A Brief Guide to Personal Injuries* Claims

Suffering from a personal injury* can be a very traumatic experience. Suffering can take many forms, including physical injury and pain, as well as symptoms of fear, anxiety, depression, reduced vitality and psychiatric illness. In our experience, pain and suffering may simply be ignored by insurance companies if individuals approach them directly in order to reach a quick settlement. Without independent medical advice and report/s, you may not have an accurate picture of the true extent of your injuries and suffering either now, or in the future.

Without specialist legal advice you may not be fully aware of your rights and entitlements and how best to deal with a personal injuries* claim. Reaching a settlement directly with an insurance company may not be in your best interests and you should seek legal and medical advice to ensure you have the best chance of receiving appropriate compensation for your current and future needs in light of the injuries you have sustained.

It is vital to remember that you have two years from the date of the accident or injury to issue a claim for compensation. Personal injury* claims are dealt with by both the Injuries Board and the courts.

The Injuries Board is a statutory body which provides an independent assessment of personal injury compensation for victims of workplace, motor and public liability accidents. The Injuries Board does not, however, assess psychological injury claims nor does it assess personal injury claims that are the result of medical negligence*. Any claims which cannot be dealt with by the Injuries Board are instead dealt with through the courts system.

By way of first step in the claim process, a letter should be sent by registered post to the person you believe caused the injury within one month of the accident or injury. The letter should set out the type of accident and the cause of action. In the event that such letter is not issued, a judge hearing the case through the courts system (in the event that the case proceeds via this route) will take this into account and can either refuse to award legal costs to you or reduce any costs award accordingly.

Given the importance of the initial letter, it is advisable that you seek legal advice as early as possible following an accident or injury so that the letter can be drafted by a solicitor on your behalf.

The Injuries Board claims that it is not necessary to instruct a solicitor to pursue a personal injury* claim on your behalf but at Martin A. Harvey & Co. we strongly believe that it is important that you have legal representation and advice at all stages of your claim in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

If you would like to discuss a personal injury* that you have suffered, please contact the team at Martin A Harvey & Co. Solicitors and we would be happy to assist you.

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