Accidents & Personal Injury Claims

Thomas Barry & Co personal injury claims

Have you been involved in a motor accident, a work related mishap or an accident in a public place? You may have been the victim of medical negligence. Are you suffering a physical or psychological injury? Do you find yourself having to spend money on medical or other bills? Are you suffering a loss of income due to an accident? 

If you require advice on any of these areas or on an area not listed please submit the quick Personal Injury enquiry form or ring +353 1 677 3434. Information on non personal injury litigation, claims and disputes can be found by clicking here.

Accident victims are entitled to compensation for personal injury*, loss of earnings, damage to property or vehicles, medical expenses and any other loss resulting from an accident. We can help whether through negotiating a settlement, through the Injuries Board (PIAB) or through court.

It is always advisable to seek our advice promptly. There is usually a limitation period within which legal claims can be made. Even if you do not intend to make a claim it is still in your interest to have the facts recorded, to consult and be advised. Memory fades and stories and circumstances can change.

Having acted for claimants, defendants and insurance companies for more than 25 years we know both sides of the fence. Home or hospital visits are available for clients with serious injuries and first consultations are free.

Plain Answers to Your Key Questions

Do I Have A Claim?

Very often the position is clear from the outset. In other cases further investigation is required. Once we have gone through your case in detail we will give you considered advice as to whether we think you have a claim.

How Long Will The Case Take?

This varies from case to case. The main factor is usually how long it takes to make a full medical recovery or for a final prognosis to become clear. While we work towards as early finalisation as possible we do not believe our clients should sell themselves short by settling too soon. The general rule in injury cases is that settling within 12 months is too early.

What Are The Time Limits?

In most cases personal injury claims must be brought within two years of the accident. Exceptions include children’s cases.

What Is My Case Worth?

This will depend on the extent of the injuries suffered and how long it takes to recover. It will also depend on the expenses incurred. The Injuries Board estimator is a good general guide. For the best result you will still need legal advice

Will I Have To Go To Court?

Probably not. The vast majority of cases settle out of court

What About Costs?

You are responsible for your own legal costs. If you lose, most likely, you will also be made liable for the other side’s costs. While there can be no guarantees, because of the care we take to advise whether we think you have a case or not, this rarely arises. As to your own legal costs if the case goes to court and you win, you will usually get an order that the other side pays most or all of your costs.

Road Traffic Accidents

If, as a driver, passenger, motor cyclist, pedal cyclist, pedestrian, bystander or otherwise you are involved in a road traffic accident you may be entitled to make a compensation claim. As well as compensation for your injuries*, you may also be able to claim for medical bills, loss of earnings, car damage and other out of pocket expenses.

The amount of compensation to which you may be entitled will be determined by who or to what extent the other party was at fault. In many cases this may be obvious. In others it may not or varying accounts may be given. In such cases it could be critical to secure witness statements, have an engineer inspect the scene and/or vehicles or ensure evidence is preserved. You would be well advised to take early legal advice. Below are some useful tips for the immediate aftermath of an accident:

“Do’s”

  • Remain calm. Assist anyone injured
  • Protect the scene from further accident
  • Call the Gardai. Their official report may assist later.
  • Get the name, address, registration number and insurance details of anyone else involved
  • Get the names, addresses and contact details of witnesses
  • Make a note of the location, date and time
  • Get the names and the station for the Gardai attending
  • Take photographs of the scene and of the damage to all vehicles
  • See your doctor for a check-up as soon as possible after the accident, even if you think there is nothing wrong with you
  • Keep all receipts

“Don'ts

  • Admit anything or sign any document. It could affect your insurance policy.
  • Make a statement or comment to the Gardai without legal advice. It can be used in evidence against you. You are obliged to give your personal details to the Gardai but you do not have to give a statement or comment until you have seen your solicitor.
  • Repair your vehicle without first ascertaining if insurers will pay the full cost.

 

Hit & Run Accidents

Should you have the misfortune to be involved in a Hit and Run accident or an accident involving an uninsured driver, you can make a personal injury claim to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (“MIBI”). The main role of the MIBI is to compensate innocent victims of accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles.  It is funded by the motor insurance industry and governed by an Agreement with the Minister for Transport which sets out how it operates. The MIBI is also responsible for operating the Green Card System in Ireland.  As the Green Card Bureau for Ireland, MIBI ensures that a person who sustains loss or is injured in road traffic accidents caused by a foreign-registered vehicle are not disadvantaged. 

