What is the Injuries Board?
* The Injuries Board, formerly known as PIAB, is a statutory body which was established under the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003. The function of the Injuries Board is to calculate the amount of compensation owing to a person who has suffered a personal injury in Ireland. The Injuries Board deals with all personal injury claims in Ireland, with the exception of medical negligence claims.
How does the Injuries Board operate?
When a person suffers a personal injury in Ireland and they wish to pursue a case for compensation, it is a legal requirement that you first submit a claim with the Injuries Board before you can seek recourse from the Courts.
The Injuries Board provides an assessment of compensation for personal injury claims brought by victims of accidents such as:-
1. Motor Accidents
2. Workplace Accidents
3. Public Liability Accidents
The Injuries Board will only assess a claim for compensation if the other party (the Respondent) does not dispute liability. The person responsible for your injury (the Respondent) will be asked for his/her consent to your assessment by the Injuries Board. In the event that the Respondent does not consent, liability becomes an issue. Therefore, you will be issued with an Authorisation which allows you to proceed with your claim through the court system. In the event that the Respondent simply ignores the request for consent, this failure to respond is deemed to be consent.
How do I apply?
The first step is to fill out Form A, which is the Injuries Board application form. It is essential that this form is filled out accurately as errors may be used against you at a later point in time. This is one of the reasons why we recommend that a solicitor be retained. A medical report will also need to be supplied by your treating doctor. These reports cost on average €350. A fee of €45 must also be submitted in order to process your application.
On average, claims are assessed by the Injuries Board within 7-9 months.
The Statute Of Limitations
The Statute of Limitations is the time within which the injured party (the Claimant) can issue proceedings. Once a person has been injured, they generally have two years from the date of the accident to make a claim. Once the Claimant makes an application to the Injuries Board, this stops the clock from running under the Statute of Limitations.
It is also a legal requirement that you notify the responsible party (the Respondent) within two months of the accident. Usually a solicitor will prepare the initiating letter on your behalf. The letter must set out, in detail, the allegations made against the Respondent i.e. what happened in the accident, the cause of the accident and why it is alleged that the Respondent is at fault. The letter must be sent by registered post to the Respondent. The content of the letter is important and this is another reason why we recommend that a solicitor be retained.
Once the Injuries Board receives an application, the Claimant will be issued with an application number. The person who is held responsible for the injury (the Respondent) will be notified of the claim. The Respondent then has 90 days to consent or decline an assessment. Failure to respond is deemed to be consent.
If the Respondent agrees to the assessment, the Respondent must pay a fee of €600. However, the Respondent’s insurer may agree to pay this fee on the Respondent’s behalf.
If the Respondent declines consent, the Injuries Board will issue you (the Claimant) with an Authorisation which allows you to proceed with your claim through the court system.
When the Injuries Board makes an assessment, you have 28 days to accept or reject this assessment. If you accept, you must notify the Injuries Board, in writing, of your intention to accept. If you do not reply within 28 days, you will be deemed to have refused the assessment made.
The Respondent has 21 days to accept/reject the assessment. If the Respondent does not reply within this time period, he/she will be deemed to have accepted the assessment.
If both parties accept the assessment an Order to Pay will be issued to the Respondent by the Injuries Board. If either party rejects the assessment, an Authorisation will be issued to the Claimant by the Injuries Board allowing the claim to be processed by the courts.
How much should I expect to receive?
Claims submitted to the Injuries Board are assessed using the medical evidence provided by the Applicant and Respondent and in some instances on the basis of medical reports commissioned by the Injuries Board directly from doctors. The assessment of compensation due to the Claimant is calculated by reference to the Book of Quantum. The Book of Quantum sets out guideline amounts for compensation in respect of particular injuries.
The advantages of having a solicitor on your side
The Injuries Board was established to assess the amount of damages a person should receive in respect of injuries suffered, without the necessity of court proceedings. A Claimant who does not seek legal advice from Cantillons Solicitors may be putting themselves at a disadvantage for a number of reasons:-
1. It is common for an insurance company to directly approach the Claimant within days after the accident in order to reach a quick settlement. At this stage the Claimant may not have an accurate picture of the true extent of the injuries sustained and may not be fully aware of his/her legal rights. Few Claimants know what sum of money they are entitled to. It is essential that you seek legal and medical advice before settling at this early stage as you may not receive adequate compensation for the injuries sustained.
2. As stated above, there are very strict guidelines under the Statute of Limitations concerning when a claim can be made. If you are unsure about the timeframe, you should contact Cantillons Solicitors who will immediately advise you on the time limits. If a Claimant waits for too long, their claim can become statute barred and he/she will not be able to claim compensation for the injuries suffered.
3. A question that is often asked when there are a number of persons responsible for your injuries is “who do I claim against?” The Injuries Board will not advise you on who you are to claim against and unless you get this right, it may delay your claim and again, run the risk of it becoming statute barred. Ernest J. Cantillon Solicitors can advise you on the correct person or company to claim against.
4. Cantillons Solicitors will draft the initiating letter to be sent to the Respondent in the correct format.
5. Cantillons Solicitors will ensure that the Injuries Board application and supporting documentation correctly and accurately represent the extent of the claim to be made.
6. Fortunately, accident victims usually have only one accident during the course of their lifetime. On the other hand, Cantillons Solicitors deal day in and day out with the consequences of accidents. Cantillons Solicitors thus have the necessary experience to guide the inexperienced claimant through the process. It must be remembered that the Respondent is likely to be insured and the insurance company are likely to have an array of expert advisors available to them. Those advisors are retained to minimise the payment out.
7. Finally, when an award is offered by the Injuries Board, it is hard to know whether to accept or decline this offer. Is it adequate to meet your current and future needs? It is essential that you do not accept any cheque, offer or proposal without first consulting Cantillons Solicitors who can advise you on the adequacy of the award or conduct negotiations on your behalf if necessary.
While it is possible to ‘DIY’ your personal injuries claim for compensation, it can be a very onerous task for people who are still suffering from the traumatic experience of suffering a personal injury. At Cantillons Solicitors, we can take that stress off your shoulders and handle a claim on your behalf to ensure you get the compensation that you deserve.
Contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at +353 (0)21 -4275673 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information.
* In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage of any award or settlement.