Injured in an accident that was not your fault and unsure of what to do next ? Do not worry we can show you how to get compensated and the best news is if done correctly you may not even need to speak to a solicitor and incur any legal fees. Over the coming weeks we will visit all areas of personal injury law and give you the best tips on how to deal with your query and help you understand how the law of accident claims operate in Ireland starting with the Injuries Board. Firstly lets deal with the start of all personal injury claims, The Injuries Board.
The Injuries Board was established to handle all types of personal injury claims to try and deal with claims instead of going through the court system to decrease the ever growing volume of claims which clog up the system and just as importantly to keep the legal costs down. If you have suffered any form of personal injury (medical or dental negligence and most psychological claims do not apply to this category) then this is the five step process for dealing with your claim and is meant as a general guide.
STEP 1: DATE OF INJURY
You have two years from the date of your injury to lodge a claim thereafter the claim becomes statute barred so remember the date as if you go beyond this date you could be left unable to proceed with your claim. If however you are a minor then the time begins to run when you turn eighteen but the sooner you get your claim lodged the sooner you can make that step towards potential compensation.
STEP 2: DETAILS OF THE INJURY
This is so vital to any claim and we cannot overestimate how important it is to follow this step carefully. Where did your injur occur ? If you had a Trip and Fall Injury on a footpath then identify exactly where and on what street and take pictures of the location and then report it to the council responsible. If it was a Work Related Injury report it immediately to the relevant person on site and take photographs where possible as to what may have caused the injury. Do not under any circumstances think your employer will do this for you.
If it was a Road Traffic Injury call the gardai to the scene. Do not leave the scene without getting the details of the vehicle including registration and insurance details and indeed any witness details as you will need these details to submit into the Injuries Board Form A. Again remember the location and time of the injury as this is always important.
STEP 3: GO SEE A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
If you are in pain then you will really need to see a doctor. While suffering in silence is an admirable quality it will not get recovered and importantly you will need a medical report from a treating doctor confirming you have suffered an injury. The Injuries Board Form A once completed has to be accompanied by a medical report from the doctor with a diagnosis of what injury you have suffered. Do not worry about asking as doctors are used to being asked to prepare these reports for the Injuries Board but be warned they are not free. The good news is that if you keep a receipt you can add this to the claim and not only potentially receive compensation but also the costs of any report. This will also apply for any other medical expenses. To follow this point through keep receipts for everything, if you have paid any expense related to the injury ie a taxi to a hospital or for pain medication then by all means keep your receipts.
STEP 4: FILLING OUT THE FORM A
You have done the background so this is where it pays off. The first thing is to tick the box to say what type of Injury is and input your own details and it is designed to be very user friendly. Where it gets tricky is where it says Respondent as the Injuries Board wants the name of the person or party we are blaming for your injury and their address. If it was a Road Traffic Injury then the gardai who called to the scene will have these details but remember to ask if the driver of the vehicle that caused your injury was the owner of the vehicle as if not he or she will need to be added to the claim. If you were a passenger in a vehcle you can add the details of all the drivers and/or owners of the vehicles and their addresses. The Injuries Board will contact these parties so the addresses are important.
If your accident occurred in a public place or premises then the respondent could be a business or a local council for example and you need to be careful here. If you slip in a shop and it has a name over the door just remember it may not be the registered name of the business but merely a trading name so get onto google and check with the CRO as the correct title of the business is vital. The reason for this is if the claim is not resolved in the Injuries Board the only way to succeed is to call in the lawyers and issue a claim in the courts but they will need the correct registered title and address of the respondent as it can cause difficulties with the case in court if the details are not correct.
Describe the date and time and location of the injury. You have kept these details to hand and put in a description of the injuries. We do not need to write a novel but merely say what occurred and when describing your injuries over the next page follow the lead of your doctors report once you are satisfied with it and tick the box to confirm this of course.
The next area to complete is that of the Previous relevant injuries/conditions/accidents. Wewould advise all our clients to fully disclose any previous injury within the last five years even if it is not relevant as it helps the Injuries Board with your claim and if it is not resolved in the Injuries Board and has to go to court and the judge hears you did not disclose a previous injury then it could affect your claim and possible exclude you from compensation altogether. Honesty is always the best policy on this one.
The last page is the special damages which covers the receipts we discussed earlier. If you have them then mark them in and if you have been out of work as a result of your injury you are entitled to claim this also. You will need a letter from your employer or from your accountant if you are self employed and if the claim is successful you will also be entitled to a claim for the loss of earnings and your vouched expenses.
You have now completed the form so send it in to the Injuries Board along with copies of the medical report (keep the original report in case you need it at a later date if it goes to court) and copies of your expenses and of course please make copies of the Form A itself so you have them to refer to.
STEP 5: LET THE INJURIES BAORD ASSESS YOUR CLAIM
This process has been made very simple by the excellent work done by the Injuries Board themselves. Once your claim has been lodged (along with the €45 fee of course) they will write out to the respondents and let them know that you have lodged a claim with them. The respondents have 90 days to agree to letting the Injuries Board assess your claim and if they say yes then the Board will make an appointment for you to see an independent medical professional in your area who will see you and draw up an updated independent report of your injuries. People tend to worry that this is going to negatively influence their claim but really it should help your claim as if the injuries are ongoing it could potentially mean a higher level of compensation and the Injuries Board doctor is not there to discuss blame but merely to draw up an updated report on your injuries.
Once the doctor has drawn up the report and sends it into the Injuries Baord they have 9 months to assess your claim from the date the responent agreed to the assessment. Yes we know this can take time but they are handling a great deal of claims and in our view allows you time to see how your injuries are healing. Once the assessment is ready it is posted out to you and the respondents. They have 21 days to agree or disagree with the assessment and you have 28 days to agree or disagree and it must be done in writing. If both sides agree then the Injuries Board will issue an Authorisation to Pay and it effectively becomes binding in law and you will receive your award in a matter of weeks thereafter. However if either side does not agree to the assessment then the matter has to proceed to court.
The injuries baord website www.injuriesboard.ie is very informative on how to complete the forms but also how to calculate the value of your claim and has just recently been updated. This has been trending alot in the news recently with the cost of insurance premuims rising. If you follow these steps you will give yourself a good chance of understanding the process and if you can get your claim resolved without needing any legal advice then more power to you.
If however you are unsure of the process and you wish to speak to a lawyer then contact us on 01-5266790 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange a free consultation for you to go through your case and try and ensure you achienve the maximum possible compensation.
Feel free to visit our website at www.summitlaw.ie