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The Importance of Witnesses in Personal Injury Cases


In the aftermath of an accident, piecing together what happened can be challenging. While physical evidence and expert medical testimony are crucial, witnesses in personal injury claims often play a pivotal role in personal injury cases.

At Martin A. Harvey & Co., we understand the substantial impact that reliable witness statements can have on the outcome of a claim. This blog post explores the importance of witnesses in personal injury cases and provides practical tips on how to gather and utilise their information effectively.

The Power of Witness Statements:

  1. Corroborating Evidence:
    • Witnesses can corroborate your account of the events leading up to and during the accident. Their statements can help verify critical details that support your claim, adding credibility and weight to your case.
    • For example, in a car accident case, a witness might confirm that the other driver ran a red light, bolstering your claim of negligence.
  2. Providing Unbiased Accounts:
    • Unlike the parties directly involved in the accident, witnesses are typically third parties with no stake in the outcome of the case. This impartiality can make their testimonies particularly persuasive to judges and juries.
    • Their unbiased perspective can help paint a clearer picture of the incident, contributing to a fair and just resolution.
  3. Filling in the Gaps:
    • Witnesses can provide details you might have missed or were unable to observe due to the chaos of the accident. These additional pieces of information can be crucial in constructing a comprehensive narrative of the event.
    • They can describe the environment, the behaviour of those involved, and other contextual details that support your version of events.

Tips for Gathering Reliable Witness Information:

  1. Act Quickly:
    • The sooner you can gather witness information, the better. Memories fade over time, and the details of the incident can become less clear. Promptly collecting statements ensures that the information is as accurate and detailed as possible.
    • Immediately after the accident, try to identify and approach potential witnesses. Get their contact information and ask them to provide a written or recorded statement while the event is still fresh in their minds.
  2. Get Comprehensive Contact Information:
    • Ensure you collect full names, phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses from witnesses. This information will be essential for follow-up questions and for ensuring they can be contacted if needed during legal proceedings.
    • Having multiple ways to reach a witness can prevent losing crucial testimony due to changes in contact details.
  3. Ask Open-Ended Questions:
    • When speaking with witnesses, use open-ended questions to elicit detailed responses. Instead of asking, “Did you see the car hit me?” you might ask, “Can you describe what you saw leading up to the collision?”
    • This approach encourages witnesses to provide a fuller account, which can reveal important details you might not have considered.
  4. Record Their Statements:
    • Whenever possible, record witness statements. Written statements should be signed and dated by the witness. Video or audio recordings can also be incredibly useful, capturing the witness’s tone and demeanour.
    • Ensure that the recording is clear and that the witness agrees to be recorded. This recorded testimony can be a powerful piece of evidence in court.
  5. Verify the Witness’s Credibility:
    • Assess the reliability of the witness. Consider factors such as their proximity to the accident, their ability to observe the event clearly, and whether they have any potential biases or conflicts of interest.
    • Reliable witnesses are those in a good position to see the accident, are not closely related to any involved party, and have no reason to misrepresent the facts.


Witnesses in personal injury claims provide essential corroboration, unbiased perspectives, and detailed accounts that can significantly influence the outcome of a claim. 

At Martin A. Harvey & Co., we recognise witnesses’ critical role in building a strong case and strive to gather the most reliable and comprehensive witness information for our clients. 

If you’ve been involved in an accident and need help collecting and utilising witness statements, reach out to us today. Our experienced team of personal injury solicitors is dedicated to ensuring that every facet of your case is meticulously documented and presented, maximising your chances of a successful outcome.

How Personal Injury Claims Are Valued: Understanding Your Compensation

When you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, understanding how your personal injury claim valuation can feel like deciphering a foreign language. You might be wondering what aspects are considered and how they’re quantified.

At Martin A. Harvey & Co., we’re here to demystify this process so that you have a clear idea of how your compensation is calculated and what factors contribute to the final settlement amount. From medical expenses to pain and suffering, let’s break down the key elements that determine your personal injury claim’s value.

