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What is a Personal Injury Claim?

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*

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*

Work 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*

Public Claims*

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 maharvey@martinharvey.ie.

*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)

Workplace Accident Claims: Know Your Rights

At Martin Harvey & Co. Solicitors, we are experts in personal injury claims, so we know that whether you are working on site or from home, work-related accidents are a significant concern.

In 2020, 7,417 non-fatal incidents were reported to the Health and Safety Authority, 96.3% of which were related to workers.

Of these reported incidents, the most common triggers were:

  • Internal injury due to manual handling
  • Slipping or falling
  • Loss of control of object, machine, vehicle, etc.
  • Aggression, shock, or violence
  • Body movement leading to an external injury, such as a cut or bruise

Consistent with these findings, is the fact that the back is the most commonly injured area for workers, making up 20.4% of injuries. (Source)

What to do if you experience a work-related injury

If you experience an accident at work or on your way to work, you should report it to your employer. If you are absent for three consecutive days (excluding the day on which the accident occurred), your employer should report this to the Health & Safety Authority.  For a full rundown on when and how employers should report these incidents, see this guide from the Health & Safety Authority.

Your employer has a duty to ensure your health and safety, including the provision of a risk-free workplace, adequate training, and proper facilities. (Source) Some workplace accidents occur due to negligence on the employer’s part if they do not adhere to health and safety legislation and fulfil their duty of care. 

If you do not have grounds to raise a workplace accident claim against your employer, there are several potential means of obtaining financial assistance in the event of a workplace injury. Your employment contract will tell you whether you can avail of paid sick leave. Note that your employer has no legal obligation to provide this to you. Alternatively, you may be able to avail of the Occupational Injuries Scheme, or, depending on the extent of your injury, illness benefit or disability allowance. (Source)

If you can prove negligence or a lack of fulfilment of legal obligations on the part of your employer, you can raise a workplace accident claim against them. To support your claim, it is important to document the incident. Determine if there were any witnesses or CCTV in operation at the scene of the accident. Seeking medical attention once the injury has occurred will also provide you with medical records to support your claim. In some cases, the employer may try to prove that the injured party holds some responsibility for the accident, which is called contributory negligence. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to seek advice from a solicitor, who can guide you through the claims process and ensure that you are awarded the rightful amount of compensation.

At Martin A. Harvey & Co. Solicitors, we are specialists in the area of workplace accidents. We can provide professional advice with respect to your injuries and your particular rights regarding out of pocket expenses and the loss of your wages. Contact our team using our contact form on 021 496 3400 freephone or email us at maharvey@martinharvey.ie.

Making a Personal Injury* Claim: Step by Step

Sustaining a personal injury can be a traumatic experience. 

Whether you are subject to a road traffic accident*, a slip or fall in a public place*, or casualty in the workplace*, you may experience many forms of trauma including physical and psychological pain.**

If you have been involved in an accident wherein you received an injury due to the negligence of another person or entity, you may want to seek compensation by making a personal injury* claim. Read on to find out what steps you should take.

For an introduction to personal injury* claims, read our Complete Guide to Personal Injury* Claims.

Speak With a Solicitor

Making a claim can be a lengthy and complex process, with numerous strict stipulations. For this reason, your first step in making a claim should be to consult a solicitor, who will look out for your best interests and protect your rights. They will also provide help and guidance in submitting your application, procuring your medical report, and providing advice on whether you should accept or reject the assessment made by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB). If you take your claim to court, they can arrange for the necessary court proceedings to be drafted and act as your legal representation.

Contact the Responsible Party

You must contact the responsible party, a.k.a. the respondent, in writing within one month of the accident, advising them of the accident and resulting injury. If you do not do this within one month, your PIAB application may not be affected, but it may infringe on your case if you end up taking it to court. The respondent must consent to the PIAB assessment within 90 days of your notice. If the respondent does not want the claim to be reviewed by the PIAB, you may take the claim to court. (Source)

Establish Your Medical History

As part of your application, the PIAB will need to review a medical report. (Source) This report can be provided by the medical practitioner who treated the injury in question. If you are unable to submit a medical report along with your claim application, you can ask your doctor for a note with details of your injury. You can also opt to submit a copy of your hospital admission records. If none of these options are possible, you can still submit your application on its own and send the medical report later. However, please note that you must submit all documentation (application, medical report, and fee) within two years of sustaining the injury. (Source) Before assessing your claim, the PIAB may carry out an independent medical examination. (Source)

Fill Out a Personal Injury* Claim Application

As mentioned, personal injury* claims should be sent to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB), apart from cases of medical negligence.** The PIAB is an independent statutory body that assesses “personal injury claims for compensation following road traffic, workplace or public liability accidents.” (Source)

To submit your claim, you can go to piab.ie to fill out the application form. You may submit the form online or by post.

