Personal Injury Compensation

What should I do if an insurance company offers me compensation arising out of a personal injury claim where I have not received any legal advice?

Get legal advice.

It is always advisable to discuss the matter with your local solicitor before making any decision. All is required is a phone call to your local solicitor with your query and looking for some advice as to what you should do in the circumstances.

Once you have received advice, it is now up to you, the Plaintiff, to make a decision as to what direction you will go with the case. Why not ask your appointed Solicitor to act on your behalf in the negotiation of your case? Don’t forget the insurance company have a major advantage over you, given the depth of their knowledge and experience.

Considerations in Settling your Case

(a) How are your injuries presently ?

If you are still complaining of ongoing complaints, it is never advisable to settle your case. As one does not know how your injures will settle into the future, if they do not show any sign of improving. While your own GP or Doctor will be helpful in advising you, they may not be in a position to advise how long your injury will go on for, as that may be for the consultant.

(b) Compensation should follow the length of time the injury persists:

This is a very important factor in considering the value of the injury. Different injuries recover in different ways in time. Never ever settle your case if you have not returned to work or you don’t know when you are likely to return.

(c) Get a Medical report in order to have idea of the value of your case :

The drafting of a medical report from your G.P. or consultant doctor is your next port of call, when it comes to a personal injury claim. The value of your claim cannot be ascertained unless a medical report is sought.

Medical reports can cost anything from €250.00 up to €500.00, depending on the type of doctor /consultant you are seeking the report from. Generally speaking a GP can be used at a preliminary stage of a case,  but when the case goes on for longer and the injuries get more complicated then you should seek the advice of a consultant, who in turn can do a report for you.

The solicitor is the best person to advise you in that regard. The solicitor can also advise you as to the approximate value of your case. Sometimes an insurance company may appoint their own doctor to obtain a report.  You may decide that you will rely on their medical report. That is not a good idea for the simple reason the doctor who is preparing the report is working for the insurance company and they are his paymaster!  Need I say anymore?

(d) Injuries Board Application

In the event of no legal advice being sought one can lodge your claim in the Injuries Board who in turn will assess the value of your injuries . This process gives you time and an independent assessment of your case where the insurance company may be pressurising you to settle with them

The Injuries Board is an independent body set up to value personal injuries. Helpfully, there is a book of quantum on the website which gives a value as to each type of Personal Injury. This is a helpful guide but only a guide. The book of quantum is used by the Judges in civil cases.

There is a two-step process in the Injuries Board:-

  1. 90 days notification to the insurance company, respondent to notify them of the claim. They  have to respond as to whether they consent or decline to the Injuries Board dealing with the case.
  2. 9 month assessment period to assess the value of the injury, in the event of the respondent consenting to the assessment, although that period can be extended.

Settling the claim with or without a solicitor?

It is always with the benefit of advice that one can make an informed decision as to what you should do.  One should definitely get advice with the benefit of a medical report and more importantly solicitor’s legal advice.  Yes, there will be a charge, which you can discuss with the solicitor but are you not better off knowing exactly where you stand with the benefit of that advice?

(e) Loss Of Earnings Claim

Loss of earnings claim be claimed both in the past and into the future if the loss is continuing.  You will need be the benefit of advice from your doctor.  .

(F) Special Damages

These are out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of your injuries .These could be anything from:

  • Physio bills
  • GP bills
  • Prescriptions bills
  • Travel Expenses
  • MRI & X Ray Bills

These bills can arise and be dealt with in all aspects of the claim whether it be when you or your solicitor is settling with the insurance company, Injuries Board Application or in the event of your case going to Court.

However you are entitled to these expenses in the event of settlement, however, they have to be vouched.

(G) Making a decision on settlement:

Before making any decision and if you are in doubt check it out your local solicitor or ask some friends as to who they would recommend .The benefit of legal advice can be immeasurable in these circumstances .

(H) What happens where our child is injured ? Are we entitled to put in a claim for them?

The answer to this is that any person under the age of 18 years  cannot settle their own claim. The claim has to be brought in the name of the parent and any offer put forward must be ruled by the Court.

Under no circumstances should a parent entertain any offer direct from an insurance company who come knocking on their door, without taking legal advice. The insurance company themselves know that they should not be doing it but they do it. Without doubt the advice of a solicitor should be taken.