Breaking Down the Factors:

  1. Medical Expenses:
  • Direct Costs: One of the most significant components of a personal injury claim is medical expenses, including costs for ambulance rides, emergency room visits, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation services. Even future treatments and long-term care, if needed, should be accounted for.
  • Expert Medical Opinion: Expert testimony from healthcare professionals can help provide accurate estimates of future medical costs, which is essential if the injury requires ongoing care.
  1. Lost Wages and Earning Capacity:
  • Current Lost Wages: If your injury causes you to miss work, you’re entitled to compensation for those lost wages. These losses can add up quickly, whether it’s a few days or several months.
  • Future Earning Capacity: In cases of long-term or permanent disability, your ability to earn income might be diminished. Compensation should reflect the impact of the injury on your future earning capacity, calculated by estimating what you. would have earned had the injury not occurred.
  1. Pain and Suffering:
  • Physical Pain: This category compensates for the physical pain you endured due to your injuries. While there’s no fixed formula to determine these damages, factors like the severity of the injury and the length of recovery time are considered.
  • Emotional Distress: Personal injuries often lead to emotional and psychological challenges, such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Compensation for emotional distress acknowledges these less tangible yet significant effects.
  1. Loss of Consortium:
  • Personal injuries don’t just affect the injured person; they also impact close relationships. If the injury affects your relationship with your spouse or partner, they might be entitled to a loss of consortium claim, compensating for loss of companionship or affection.
  1. Property Damage:
  • If the incident involved property damage, such as a car accident, the cost to repair or replace damaged property can be included in the claim. This ensures you’re compensated for all related losses.
  1. Out-of-Pocket Expenses:
  • Small expenses like travel costs to medical appointments, home healthcare assistance, or child care while you’re recovering can also be claimed. They may seem minor individually but add up over time.
  1. Punitive Damages:
  • In cases where the at-fault party’s actions were particularly reckless or malicious, punitive damages might be awarded to punish them and deter similar behaviours in the future. These damages are rare but can significantly increase the total compensation amount.

A personal injury claim valuation is an intricate process that requires a comprehensive understanding of the various factors involved. At Martin A. Harvey & Co., we work diligently to ensure that no stone is left unturned when calculating your compensation, considering all aspects from immediate medical expenses to long-term emotional distress.

If you’re seeking compensation after an injury, contact us today. We’ll provide personalised guidance, ensuring your claim is accurately valued and advocating for the fair settlement you deserve.

The Invisible Wounds & Hidden Costs of Personal Injury

When we think of personal injury, images of physical wounds and medical treatments instantly come to mind. Yet, hidden beneath the surface, the psychological impact lingers, often going unnoticed and untreated. These psychological effects, coupled with hidden financial costs, can create a vortex of stress and uncertainty for victims. 

At Martin A. Harvey & Co., we recognise the magnitude of these challenges and the necessity of addressing them head-on. This comprehensive exploration sheds light on the psychological aftermath and the less obvious financial implications of personal injuries, advocating for a recovery process that acknowledges the full extent of a victim’s experience.

The Hidden Costs of Personal Injuries:

Understanding the Psychological Aftermath:

After a personal injury, the journey to recovery extends beyond physical healing. Victims often experience various psychological responses, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as a profound sense of loss. These emotional responses can disrupt daily life, relationships, and the ability to work, casting long shadows over the recovery process.

Recognising the Signs:

Identifying the psychological effects of personal injury can be difficult as they often manifest subtly and gradually. Symptoms can include persistent sadness, changes in sleep patterns, irritability, withdrawal from social interactions and a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities. Recognising these signs early is crucial for seeking appropriate care and support.

Navigating the Financial Quagmire:

Beyond the psychological toll, personal injuries unleash a cascade of hidden financial burdens on victims and their families. Medical bills, including hospital costs, for physical and psychological treatment can accumulate rapidly, compounded by the loss of income if the individual is unable to work. The cost of rehabilitation, potential home modifications for severe injuries, and long-term therapy or counselling can strain personal finances to the breaking point.

