medical treatment and rehabilitation costs, any loss of earnings and other out of pocket expenses, and factors such as the age, sex and occupation of the claimant. For estimated personal injuries compensation click on our Compensation Calculator.

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Do I have to accept any offer made?

No. It is always open to you to reject any offer of compensation made in your case including any Injuries Board Assessment or subsequent offer made by the third party’s insurer. Whenever an offer is made we will inform you immediately and advise you as to whether in our opinion the offer made is adequate. We will advise you on the merits of your case, the value of your case and the pros and cons of any offer made so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not to accept any offer of compensation.

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What are general damages?

In the context of personal injuries litigation general damages refer to the value placed on the pain and suffering experienced by the plaintiff and include psychological trauma, loss of consortium and other negative effects.

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What are special damages?

Special damages refer to monetary losses which are quantifiable such as vouched medical treatment expenses for example or certified loss of earnings. These are consequential financial losses suffered by the claimant directly related to the accident. In other words, the ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses incurred by the claimant which might also include the cost of vehicle repairs, emergency services charges, medication, rehabilitation costs, travel expenses, and so on.

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Is personal injuries compensation taxable?

No. Whether you accept an Injuries Board Assessment or are awarded damages in court the sum received is not subject to tax.

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Who will deal with my claim?

At all times your case will be managed by a senior solicitor with particular expertise in personal injuries law. In addition, we operate a partner led approach to litigation which means that your case is reviewed regularly by a partner of the firm who will assist and advise where necessary on the best course of action in a given matter. This helps maintain the highest standards and ensures that your case is progressed efficiently and effectively with no stone left unturned. As part of our commitment to delivering the best client care possible we have a policy of ensuring that our partners, solicitors and support staff are available at your convenience, and at short notice if required, to discuss any aspect of your case.

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How long will it all take?

This will depend to a greater or lesser extent on the nature of your injuries and your expected recovery and rehabilitation. Every case is different. If liability is not in issue, it may be possible to settle your claim within a reasonably short time frame. However, it is our policy not to settle a claim until we have a clear prognosis on your injuries and expected recovery. This may take 12 months or even longer depending on the nature of your injuries and other factors.

At your initial consultation we will discuss your potential claim with you, the process involved, and the estimated time frame. You will be regularly kept up to date on progress in your case and informed of developments including any offers made or attempts to settle your claim. Our sole aim is to ensure you receive appropriate compensation for your injuries, quickly and effectively with the minimum of stress.

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Will I have to go to court?

The majority of personal injuries cases settle and do not go to court. Even where proceedings are issued and a date is fixed to hear the case it is common practice to try and settle the claim in advance of the hearing. However, we prepare and progress every personal injuries claim on the basis that it may end up in court. If, for whatever reason, your case does go to court we will ensure that you have the best legal counsel available to present your case and that your case is court ready.

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How much will it cost*?

At your initial consultation we shall advise you of the potential costs involved. It is important to note that the Injuries Board process does not provide for a separate assessment of legal costs, save in very limited circumstances. As a consequence, any award of damages made which is accepted by the claimant will be subject to a deduction for legal fees. To assist our clients we simply charge a flat fee for dealing with Injuries Board applications, irrespective of the amount of damages awarded, so that at all times our clients know the costs involved. We operate a policy of transparency when it comes to legal fees which is easy to understand and not subject to any hidden charges or extras.

If a claim, for whatever reason, cannot be resolved at the conclusion of the Injuries Board process and it becomes necessary to issue court proceedings to recover your loss, then in that case we shall look to recover the majority of our fees from the third party insurers on the successful conclusion of your case. At all times our clients are kept fully informed of any potential costs and expenses that may arise in any matter.

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What is outlay?

In the context of personal injuries litigation outlay refers to the costs and expenses which we may need to pay out on your behalf during the lifetime of your claim to progress matters such as the cost of a medical report and medical treatment, expert fees, Injuries Board application fees, court duty, search fees, etc. The majority of these outlays are recoverable as part of your costs on the successful conclusion of your case. At all times you will be informed of any costs and expenses paid out on your behalf and full details shall be furnished to you on the conclusion of your case.

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Note: In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award of settlement. The recovery of vehicle hire costs and ancillary costs, such as motor assessor and other expert fees, is limited to the sum recoverable by you at law from the negligent third party. If your claim is unsuccessful you may be liable for the other party’s legal costs.


HAVE A QUESTION OR NEED MORE INFORMATION?

tel: 061 599 033 email: info@bmsolicitors.ie visit us: 64 O'Connell Street, Limerick Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 9.00am to 5.30pm. Saturdays by Appointment

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

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