Submit Your Application

When submitting the form, you must include the processing fee. As mentioned, if you have medical documentation at that point, include this with your application. If you have made any financial losses due to the accident, you must include receipts of this with your application. You can also include any other documentation that you deem relevant. (Source)

Remember that you must make the claim within two years of the date on which you sustained the injury, per the Civil Liabilities and Courts Act 2004. (Source)

Receive a Decision on Your Claim

Once the respondent permits the claim to be assessed by the PIAB, it will take ‘just over 7 months’ on average for a decision to be made. If your claim is taken to court, it may take up to 36 months. For claims assessed after 24 April 2021, the PIAB refers to the Personal Injuries Guidelines as a guideline for awarding personal injury* claims. (Source)

It is usually the respondent’s insurers that are responsible for paying compensation if the claim is awarded. (Source) If either you or the respondent does not accept the award provided by the PIAB, the case may be taken to court. (Source)

If you would like assistance regarding a personal injury* claim, 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.

**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)

What to do after an accident in a public place

In recent months we have all been keen to make better use of the great outdoors and enjoy outdoor dining. With many new activities, pedestrian areas and outdoor dining spots opening up, this has meant that the rate of personal injuries and accidents occurring in public places is rising. 

At Martin A. Harvey, as one of the top personal injury firms in Ireland, we have been successful in securing compensation for clients who have had an accident or suffered an injury in a public place.

If you have been injured or had an accident in a public place, you should: 

  • Request that the owner of the property or an employee report the accident and document the circumstances, and provide you with a copy of this report;
  • Take photos where possible / if appropriate. Make sure you take as many as you can with varying angles to ensure a full picture can be obtained on review;
  • If you have been injured, make sure you seek medical help;
  • Speak to a solicitor.

If you feel that another party may be at fault following your accident, you should consider: 

  1. Did your accident happen in a public place?

This is the most important question you should establish – understanding the environment in which you were injured is vital in establishing who will be held responsible for your injury. By definition, a public place is: 

Any area that is intended for use by members of the public such as a road, outdoor area, vehicle that is carrying persons, or any premises that you have been granted access to by express or implied permission. 

Examples of these usually include pathways, roads and parks that are poorly maintained or have uneven surfaces, are littered with potholes or have obstructions on access routes.

  1. Was your accident avoidable?

For a claim to success, you or your legal team must prove that the accident was avoidable, ie: that the organisation in charge of the facility failed to keep the area free of danger to those using it. To prove negligence on behalf of the property administrator, you will need to demonstrate: 

  1. That the Local Authority or organisation had an obligation to the public to a) not to do anything or b) failed to anything that would cause you to be injured; 
  2. The Local Authority or organisation consciously made a decision that resulted in these points;
  3. It could be reasonably expected that an accident would occur as a result of this;
  4. That the Local Authority or organisation did not operate the standard of conduct to be expected, thus resulting in the injury.

No matter the circumstance of your accident, personal injuries specialists Martin A. Harvey & Co. are ready and available to provide legal advice that will ensure the best result for you. As a small team, you will be greeted with a friendly and personal service.

Call today (021) 427 1006, freephone 1800 396 396 or email maharvey@martinharvey.ie. We look forward to helping you.

Back to Work & Workplace Accidents

BACK TO WORK – ACCIDENTS IN THE WORKPLACE ON RETURN FROM POST COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

Under the Health & Safety at Work regulations in Ireland there are very clear obligations for employers to ensure the safety of staff and visitors on their premises and prevent workplace accidents.

If you are an employer, you have legal obligations to safeguard all people in your workplace. There are health and safety rules covering a wide range of issues such as the use of computers in the workplace, regulations on working with hazardous materials, construction regulations, manual handling regulations and many others.