The Impact on Daily Life:

The psychological toll of personal injury can impact every corner of a victim’s life. It can transform routine tasks into daunting challenges, strain personal relationships and hinder professional ambitions. Moreover, the financial burden of seeking psychological support can add to the stress, creating a cycle that’s hard to break without proper assistance.

The Broader Economic Impact:

The financial strain of personal injury extends beyond immediate costs. Victims may face reduced earning potential, career setbacks or even job loss. Furthermore, the pursuit of mental health support and rehabilitation often necessitates substantial costs, not all of which is covered by insurance or compensation packages. The economic ripple effects can impact a victim’s quality of life for years after the injury occurs.

Navigating the Path to Recovery:

Recovery from the psychological impact of personal injury is a journey, one that requires patience, support, and professional guidance. At Martin A. Harvey & Co., we advocate for a holistic approach to personal injury claims, including compensation for psychological and physical rehabilitation. Access to psychological services, counselling, and therapy should be considered a right, not a luxury, for personal injury victims.

Advocating for Comprehensive Compensation:

Acknowledging and quantifying the psychological and financial ramifications of personal injuries is crucial in advocating for fair compensation. At Martin A. Harvey & Co., we work tirelessly to ensure that our clients’ claims encompass the full scope of their losses — both seen and unseen. Comprehensive compensation is not merely a legal victory; it’s a cornerstone of true recovery, providing the means for victims to access necessary treatments, support their families, and rebuild their lives with dignity.

Why Recognition and Compensation Matter:

Recognising and compensating for the psychological impact of personal injuries are not just legal matters; they are acknowledgements of the full extent of a person’s suffering. Adequate compensation ensures that victims can access the care and support they need to truly recover, helping them rebuild their lives with dignity and hope.


At Martin A. Harvey & Co., we understand that the wounds you can’t see are often the ones that cut the deepest. That’s why we’re committed to shining a light on the psychological impact of personal injury, advocating for comprehensive recognition and compensation for our clients. If you or a loved one are struggling with the hidden costs of a personal injury, remember, you’re not alone.

Our team is here to guide you through the complexities of your claim, ensuring that every aspect of your suffering is acknowledged and addressed. Let’s work together towards a future where the invisible wounds of personal injury are no longer overlooked, but fully healed.

What to Do Immediately After a Workplace Accident: A Comprehensive Guide

Workplace accidents can happen in any industry, and when they do, it’s essential to know what steps to take to protect yourself and your rights. At Martin A. Harvey & Co. solicitors, we understand the importance of acting swiftly and decisively after an accident occurs. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the top causes of workplace accidents and provide a comprehensive guide on what to do immediately after
experiencing one.

Top Causes of Workplace Accidents:
1. Slips, Trips, and Falls: These accidents are among the most common in the workplace and can occur due to wet floors, uneven surfaces, or cluttered walkways.
2. Machinery Accidents: Improper use or maintenance of machinery can lead to serious injuries, including crush injuries and amputations.
3. Overexertion: Lifting heavy objects or performing repetitive tasks can result in strains, sprains, and other musculoskeletal injuries.
4. Falls from Height: Working at elevated heights without proper safety measures in place can lead to devastating falls.
5. Vehicle Accidents: Employees who operate company vehicles are at risk of accidents both on and off the road.

You can read more about the top causes of workplace accidents here according to the HSA.

What to Do Immediately After a Workplace Accident:
1. Seek Medical Attention: Your health and safety should always be the top priority. If you’re injured in a workplace accident, seek medical attention immediately, even if your injuries seem minor.
2. Report the Accident: Notify your supervisor or employer about the accident as soon as possible. Be sure to provide detailed information about what happened and the extent of your injuries.
3. Preserve Evidence: If possible, take photographs of the accident scene and any visible injuries. Collect contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident occur.
4. Follow Doctor’s Orders: Adhere to the treatment plan prescribed by your healthcare provider. Failure to follow medical advice could jeopardise your recovery and any potential compensation claims.
5. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of your medical treatment, including doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, and any out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
6. Consult with an Attorney: It’s important to seek legal guidance following a workplace accident, especially if your injuries are severe. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and navigate the claims process.
7. Know Your Rights: Familiarise yourself with your rights as an injured worker, including your entitlement to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Workplace accidents can have serious consequences, but knowing what to do in the immediate aftermath can make all the difference. By following the steps outlined in this guide and seeking legal assistance when needed, you can protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to. Remember, you don’t have to navigate the aftermath of a workplace accident alone. We’re here to help.