As well as claiming compensation for your injuries*, you may also be able to claim for medical bills, loss of earnings and other out of pocket expenses.We provide specialist experience and expertise in accident and personal injury claims arising from Hit and Runs or involving uninsured drivers.


Work Accidents

Employers are obliged by law to provide a safe place of work and a safe system of work. They must ensure employees are correctly trained and that proper health and safety procedures are followed. This includes making sure equipment and machinery is well maintained and fit for purpose and that work areas are safe and free from danger. If the standards are not met you may be entitled to compensation.

Workplace accidents can arise for any number of reasons including:

  • Slips on hazardous floors or surfaces
  • Falls from ladders, platforms or heights
  • Manual handling and lifting accidents
  • Repetitive strain
  • Colleague negligence
  • Forklift, delivery and other vehicle collisions
  • Unsafe or poorly maintained machinery
  • Exposure to chemicals and dangerous materials
  • Falling objects
  • Lack of proper  safety equipment or clothing
  • Inadequate training

If you are involved in a workplace accident here are some pointers:

“Do’s”

  • Immediately report the accident to your supervisor and make sure he or she makes a record including the time, date and location.
  • Get the names, addresses and contact details of witnesses
  • Make a note of the location, date and time as well as of the conditions which led to the accident (e.g. equipment or surface conditions)
  • See your doctor as soon as possible after the accident, even if you think there is nothing wrong with you
  • If practical, take photographs of the scene
  • Keep all receipts

“Don'ts

  • Admit anything
  • Sign any document other than an accident report form and then only if your employer requests. Do not sign unless you are 100% happy with the content and ask for a copy. If in any doubt get legal advice before signing.

SICK PAY/LOSS OF EARNINGS

There is no automatic right to sick pay. The onus on employers is to set out their sick leave policies. This can be done by simply saying there is none. Where you benefit from a sick pay scheme you should ensure you make early application. If there is no company sick pay scheme you should apply for Injury Benefit. This is a weekly payment from the Department of Social Protection.  If you are entitled to sick pay, your employer will probably ask you to claim Injury Benefit and sign this over.

Even if there is a sick pay scheme most only cover basic pay and are for limited periods. This usually means some loss of income for which you can claim. You may also be entitled to claim for future losses and lost opportunities. In larger cases this may necessitate involving an actuary or accountant to prepare an expert report.

 

Accidents in Public Places

Injury can result from accidents in public places (e.g. footpaths, playgrounds, parks, shops, hotels, bars or restaurants). Usually these are as a result of a slip on a wet floor, a trip on an uneven surface, having something fall on you or being attacked by an animal such as a dog (see Dog and Animal Claims).

One of the major issues with slip and fall accidents is often with whom fault lies. It is not always obvious who was responsible for maintaining the scene of the accident or if reasonable care was taken to reduce the risk. Frequently it is necessary to retain an expert such as an engineer to report. It may also be necessary to take action to preserve the scene for examination or ensure CCTV footage and other records are not destroyed.

If you are involved in an accident in a public place below are some steps you should take:

“Do’s”

  • Immediately report the accident to the property owner or manager and make sure he or she makes a record including the time, date and location.
  • Get the names, addresses and contact details of witnesses
  • Make a note of the location, date and time as well as of the conditions which led to the accident (e.g. surface or equipment conditions)
  • See your doctor as soon as possible after the accident, even if you think there is nothing wrong with you
  • If practical, take photographs of the scene
  • Report the matter to the Gardai
  • Sign anything without legal advice
  • Keep all receipts

“Don'ts

  • Admit anything

As well as claiming compensation for your injuries*, you may also be able to claim for medical bills, loss of earnings and other out of pocket expenses.

 

The Injuries Board

Since the establishment of the Injuries Board (previously known as the Personal Injuries Assessment Board or PIAB) most personal injury claims* must be first submitted to the Board before they can be taken to court.

Claims are started by completing and submitting the Board’s application form (Form A). Provided it is satisfied the form has been properly completed and the accompanying documents are in order the Board will notify the other party (“respondent”), and his or her insurer of the claim. As part of the notification the Board will ask if they are prepared to allow it assess the claim.

The respondent (or his or her insurer) is given 90 days to reply. If the respondent rejects assessment an authorisation permitting the claimant to institute court proceedings will issue. Such authorisation will also issue in certain specified cases (e.g. medical negligence or where the Board feels the claim is likely to be too complex).

