Introduction to Personal Injury Compensation Claims
There are many different reasons why an individual may be entitled to claim personal injury compensation. They could be an injured driver or passenger in a road traffic accident, a person who sustains an injury at work or somebody who slips on a wet surface in a shop and sustains an injury as they fall. In all these cases, two conditions have to be fulfilled in order for a personal injury compensation claim to be successful — the victim must have sustained some form of injury and there must be a negligent party whose lack of care was responsible for the injury.
Determining that an injury has occurred — either physical or psychological — can be proven by the victim´s medical records. However, establishing liability for the injury can often be complicated when negligence is disputed or a counter claim is made that the victim contributed to their injuries by their own lack of care. Most claims for personal injury compensation are resolved without the need for litigation in court, but your solicitor will always prepare the strongest possible personal injury claim on your behalf in case court action is required to obtain a fair settlement.
Typical Personal Injuries
The three types of personal injuries mentioned above are the most common, but a personal injury claim need not be the result of an immediate physical injury sustained in an accident. Symptoms of whiplash can manifest many days after a person has been involved in a road traffic accident, industrial diseases cause by the inhalation of hazardous airborne substances may not become apparent for many years and brain damage sustained in a slip and fall accident could also take many years to manifest.
Claims for personal injury compensation have to be made within three years of the “date of knowledge” of an injury. If, for example, you were to be diagnosed with a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease many years after working in a job where you inhaled an “occupational pollutant”, you would still be able to claim personal injury compensation three years from the diagnosis. This “Statute of Limitations” as it is known also applies to cases of medical negligence — another frequent reason for a personal injury claim.
What to do After a Personal Injury Accident
After any personal injury accident, you first concern should be that of your health. No amount of personal injury compensation will make up for a lifelong health issue or disability that could have been prevented by timely medical intervention. Therefore, after a personal injury accident, summon an ambulance if your injury is severe, or have somebody take you to hospital or your doctor´s surgery as a matter of urgency. Gather witness statements and take photos of the accident scene only if you are physically able to do so — your solicitor will get these for you if required.
It seems obvious to state that any time you feel unwell you should see a doctor, but many people ignore symptoms of an illness until they have developed into a serious concern. Late developing industrial disease injuries may only manifest similar to the symptoms of a cold in the early stages but, by enabling a doctor to diagnose the symptoms of (say) a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease before the disease has become established, he might just save your life!
Irish Personal Injury Compensation Claim Solicitors
The main reason for using an expert personal injury compensation solicitor is that they will include all aspects of the way in which your personal injury has affected your life, and not just make a personal injury claim for the pain and suffering you experienced. Therefore, they will include “loss of amenity” in your claim for personal injury compensation for the length of time independent medical reports show that you will be unable to perform certain functions and enjoy a full quality of life because of your personal injury.
A further element of a personal injury compensation claim is “special damages”. This is basically “out-of-pocket” expenses, but can also include loss of earnings if you are temporarily unable to work or if you have to give up work permanently because of your injury. Your solicitor will advise you to keep a diary after sustaining a personal injury to record any loss of amenity and medical treatment you receive. You should also use this diary to save receipts for any expense you have experienced which is directly due to your personal injury.
Negotiated Settlements in Ireland
Because so many claims for personal injury compensation are successfully settled without the need for litigation in court, it is impossible to say how many incidences of personal injury occur each year. In Ireland, whiplash compensation claims alone account for thousands personal injury compensation claims and many are settled quickly by negotiation with the negligent party´s insurance company.