If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, don’t wait to seek legal help. Contact Martin A. Harvey & Co. solicitors today. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers is here to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Medical Negligence in Ireland: Recognising Potential Cases and Seeking Legal Help

While we trust medical professionals with our health and well-being, unfortunately, sometimes mistakes happen. These mistakes can sometimes constitute medical negligence, leaving you with physical, emotional, and financial burdens.

Martin A. Harvey & Associates understands the sensitive nature of these situations and wants to empower you with information to recognise potential medical negligence and guide you towards seeking legal help if necessary.

What is Medical Negligence?

In Ireland, medical negligence occurs when a medical professional, through breach of duty of care, causes you harm. This breach could be:

  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis: Failing to correctly identify an illness, leading to delayed treatment and complications.
  • Surgical errors: Mistakes during surgery causing injury or complications.
  • Medication errors: Prescribing the wrong medication, dosage, or failing to consider allergies.
  • Failure to inform: Omitting information about risks or treatment alternatives, affects your ability to make informed choices.

Recognising Potential Cases:

Red flags that might indicate medical negligence include:

  • Unexpected outcomes: Experiencing complications or worsening symptoms after treatment.
  • Departures from standard practices: Questionable procedures or a lack of communication about treatment options.
  • Unsatisfactory explanations: Feeling dismissed or having concerns brushed aside by medical professionals.
  • Significant deterioration in health: A decline in health beyond the expected course of the illness.
  • Mounting medical bills: Unexpected or excessive charges due to complications or errors.

Seeking Legal Help:

If you suspect medical negligence, consult a legal professional specialising in personal injury law. We at Martin A. Harvey & Associates offer:

  • Free initial consultations: Discuss your case and understand your options without pressure.
  • Expert assessment: Evaluate the potential for a medical negligence claim based on facts and evidence.
  • Representation throughout the process: Guide you through legal complexities and advocate for your rights.
  • No win, no fee: You pay only if we secure compensation for your case.


  • Time is of the essence: There is a two-year time limit to commence legal proceedings in Ireland for medical negligence claims.
  • Seek expert advice: Consulting a qualified personal injury lawyer ensures your rights are protected and your case is presented effectively.
  • Don’t suffer in silence: You deserve compensation for the harm caused by medical negligence.

Contact Martin A. Harvey & Associates today for a free consultation. We are here to listen, guide, and fight for your rights.

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with a qualified legal professional for personalised guidance on your specific situation.

Martin A. Harvey & Associates is here to support you through this challenging experience. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.


+353-(0)21-4963400 / 4271006

Navigating the Path to Compensation: A Guide to Public Liability Claims

Public liability claims in Ireland are a common occurrence, arising from accidents that occur on premises owned or controlled by another party. The risk of these increases during the harsh winter months as slips, trips and falls on ice are more likely. 

Public liability claims can involve a wide range of injuries, from minor bumps and bruises to more serious physical and psychological trauma. If you have been injured in a public place due to the negligence of another party, you must understand the process of making a public liability claim. In this blog post, we discuss what public liability is, the criteria required to make a claim, the PIRB and the claims process.

What is Public Liability?

Public liability refers to the legal responsibility that an individual or organisation has to ensure the safety of others on or in their premises or while under their control. This duty of care extends to maintaining safe premises, providing adequate supervision, and taking reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable harm. When this duty of care is breached, and an individual suffers an injury as a result, they may have grounds for a public liability claim.