A number of factors are taken into account in the assessment of damages.  These include medical reports provided on behalf of the claimant and receipts and bills furnished by the claimant. For this reason it is vital you are fully happy with any report submitted on your behalf and it is also important that any receipts or bills will withstand the Board’s scrutiny. Before coming to a decision the Board will almost invariably have claimants examined by a doctor from its independent medical expert panel. When all the evidence has been collated and considered the Board will make a formal Assessment. The Injuries Board estimator is a good general guide as to levels of compensation awarded by the Board.

If both parties accept an ‘Order to Pay’ will be made. This has the same standing as a Court Order.

If the either party rejects the Assessment then the Injuries Board will issue an Authorisation permitting the claimant to institute court proceedings.

The general rule is the Board must deal with a claim within 9 months from the date the respondent consents. This period may be extended by a further 6 months. 

 

Medical Negligence

Patients are entitled to expect their medical treatment will meet the standard of care recognised as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent health care providers. When this does not happen, and injury or loss occurs as a result, the patient may have a medical negligence case.

While the object of medical negligence claims is to obtain compensation for injuries and recover expenses (including future expenses), in most cases the patient will also be anxious to get an explanation for what happened and hold the doctor or hospital accountable for their actions

Medical negligence cases are rarely straightforward. As there is usually a limitation period within which legal claims can be made, it is always advisable to seek our advice promptly. Even if you do not intend to make a claim it is still in your interest to have the facts recorded, to consult and be advised. Memory fades and stories and circumstances can change. One of the most critical early steps is to ensure records are located, protected and examined. Almost invariably an expert report or reports will have to be obtained.

We understand medical malpractice cases are difficult and traumatic both for the patient and for his or her family. We endeavour to make the process run as smoothly as possible. This can include visiting you at your home or place of care and taking any other steps necessary to make the progression of the case easier. 

 

Spinal injuries

A Spinal Injury* usually brings very severe consequences and a complete change in life. It can arise from an accident or medical negligence. The extent of the injury is determined by various factors in particular the area of damage to the spine and its severity.

A strong and experienced skill set is required to handle this type of claim. Also needed is an understanding of the practical and emotional problems spinal injuries cause and an appreciation of the adjustments to be made by the injured party and his or her family.

Among the issues that arise in spinal injury cases are:

  • Current rehabilitation needs,
  • Future care needs,
  • Assessment of aids, equipment and extensions/alterations to homes & transport requirements,
  • Assessment of employment and educational needs,
  • Future medical costs,
  • Actuarial assessment of present and future loss of earnings for the injured party and dependent children, spouse or partner, and
  • Actuarial assessment of present and future care costs.

 

Fatal Injuries

When a person dies as a result of the wrongful act of a third party an action for damages can be taken against that third party*. The action may be brought by the next of kin or legal personal representative of the deceased. Compensation can be claimed by dependents for loss of income (current and future). It can also be claimed for mental distress as well as funeral expenses, medical bills and other out of pocket expenses. We approach these cases sensitively and will guide you through in as stress free manner as possible.

If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in this situation you may be faced with a Coroner’s Inquest. An inquest is the official, public enquiry, presided over by the Coroner into the cause of a sudden, unexplained or violent death. When a jury is present at an inquest, the jury rather than the Coroner returns the verdict. For more see here.

Fatal injury claims may be brought by the personal representative or by a dependent. If there is no personal representative, or the personal representative does not bring a claim within six months, any or all of the dependants can bring the action. However, only one action for damages can be brought. This means if more than one dependent wishes to claim the action must be brought collectively. Dependents can include:

  • Spouse or former spouse
  • Cohabiting partner (subject to conditions)
  • Parent
  • Child
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Brother or Sister
  • Stepmother or Stepfather
  • Stepbrother or Stepsister

Damages or compensation for fatal injury claims are categorised as:

  • Special Damages:

Included are funeral expenses, the legal costs of attending an Inquest and other out of pocket expenses.

  • Solatium

The law provides that a set amount may be paid as damages to dependants to compensate them for mental distress and anguish. This is currently fixed at €35,000. Over and above this, individual dependents may be entitled to claim for ‘nervous shock’ (see below).

  • Loss of Dependency

Where a party suffers the loss or reduction of financial support he or she can claim to be compensated. The level of compensation takes into account the life expectancy of the deceased and other factors.

  • Nervous Shock

A person who witnessed the accident or the immediate aftermath may be able to claim for post-traumatic distress disorder (PTSD) or other psychological trauma.

