A personal injury* claim is a legal case in which the claimant has suffered an injury or illness because of the actions or negligence of another person or entity.
The claim serves to seek compensation from the responsible party for damages caused by the injury, for example medical fees or loss of wages due to missing work.
How do I know if my claim is eligible?
The best way to find out if you have a claim worth pursuing is to contact a personal injury solicitor, who will be able to discuss your claim and advise on whether you can raise a claim.
Overview of Common Terms
If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, you may come across some unfamiliar terms, or terms you may have heard before but don’t fully understand. To help ease any confusion, we have outlined some of the most common terms that may crop up:
- A personal injury is an injury of a person’s body, mind or emotions.
- In a personal injury claim case, the claimant or plaintiff is the person who suffered the injury.
- The defendant is the person or entity (such as an organisation) who is responsible for the injury. This party may also be referred to as the respondent.
- The Personal Injury Assessment Board (PIAB), also called the Injuries Board, is the statutory body that assesses personal injury claims. All personal injury claims, apart from medical negligence claims, must be submitted to the PIAB.
- There are two types of damages that can be incurred due to a personal injury. General damages are non-economic costs associated with the injury, such as emotional distress. Special damages are the economic costs incurred due to the injury, such as medical fees. This includes any future costs that the claimant will incur, such as ongoing medical fees due to long-term injury.
- Contributory negligence is a term referring to situations in which the claimant is partially responsible for their injury. You may still raise a claim in this instance.
- Letter of Claim is sent by the claimant to the defendant. It provides details of the accident and invites the defendant to propose compensation procedures. This letter needs to be served to the defendant within 2 months of the accident.
- The date of knowledge is the date on which the plaintiff discovered they were injured. This may be the same date as the accident, however some injuries may take some time to develop. Claims must be made within 2 years of the date of knowledge. This 2 year period is called the statute of limitations. If you do not file your claim within this period, you will be statute barred, meaning you are prohibited from raising a claim.
- If you are making a personal injury claim, you will likely be required to submit a medical report from your GP or the medical practitioner who treated your injury.
What are the most common types of personal injury claims?
According to the PIAB Annual Report 2021, 18% of personal injury claims were public liability claims, 13% were employers liability, and 69% were motor liability. (Source)
Road accidents claims* pertain to any type of injury sustained on the road by road users including motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Accidents include:
- Car accidents*
- Pedestrian accidents*
- Rear-end or side-impact collisions*
- Bicycle accidents*
- Motorcycle accidents*
- Accidents due to poorly maintained roads*
- Bus accidents*
- Hit and run Accidents*
- Accidents on the motorway*
- Passenger accidents*
Employers have a duty of care to their employees. If employees sustain an injury in the workplace due to the employer’s failure to fulfil this duty of care, the employee may raise a work accident* claim, also known as an employer liability* claim.
These may include:
- Construction site accidents*
- Farm accidents*
- Dangerous or faulty machinery accidents*
- Health and safety violations*
- Accidents caused by poor lighting*
- Ladder accidents*
- Repetitive strain injuries*
- Faulty personal protective equipment*
- Manual handling injuries*
Property and business owners, councils, and government bodies have a responsibility to ensure that any public space that they own is safe for public use.
If someone is involved in an accident in one of these spaces and sustains an injury because the area was not fit for public use, they would have grounds to raise a public claim.
Common public accident* claims include:
- Slips, trips and falls in public places*
- Car park accidents*
- Accidents caused by a poorly maintained footpath, public park or a hazardous public space*
- Food poisoning from a restaurant*
- Accidents caused by spillages or wet floors*
Common causes of these kinds of accidents include:
- Damaged pavements/footpaths
- Untreated roads, footpaths, cycle paths during winter
- Failure to display ‘wet floor’ signs in supermarkets
- Tripping over
Exceptions to the PIAB process
There are a couple of exceptions to the PIAB emit to assess all Personal Injuries* Actions.
For exclusive psychological or psychiatric injuries, the Board will not assess such claims. However, where there is a psychological or psychiatric element to a personal injury claim, it is often the case that the Board will proceed to make an assessment in this matter.
At Martin A. Harvey & Co. Solicitors, we have been helping people for decades to navigate personal injury* claims. If you have been injured due to someone else’s wrongdoing, we can help you with the claims process. Contact us on 021-496 3400 or email@example.com.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.
**Please note that the PIAB may allow you to take your claim straight to the courts without an assessment ‘if your injury consists wholly or in part of psychological damage which would be difficult to assess by means of PIAB’s assessment procedures’. (Source)