Key Elements of a Public Liability Claim

To establish a valid public liability claim, you must demonstrate the following elements:

  1. Duty of Care: The defendant owed you a duty of care to ensure your safety.
  2. Breach of Duty: The defendant breached this duty of care by failing to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable harm.
  3. Causation: Your injury was directly caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.
  4. Damage: You suffered a compensable injury as a result of the accident.

Initiating Your Public Liability Claim

The first step in pursuing a public liability claim is to seek medical attention promptly to assess your injuries and document your condition. Once you have received treatment, it is essential to gather evidence to support your claim. This may include:

  1. Photographs or videos of the accident scene and any injuries sustained,
  2. Medical records and bills,
  3. Witness statements from individuals who witnessed the accident,
  4. Any documentation related to the premises or activity that led to the accident.

The Role of the Personal Injuries Resolution Board (PIRB)

In Ireland, all non-medical negligence claims, including public liability claims, must first be submitted to the Personal Injuries Resolution Board (PIRB) for assessment. The PIRB is an independent body that provides a fair and impartial mechanism for resolving claims without the need for lengthy and expensive litigation.

PIRB Assessment Process

The PIRB assessment process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Compensation Questionnaire: You will complete a detailed questionnaire outlining the details of your accident, injuries, and losses.
  2. Medical Assessment: You may be required to undergo a medical assessment to assess the severity of your injuries and their impact on your life.
  3. PIRB Assessment: The PIRB will review your claim and medical assessment and issue an assessment offer, which may include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of earnings, and other expenses.

Seeking Legal Guidance

While the PIRB provides a valuable alternative to court proceedings, seeking legal advice from an experienced public liability solicitor is highly recommended. A solicitor can help you:

  1. Gather and organise evidence effectively.
  2. Navigate the PIRB assessment process.
  3. Evaluate your claim’s potential value and negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company.
  4. Represent you at PIRB hearings if necessary.
  5. Take your claim to court if the PIRB assessment is unsatisfactory.


Public liability claims can be complex, and seeking legal guidance early on can significantly improve your chances of success. Martin A. Harvey Solicitors has a team of experienced public liability solicitors dedicated to assisting individuals in pursuing fair and just compensation for their injuries. We understand the challenges you may be facing and are committed to providing personalised and effective legal representation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.


+353-(0)21-4963400 / 4271006

Navigating Winter Personal Injury Risks

As winter descends upon the Lee, our beloved city is transformed into a serene winter wonderland. However, along with the beauty of the season comes a set of unique challenges that can pose risks to your safety. Below, we explore the potential winter personal injury risks and discuss the essential steps to take if you find yourself facing an unfortunate incident.

Understanding Winter Risks:
1) Slippery Surfaces: The most prevalent risk during winter is the presence of icy and slippery surfaces. Whether you’re walking on the street, on private property, or even your own home, the chances of slipping and falling increase significantly with the presence of frost, ice and black ice.

2) Road Accidents:Icy roads, reduced visibility, and unpredictable weather conditions make winter a high-risk season for road accidents. Drivers and pedestrians alike need to exercise extra caution and look out for each other to ensure we all get home safely this Christmas.

3) Weather-Related Accidents: Harsh weather conditions such a storms heavy rain and snowfall can contribute to accidents like falling branches or collapsing structures.

Steps to Take After a Winter Injury:
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having suffered a personal injury due to one of the risks above or by any other means, it is important that you do the following.

However, it is important to note that before you embark on a case, you must be able to identify who is at fault and that your injury could have been prevented if proper care had been given. For example, if you slip on ice in a city centre footpath, the council would have a duty of care to keep the area
clear of ice.
Seek Medical Attention: Your health is of utmost importance. If you’ve suffered a winter-related injury, seek medical attention promptly. Not only is this crucial for your well-being, but it also establishes a medical record of your injuries that can be referenced as proof of injury at a later stage.

1) Document the Scene: If possible, document the scene of the incident. Take photographs of hazardous conditions, such as icy sidewalks or poorly maintained areas, as this visual evidence can be crucial for your personal injury claim.

