The majority of claims do not start in court.* Generally, they are required by law to start with the Injuries Board — with the exception of Medical Negligence, some assault cases and some cases where the injury is wholly psychological. Many people who apply to the Injuries Board do so with the help of a solicitor. This ensures that the process runs as smoothly as possible from gathering of documents, medical reports and evidence to submission of the application to consideration of the Injuries Board compensation suggestion.
If you’ve been involved in an accident, the Injuries Board claims process generally consists of these steps:
1. Speak with a solicitor:
To start the process, you will need to provide the following information to your solicitor:
- A detailed description of the accident and how it happened.
- Pictures of the scene of the accident to show how it happened.
- Specific time and date of the accident.
- Was there any CCTV in operation where your accident happened? Your solicitor can request the owner of the CCTV to send over the recordings.
- Witness Details – was there any witnesses to the accident?
- Medical Reports – if you have copies of them to hand, if not your solicitor can request these from your doctor.
- Details of Loss of Earnings – how much wages have you lost as a result of the accident?
- Details of Medical History – did you have any medical conditions before the accident occurred?
- Claims History Details – have you made any personal injury claims in the past? Details of the party at fault for your accident. – it is of the utmost importance that you have correct party identified when making a claim.
- A list of any expenses you incur as a result of the accident (for example, medical costs, travel costs, home care costs or any other costs involved).
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2. Solicitor obtains a medical report
One of the most important documents in your case is a medical report. Your solicitor will ask for your doctor’s or hospital details so he can obtain a report on your injuries. This report will then be used to allow us progress your case
3. Solicitor prepares the Injuries Board application
Once your solicitor has gathered all information necessary, they will complete and submit the Injuries Board application form (Injures Board Form A) for you. Once submitted, the Personal Injuries Assessment Board will acknowledge receipt of this and will notify the person at fault of your claim. A copy of the application form and medical report will also be issued to the person at fault at this stage. Once submitted, the two year time limit clock will stop while your claim is being assessed.
4. Assessment & Offer
Injury Claim Assessment
Upon assessment of your claim, the Injuries Board will look at past personal injury cases and injuries similar to yours to determine how much compensation they will suggest. They do this by referring to the ‘Book of Quantum’. The Book of Quantum is a record of personal injury cases, specific injuries and how much they settled for. Use our compensation estimator to get an insight into how much you may be awarded for your injury.
Consideration of Injuries Board Offer
Having reviewed your claim, the Injuries Board will revert back to you with a suggested compensation amount. This would be then paid to you by the party at fault. You will then need to consider whether to agree to this or not. At this time, your solicitor will be able to advise you on the best route forward, but ultimately it will be your decision whether to accept this first offer or not.
There are two possible outcomes from this stage:
a. Both you and the party at fault accept the Injuries Board suggested settlement amount. The party at fault would be then ordered to pay this amount to you.
b. Either you or the party at fault does not accept the suggested settlement amount. Then you would move to issue court proceedings against the person at fault for your accident/injury.
Time Limit to Accept or Reject the Award
Once a suggested award has come through, the person making the claim (plaintiff) has 28 days to accept or reject the offer. The defendant (the person whom the claim is made against) has 21 days to accept or reject the offer made by the Injuries Board. It is important to note is that should the person making the claim fails to respond to the offer in 28 days, it will automatically be deemed to be rejected in the eyes of the Injuries Board.
Effect of Accepting the Award
Should both parties accept the award suggested by the Injuries Board, then the Injuries will issue an order to the person at fault to pay the settlement amount. Once this happens and the monies are paid over, the case is then deemed to be settled – full and final settlement, meaning that the person making the claim cannot return at a later date seeking further compensation.
Effect of Rejecting the Award
If one of the parties involved rejects the settlement suggestion by the Injuries Board the case will move to the next stage of the process, i.e. legal proceedings to move the case to court for a judge to decide the outcome. At this stage, you will work with your solicitor and they will issue legal proceedings to move the case along.
4. Settlement Outside Of Court
The majority of personal injury cases will settle outside of court. The reality is that if you move past the Injuries Board stage to legal proceedings that you will not have to step foot into a courtroom.
Before the hearing, settlement meetings may be arranged, meaning that you would meet with your legal team – Solicitor and Barrister – to start these talks. At the meetings, your legal team will communicate with the other side on your behalf, all the while keeping you up to date and informed of the progress and any updated settlement offers. Your legal team may come to an acceptable conclusion for you at these meetings if so, your case will then be concluded in full and final settlement there and then. If settlement talks do not result in an acceptable settlement amount, then your case will move to a court hearing where a Judge will make the final decision on your case.
5. Court Hearing
Most people are intimidated by the thought of going to court, but few personal injury claims ever go into court for a full hearing. If your case proceeds to court, your solicitor will do their best to ease your concerns. They will guide you through the experience to its conclusion.