Under the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003, all Personal Injury* claims with the exception of medical or dental negligence must be submitted to the Injuries Board as a matter of course.
This statutory body was set up to offer a cost effective means of dealing with the majority of Personal Injury* cases and it routinely decides liability on a wide range of injuries. In 2015, from 33,561 applications, PIAB made 11,734 awards with 6,716 of those awards being accepted by claimants. The average award is €22,878 and cases take approximately seven months to process.
Monetary settlement amounts for all types of physical injuries are listed in a comprehensive document called the Book of Quantum. PIAB routinely awards applicants on the basis of the value of their injury in the Book of Quantum and the individual nature of their case as seen from the surrounding circumstances and medical reports. This is not an exact science and either side may reject the award with the option to take legal proceedings in order to settle the case.
There is also no obligation to instruct a solicitor and there is a facility to process the claim yourself on the PIAB website. The costs for making an application include a €45 application fee and usually a fee for requesting a medical form from your doctor.
A specialist Personal Injury* solicitor will be able to provide comprehensive advice on the strength of your case, the correct parties to sue and your chances of success. Just like in other areas of life, when you work with a professional who is an expert in their field, you have somebody to fight your corner. A specialist solicitor will perform a detailed appraisal of the circumstances of the injury, make further investigations as to who may have been at fault and begin the PIAB process on your behalf. Broadly speaking the process can be divided into 5 stages:
You’re required to obtain a medical report from your treating doctor. This will outline the injuries you have suffered and your current condition, and provide a prognosis for your recovery. Your solicitor can manage this aspect of your case for you.
An application is made by you or your solicitor to PIAB. You become known as the claimant. A medical report must be submitted along with documentation outlining all relevant details of the accident. You must identify and name the party or parties who you believe caused your accident. Those parties are known as the respondent(s).
PIAB will confirm receipt of your application and they will notify the respondent. The respondent will either agree or refuse to have the accident assessed. If the respondent agrees to the assessment, PIAB will propose an amount of compensation that the respondent must pay to settle your claim. Neither party is under an obligation to accept this amount. Where either rejects it, the claimant is entitled to take legal action in the ordinary way.
If the amount is accepted by both parties, the respondent issues a settlement cheque and the matter is closed.
If either party reject the amount, proceedings will be initiated by your solicitor. You become the plaintiff in the legal case and the respondent becomes the defendant. Depending on the expected value of your claim, the case may be heard in the District, Circuit or High Court. Further medical reports may be obtained by either side and exchange of documents may be agreed or ordered by the court. The case may still be settled at any time by your solicitor and negotiations can sometimes occur close to the hearing of the case in court. Mediation may be possible and PIAB recognise that this form of alternative dispute resolution is becoming more common. The High Court can compel the parties to come to a resolution by mediation whether they both consent or not.
Contact Sherwin O'Riordan's Personal Injury* Lawyers, Dublin.
We help clients throughout Ireland with the Personal Injury* process. Legal advice is available on +353 1 663 2000