2) Collect Witness Information: If there were witnesses to your accident, obtain their contact information. Their statements may serve as valuable evidence in establishing the circumstances
surrounding your injury and will support your personal injury claim.

3) Report the Incident: Inform the relevant authorities about the incident. This is especially important for accidents on public property, such as footpaths, roads or any other public area. It ensures that the appropriate parties are aware of the potential hazards and should do something to prevent any further injury.

4) Preserve Evidence: Keep any relevant evidence, such as your footwear, clothing, or objects involved in the incident. These items may become essential when building your case and be used as case

5) Contact a Personal Injury Solicitor: If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of others or unsafe conditions, consult with a personal injury solicitor. The team of legal professionals and personal injury experts at Martin A. Harvey & Co. will assess the viability of your claim, guide you through the legal process, and help you seek compensation for your injuries and related expenses.

While the winter months are a special time of the year, it’s essential to navigate the season with caution. By understanding the potential risks and taking proactive steps in the event of an injury, you can better protect yourself and your rights. If you find yourself facing the aftermath of a winter-related personal injury, our team of experienced solicitors is here to provide the guidance and support you need to navigate the legal process successfully.

Stay safe, stay vigilant, and enjoy the beauty of winter responsibly. Should you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at maharvey@martinharvey.ie or +353-(0)21-4963400 / 4271006.

Public Liability – Accidents in a Public Place

As the summer months loom, many of us will be spending a lot more time out of doors, attending public events and places to enjoy the warmer and drier weather. With these activities comes a certain amount of risk, which can unfortunately result in accident or injury. If you have had an accident in a public place or at a public event, and have been injured due to the negligence of a third party, you may be eligible to make a personal injury claim. These types of situations might include the following. 

Swimming pools 

Public swimming pools are extremely popular during the summer months, but unfortunately public liability accidents are quite common in this setting as a number of accidents are liable to happen. These circumstances could include:

  • Slips, trips and falls, injuries in and around the pool area
  • Injuries in the pool as a result of the depth not being properly signposted or broken tiles
  • Injuries incurred on waterslides that are not up to standard 

Parks and Amusement Parks 

With the good weather, many of us will flock to our local parks to enjoy the Irish summer while we can. Unfortunately it is all too easy for a day at the park to go wrong. Playgrounds in particular can lead to a variety of accidents and injuries on the play equipment or even a trip or fall. Other incidents in parks might be caused by uneven pathways or hazardous objects left out in walking areas. There may also be building or maintenance works which have not been cleared away properly. 

Public Events: Concerts, Music Festivals, Festivals and Sporting Events 

Events like concerts and festivals are extremely popular during the summer months, with more and more new events being organised every year. With so many attendees in one space, overcrowding can be a major issue. Issues can arise as a result of insufficient or a lack of crowd control, poorly installed barriers, lack of security personnel to manage situations, insufficient lighting, or a lack of maintenance and cleaning staff to keep areas free from hazards such as spills or wet floors. 

In many cases there could be a number of parties who could be involved in organising the event, such as the event managers or organisers, security companies, concessionary suppliers or equipment-hire companies. Your solicitor will carry out enquiries to establish the party at fault for your injury. 

What should you do if you have suffered an injury in a public place or at a public event?

If you have had an injury as a result of an accident in a public place or at a public event, the first thing you should do is to seek the appropriate medical attention. 

If the accident occurred in a public space or at an event, it’s important that you note the names of those you have reported the accident to, along with the company they report to. You should also gather as much evidence as soon as possible after the accident, as this will be important if the third party claims contributory negligence – meaning that the plaintiff is responsible for their own injuries. Photographs and videos of the area or hazard will be important for your claim. If there are any third party witnesses, you should also try to get their contact details. You should only gather this information if doing so will not aggravate your injury. 