Nervous about returning to work?

There is a need for increased vigilance when it comes to implementing health and safety procedures for employees soon returning to work. Hazard audits may not have been carried out during lockdown and there has certainly been reduced consultation between employers and employees in regards to real and perceived hazards.

The implementation of safety procedures to minimise new hazards has been sporadic, inconsistent or non-existent as a result of lockdown. Furthermore, resuming normal workplace activities after such a long period of enforced inactivity may result in a significantly altered workplace and new dangers and hazards. This comes with an increased risk around health and safety policy, procedures, and hazard audits.

It is at times like this, when we are most likely to forget about safety audits, that we must remember to proceed with them the most.

3 Easy Steps for Employers

Here are some simple steps that employers should consider in order to ensure that they are putting the safety of staff and visitors first.

1) Consideration should be given to possible changes in the workplace with an emphasis on new hazards. Carry out a full safety audit and hazard audit, ergonomic review and brief all employees before recommencing work.

2) After such prolonged absence, all staff should be refreshed on existing health and safety procedures, and updated on new health and safety procedures. These procedures will come about following the safety and hazard audit

3) New procedures and health & safety measures identified in the hazard audit of the new or enhanced work environment should be discussed fully with employees, and should be implemented comprehensively .

Had a workplace accident ?

Doctor’s appointments to attain medical reports for the Injuries Board process can be difficult to organise at the moment, but we can help you to arrange a medical review. The Injuries Board will accept applications filed by applicants or their injury solicitor without a medical report, which will help to speed up your case.

If you’ve experienced an injury in the workplace, please feel free to contact us here at Martin A. Harvey & Co. Solicitors on 021-4963400 freephone or email us at maharvey@martinharvey.ie.

The Complete Guide to Personal Injury Claims

Thousands of personal injury claims are made in Ireland each year. Road or motoring accidents are the most common – accounting for 70% of all claims in 2018. But what is a personal injury* claim? And what does the application process entail?

At Martin A. Harvey & Co. Solicitors, we have been helping people for decades to navigate personal injury* claims. This guide is designed to help you to know what to expect during the claims process.

If you have an injury claim case for compensation, please contact us and one of our expert team will help to determine if you have a valid case.

What is a personal injury* claim?

A personal injury* claim refers to the legal action taken by a person after they have been involved in an accident or injured because of the actions or negligence of another person or entity. A claim seeks compensation for the accident or injury such as damages, cost of medical care, loss of wages due to missed work, and psychological trauma.

If you have been involved in an accident where you have suffered injuries as a result of somebody else’s wrong doing, then you may be entitled to make a claim.

Types of personal injury* claims

Most cases will fall under one of the following common personal injury* claim types:

Road Accidents*

Road accidents claims* are any type of accident or injury sustained on the road by road users including motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Some examples of these types of claims are:

  • 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*

Work Accidents*

Work accident* claims (also known as employer liability* claims) refer to any accident or injury sustained in the workplace as a direct result of the negligence of the employer or fellow employees. Some common accidents or injuries at work 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*

Public Claims*

Public claims (also known as public liability* claims) refer to any accident or injury sustained in a public place as a result of improperly maintained as a safe environment for public use. 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*

Who is involved with a claim?

The Claimant

The Claimant, also known as the Plaintiff, is the injured party making a claim.

The Respondent

The Respondent, also known as the Defendant, is the person or entity who the Claimant holds responsible for the accident or injury.

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) is an independent statutory body that deals with personal injury* claims. All personal injury* claims in Ireland (except for cases involving medical negligence) must be submitted to the PIAB.

The PIAB provides an independent assessment of personal injury* claims for compensation following road traffic, workplace or public liability accidents. If the person you hold responsible for your injury (the Respondent) does not want the PIAB to assess your claim for compensation, you can take your claim to court.

The Solicitors

A solicitor will help look out for your best interest, protect your rights and help provide an accurate picture of the true extent of your injuries and suffering (physical and psychological) either now, or in the future.
They will:

  1. Take detailed instruction from you
  2. Uplift a Comprehensive Medical Report from your treating physician
  3. Prepare and submit a complete Application with the PIAB
  4. Provide the necessary advice as to whether a PIAB Assessment should be accepted or rejected
  5. If necessary, arrange for the necessary Court proceedings to be drafted and then represent you in Court

The Insurers

The Respondent’s insurers are typically who is responsible for the payment of an awarded compensation.