 

Inquests

An inquest is the official, public enquiry, presided over by the Coroner into the cause of a sudden, unexplained or violent death. When a jury is present at an inquest, the jury rather than the Coroner returns the verdict.

The purpose of the Inquest is to establish and publicly record the facts surrounding the death. The inquest is not allowed decide criminal or civil liability. When the proceedings have been completed, a verdict is returned in relation to the identity of the deceased, and how, when and where the death occurred. The range of verdicts open to the Coroner or jury include accidental death, misadventure, suicide, open verdict, natural causes and unlawful killing. When the inquest is completed, the Coroner issues a certificate so that the death can be formally registered. The Coroner decides which witnesses should give evidence at the inquest and the order in which they should give their evidence. Reports of inquests may be carried in national and local newspapers. In practice only a minority are reported.

Inquests are conducted in public. Only certain persons are entitled to be legally represented.

 

Garda Siochana Compensation Claims

The Garda Compensation Scheme is for members of An Garda Siochana and provides compensation to:

-Members of An Garda Siochana who suffer personal injuries* (that do not result in death) maliciously inflicted as a result of their membership of An Garda Siochana (the member can be on or off duty)
-Dependants, or partial dependants, of a member who has died from injuries maliciously inflicted as a result of membership of An Garda Siochana.

The process is started by completing Form 2. Under the Garda Siochana Act, 1941 applications must be submitted within 3 months of the date of the injury on duty. In certain cases the Minister has discretion to allow an application to be processed outside of the three month time limit.

A medical report detailing the member's injuries and condition must be obtained and submitted on his or her behalf. Once a final prognosis is furnished he or she will then be referred to the Chief Medical Officer for review. The Chief Medical Officer then issues a report to the Minister. The Minister will issue a certificate of Authorisation authorising the applicant to commence proceedings if satisfied the member sustained an injury that is not minor in nature, while on duty and that it was maliciously inflicted. The measure of compensation will be decided by the High Court taking into account awards in cases of a similar nature

 

Prison Officer Compensation Claims

The Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted on Prison Officers* is administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal.

Prison officers who are the victims of an assault suffered in the course of their duties may be awarded compensation for pain and suffering. Compensation can also be recovered for vouched out of pocket expenses, including loss of earnings incurred by the victim or, if the victim has died as a result of the incident, by the dependents of the victim.

The incident in which the injury was caused must have been reported to the Gardaí without delay. There is generally a three month time limit in which to lodge an application. In certain instances this can be extended.

 

Assaults & Criminal Injury

Victims of assault or criminal injury can find it more difficult to recover compensation than where there is an insurance company to meet the case. Do not despair as there are a number of options.

Where the assailant is prosecuted, Judges often indicate the severity of the sentence will be influenced by whether compensation is paid. Usually this leads to an offer. If the perpetrator has assets a civil action for damages may be worth pursuing. This is especially so if the attack was carried out by an employee during the course of his or her employment (e.g. by a bouncer or security person). In such an event it may be possible to join the security firm or owner of the premises and the claim may be dealt with under the employer or owner’s insurance policy.

There is also the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal. The Tribunal administers the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries* Criminally Inflicted.

The injured person (the victim) or, if that person has died, the immediate family of the victim can claim compensation. So can a person responsible for looking after the victim if he or she is out-of-pocket as a result of the injuries.

The scheme pays compensation for expenses and losses suffered as a direct result of a violent crime or while assisting or trying to assist in preventing a crime or saving a human life.

The crime must have been reported to the Gardaí without delay and application made to the Tribunal within 3 months. In certain cases this may be extended. There is no time limit when making a fatal injury claim.

The Tribunal will come to a decision based on information furnished. The decision can be appealed and an oral hearing is held.

 

Dog and Animal Claims

Victims of dog or other animal attacks may be able to make a claim for compensation. Animal owners are obliged to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of members of the public who come into contact with their animals.

The most common form of animal attack is by dogs. The Control of Dogs Act 1986 renders dog owners liable to compensate for injury caused by an attacking dog. Contrary to popular impression, it is not necessary to show that the dog had a previous mischievous propensity or was prone to attack. Most home insurance policies cover dog bite claims.

Below are some useful tips if you find yourself subject to animal attack.