At Martin A. Harvey & Co. Solicitors, we have been helping people for decades to navigate personal injury* claims. If you have had an accident in a public place or at a public event, and 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)

What to do after a car accident

Being involved in a car or road-traffic accident can be a frightening experience, and might leave you quite shaken for some time, in addition to any injuries you might suffer. In the moment, it can be quite difficult to think clearly due to shock. However, by law, there are some actions that you need to take – and others that are advisable for your own safety and insurance purposes. 

What to do if you have been involved in a road traffic accident

If you have been involved in a motor collision, Section 106 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 sets out some actions you will need to take.

First of all: 

  • You should stop the car as soon as possible – it is an offence not to do so. If your vehicle is still moving, pull over as soon as you can. You should then turn off the engine and switch on your hazard lights. 
  • Check yourself and your passengers to ensure everyone is safe. If anybody has been hurt, you should call 999 if necessary. You should try to take some deep breaths and keep calm as much as you can so that you can take stock of the situation. 
  • It’s important that, in the aftermath of the accident, you do not admit fault or apologise until you know exactly what happened – this can protect you from liability if the accident was not your fault. 

What next?

If the collision is serious, do not move the cars. However if it is minor and the cars involved are blocking the road, or causing a danger to other road users, mark their position on the road and then move them. Take photos of the scene of the collision – especially if you are moving the vehicles.  Be aware that damaged cars may be leaking fuel. 

Try to warn oncoming traffic of the accident if it is safe to do so. You could turn on your hazard lights, or if you have a reflective advance-warning triangle then place it on the road far enough from the scene of the collision to give enough warning to approaching traffic. If the collision has occurred near a bend in the road, make sure you’re giving warning to traffic on both sides of the bend. 

You should notify An Garda Siochána as soon as possible, and they may attend the scene of the collision. If a Garda is present at the scene of the collision, you must provide them with the information that they request from you. This could include: 

  • Your name and address, the address at which your car is kept, the name and address of the car’s owner, the car’s registration number, and motor insurance details. 

If a Garda is not present, you must report the accident as soon as you can to a Garda who is nearby or at a Garda station, no more than 24-hours later. 

Gather your information

Get the names, address and telephone numbers of any witnesses – these may be required if a question of liability arises. You should also get the name or number of the Garda to whom the collision is reported. Write down what happened as soon as you can and sign and date your account (including the time) once it’s completed. This will help you to keep your report clear and as accurate as possible and include as much detail as you can: what sort of damage was caused, what were the driving conditions like, what was the time and date of the crash are just a few thought starters. 

Uninsured or unidentified cars: If you wish to claim compensation where you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or unidentified car, you will need to contact the Motor Insurer’s Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).

Making a claim 

If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to make a personal injuries claim. Your first step in this process should be to contact your solicitor, who will advise as to whether your claim is valid, and your options in proceeding with the claim. 

For a claim to be successful, fault must be determined. In situations where blame is not clear, there are laws such as the Rules of the Road which will determine fault. Where both parties are somewhat responsible, ‘contributory negligence’ will come into play. You should speak to your solicitor if this is the case. And even if the other driver is not disputing liability for the accident, it’s always best to speak with your solicitor if you were injured in a road traffic accident. 

Road accidents happen in a blink-of-an-eye, but your reaction to them should be informed and considered. If you have been in a road accident or 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.

What is the Personal Injury Assessment Board?

In our blog on Personal Injury Claims, we discussed the Personal Injury Assessment Board (PIAB) – the statutory body that assesses personal injury claims. But just what is the PIAB and what do you need to know about it if making a personal injury claim?

What is the Personal Injury Assessment Board?

The PIAB is an independent statutory body, to which all personal injury claims in Ireland must be submitted. This does not include medical negligence claims. The purpose of the PIAB is to provide an independent assessment of personal injury claims for compensation following incidents such as road traffic accidents, workplace accidents and public liability accidents.  

According to Citizens Information, claims are usually assessed approximately seven months from the point when respondents consent to having the claim assessed. In court, this can take up to 36 months.