How to make a claim

  1. Speak with a solicitor
  2. Contact the responsible party
  3. Establish your medical history
  4. Fill out an Injury Claim Application
  5. Submit application
  6. Awarding of claim

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 injuries claim, it is often the case that the Board will proceed to make an assessment in this matter.

The PIAB is also not empowered to deal with medical negligence claims as these are excluded the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003 as amended.

In general, if a case is complicated in terms of injuries or indeed liability, then the Board will often exercise its discretion and refuse to deal with the case as they are constrained by time limitations.

FAQs about Personal Injury* Claims

How do I know if I have a claim?

Our team of personal injury* specialists can help advise about your case. We will take the time to learn about you and the situation and make sure you understand your rights.

Generally, to be eligible for a claim, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You have been in an accident or injured where someone else is at fault
  • The accident needs to have happened within the last two years

What type of claims are not assessed?

PIAB does not assess the following claims:

  • Medical negligence claims*
  • Assault claims*
  • Cases, where the injuries sustained, are wholly psychological

PIAB may also decline claims where there are complexities arising from pre-existing medical conditions.

Do I have to instruct a solicitor to make a claim?

No, you are not legally obligated to instruct a solicitor to make a personal injuries* claim. However, suffering from a personal injury can be a very traumatic experience. It can take many forms including physical injury and pain and psychological pain such as fear, anxiety, depression, reduced vitality and psychiatric illness.

This pain and suffering is often ignored by insurance companies if approached directly in order to reach a quick settlement. A solicitor will help look out for your best interest, protect your rights and provide an accurate picture of the true extent of your injuries and suffering either now, or in the future.

Is there an application fee?

There is a fee to submit the application to the PIAB and a fee for

How much are legal fees?

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

How long will it take?

On average, claims made to the PIAB are assessed in just over 7 months from when the Respondent consents to have the claim assessed by the PIAB. Personal injury claims taken in the courts can take up to 36 months.

Are there time limits?

Yes, there is a certain window of time in which to make a personal injury* claim following an accident. A Claimant must notify the Respondent within one month of their intent to make a claim. Then, a person has two years less one day from the date of knowledge of their injury to bring a claim forward.

What is the date of knowledge?

The date of knowledge refers to the date on which the injured person gained knowledge of the following facts. In many cases, the date of knowledge will be the day of the accident if the injuries are immediately noticeable. However, in some cases, an injury or illness may not manifest for some time after the accident. In these cases, the date of knowledge is the date they found out they were injured.

The law is different for persons under the age of 18. In law these persons are called minors and the Rules in terms of taking claims and time restrictions are much easier for minors than they are for persons over the age of 18 who are deemed to be legal adults.

A person under the age of 18 has two years from the date of their 18th birthday to take a claim for personal injuries* arising out of an accident during their minority.

What are the award amounts?

The Book of Quantum is a general guide to the amounts that may be awarded, and legislation requires PIAB to regard it when assessing claim values. The Book of Quantum give us a guideline of a value for the injury you have sustained, but there are other factors that may be taken into account when making a claim, such as:

  • Loss of earnings, past and future
  • Medical bills, past and future
  • Other out of pocket expenses, for example, travel costs

Your solicitor will help you interpret the PIAB assessment and together you may come to a decision. Important to note is that you have the final say in whether to settle the case at this stage.

What is Contributory Negligence?

Contributory negligence is when the Claimant is found to have contributed to the situation which caused the accident or increased the severity of their injuries. This will reduce the potential award amount. Consulting an experienced solicitor can help minimise contributory negligence that may prevent you from receiving the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.

Get Started on a Claim

In respect of Personal Injuries* Litigation, our expertise at Martin A Harvey & Co. Solicitors range in the following circumstances:

  • Accidents at work/workplace accidents*
  • Local authority claims / trip-and-fall cases*
  • Road traffic accidents*
  • Fatal injuries actions*
  • Garda compensation cases*
  • Nervous shock / post-traumatic stress cases*
  • Criminal Injury Compensation Tribunal*

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.

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