“Do’s”

  • Get the names, addresses and contact details of witnesses
  • Make a note of the location, date and time
  • Take photographs of the scene, any relevant items and of any damage
  • Photograph the animal
  • Get the name and address of the animal owner
  • Report the matter to the Gardai
  • Keep all receipts

 

“Don’ts”

  • Sign anything without legal advice

 

Holiday Accidents & Foreign Claims

Accidents while on holiday in Ireland can be claimed for under Irish law. Since the introduction of the Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act, 1995 this is now also the case for many holiday accidents abroad including:

  • Slips and trips in hotels, restaurants or swimming pools
  • Illness from food and poor hygiene standards
  • Injuries* caused while travelling to, from or during the holiday
  • Sports, leisure and water activities.
  • Day excursions
  • Inadequate hotel conditions

The foreign holiday must be part of a package (i.e. two parts of your holiday, such as hotel and flight, were booked together). In law tour operators have a duty to look after their customers, to keep them safe and free from illness or injury.

As well as claiming compensation for your injuries you may also be able to claim for medical bills, loss of earnings, car damage and other out of pocket expenses.

If you have had an accident while on holiday or travelling abroad it is important to:

  • Immediately report the accident to the hotel or resort manager and your tour operator representative. Make sure they make a record including the time, date and location.
  • Seek medical attention as soon possible locally. On return home see your doctor.
  • Get the names, addresses and contact details of witnesses
  • Take photographs of the scene
  • Keep all receipts

 

Abuse, Assault & Harassment (Sexual, Psychological or Physical)

You may be able to claim compensation if you have been the victim of any form of abuse, assault or harassment. This can include:

  • Child Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Physical Abuse
  • Neglect

The abuse may be institutional, clerical or within or outside of the family. Such activity often leaves scars which last well beyond the physical injury*. Among the matters you can claim for are:

  • Physical Injury
  • Psychological Trauma
  • Treatment Costs
  • Care Requirements
  • Medication Care Requirements
  • Loss of Earnings, including Future Loss of Earnings

While admitting to being a victim of abuse can be difficult, it can also help to move on and may prevent someone else from suffering in the same way. We can help and will treat your case with the utmost sensitivity and confidentiality. We will also work closely with any person or organisation providing support to you.

 

Claims for Children

Persons under 18 years of age have the same rights as adults to bring claims. One of the major procedural differences is that such claims must be brought by a “next friend”. This is usually one of the parents. Settlements require Court approval and compensation awarded to a person under 18 years of age is lodged in Court until it is paid to the minor together with interest when he or she reaches 18. In appropriate cases usually for medical, educational or other welfare reasons the Court will allow earlier part or full payment out.

While the general limitation period in which to bring claims is 2 years this is extended in the case of children where in most cases the time does not begin to run until the person reaches 18 years of age.

 

Faulty Products/Mis-Sold Services

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of using a faulty or unsafe product or has suffered as a result of a mis-sold service, you may be entitled to make a claim.

The Liability for Defective Product Acts 1991 introduced of “strict” or “no fault” product liability by making producers and suppliers responsible in certain circumstances for injury caused.

The Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980 affords consumers certain rights including:

  • Goods must be of merchantable quality. In other words they must be of reasonable quality taking into account what they are meant to do, their durability and their price.
  • Goods must be fit for purpose.
  • Goods must be as described. A consumer must not be misled into buying e.g. by the description of goods or services given orally by a salesperson, by an advertisement or by details on packaging.
  • That the supplier of a service has the necessary skill to provide the service
  • That the service will be provided with proper care and diligence
  • That materials used will be sound and goods supplied with the service will be of merchantable quality.

Further protection is afforded by the Consumer Protection Act 2007. This prohibits false and misleading advertising and trade descriptions, price display and price control, and pyramid selling.

As strict time limits apply it is important to act on claims quickly.

 

Defending a Claim

Claims can come in many forms and with different degrees of merit. If you or your business finds itself in the uncomfortable position of facing a claim you will need early, sound and practical advice. Having acted for insurers for many years we have a strong background in this area.

Burying your head in the sand is not an option. Once you know or suspect a claim will be made you need to be proactive. The first step is to get a proper professional analysis of your exposure. When this is done you may decide to counterclaim, to defend the claim in its entirety, defend it on a limited basis (e.g. accept some but not all responsibility), not defend it at all, seek indemnity and contribution from another party or adopt another approach. We will also advise on the strategic and procedural steps that should be taken on your behalf. Our aim is to extricate you from the situation in the most sensible and cost-effective way possible.


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

 
feedback

Thomas Barry & Company Solicitors

 

Call Now

 

 email: info@thomasbarry.ie


11 St. Stephen's Green,
Dublin 2.
Tel: + 353 1 677 3434
Fax: + 353 1 677 3445

 

Thomas Barry and Company Solicitors Location