How do I make an application to the Personal Injury Assessment Board? (PIAB)
While you can make an application to the Injuries Board without the assistance of a solicitor, it is recommended by the Law Society of Ireland that members of the public should use a solicitor in their dealings with the PIAB, as a competent personal injury solicitor will be experienced with the application process and all of its various requirements. This will also ensure that your claim will progress smoothly and in an efficient manner.

1. Your first step in making an application to the PIAB should be to speak with a personal injury solicitor, who will be able to provide you with the information that is required to submit your application. They will then prepare your file and gather all required information. The following details are usually required to complete your application: 

  • Details of the accident;
  • Details of the injuries you have suffered, including evidence such as photographs;
  • Details of any previous injuries, conditions or accidents you have been involved in;
  • A list of the expenses that you have incurred as a result of this accident, such as your medical bills;
  • A description of the person who is at fault.

It’s extremely important that you identify the correct person at fault when you are making your application. If you have identified someone to be at fault, and the PIAB does not agree with your identification of the person at fault, then the accused person can apply for an order of costs to be issued. This means that you will be obliged to pay their legal fees. 

It’s also vital that your form is completed correctly as there will be no opportunity to amend or re-submit it. 

2. A medical report will be a key part of your claim as it will confirm the details of your injuries. Your solicitor can request this from the medical professional that treated you, and it should include a prognosis, estimated time for recovery and details of any treatments that are necessary for your case.

In cases where a psychological injury has been sustained, your solicitor will request a report from the psychologist that treated them.

3. Form A

  1. Once your solicitor has received your medical report, they will have all of the information needed to start processing your application to the PIAB. They should now start completing what is called a ‘Form A’, which will be submitted with copies of your medical reports and other relevant documentation. 

Online applications cost €45, and the submission of postal or email forms cost €90.

The PIAB will confirm with you once they have received your application. They will issue a reference number for your application, notify the person / company of your personal injury claim against them and also send them a copy of your application form and relevant medical reports.

4. Your claim will then be assessed by the PIAB, and they will make their decision. If their conclusion is in your favour, then the PIAB will suggest a compensation amount to be paid by the party at fault. You cannot negotiate this offer – only accept or reject it. The next steps in your claim are determined by your mutual agreement (with the person deemed at fault) or your disagreement on the compensation amount. You will have 28 days to make this decision.

  • If you both agree to the compensation amount, the PIAB will issue an ‘Order to Pay’ which orders the person at fault to pay the compensation due to you;
  • If one or both of you do not agree to the suggested compensation amount, then you will be issued with an Authorisation to move the claim forward and issue legal proceedings to resolve the matter. 

PIAB Time Limits

The PIAB has a period of nine months from the date they receive your application to assess your claim. If this is not possible, you will be contacted by the PIAB with a request for an extension. 

If there has not been an agreement on the PIAB’s assessment of your case, you will be issued with an Authorisation to move to Court proceedings. You will have six months from this date to issue legal proceedings to bring the personal injury claim to court. 

Claimants have a two-year time limit from when the accident occurred to make a personal injury claim. If you do not start the claims process within this period, your claim will not be enforceable. 

However, in some cases a person may not know they have been injured. If this is the case, the two-year limit will start from the time that the person becomes aware of their injuries. 

What type of accidents are dealt with by the PIAB?

Road Traffic Accidents: this includes anything from car, truck, and bus accidents, to motorcycle and bicycle accidents, and even accidents involving pedestrians. 

Accidents at Work: these types of accidents usually include slip, trip and falls at work; injuries incurred through manual handling or from hazardous environments; or repetitive strain injuries to name a few. 

Accidents in a Public Place: also called Public Liability Claims, these types of accidents can include slip, trip and fall incidents in public places such as a shopping centre, public park, shops, on a pavement or footpath, or on someone’s property. 

Exceptions to the PIAB process

It’s important to note that there are a number of injuries that are not assessed by the PIAB. These include: 

  • Medical negligence (read more here);
  • Assault claims; 
  • Cases where the injuries sustained are solely psychological. However where there is a psychological / psychiatric element to a personal injury claim, the PIAB will likely proceed in their assessment. 

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

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)

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