High Court Personal Injury Cases: Introduction
High Court Personal Injury Cases are reserved for the most complex cases, cases where liability is in question and cases where a compensation settlement cannot be agreed on through any other means.
In Ireland, all personal injury compensation claims (with the exception of claims involving medical negligence) must be assessed by the Injuries Board Ireland before any other action can be taken. Following this procedure, if no settlement can be agreed on, negotiations can be made between all parties involved in a compensation claim. If these negotiations prove unsatisfactory, the plaintiff can elect to pursue action in court.
It is worth noting that every effort is usually made to settle personal injury claims without the need to go to trial and over 80 per cent of cases in Ireland are settled out of court.
The Injuries Board Ireland
The Injuries Board process is usually carried out even before the possibility of high court personal injury cases is mentioned. The process has three stages; first, the injured party must submit their claim, with a medical report and proof of special damages.
Once the application is received, the Injuries Board contacts the “respondent”, to ask them if they are willing to allow the Injuries Board to make an assessment of value. If the respondent consents, the assessment proceeds. If the respondent says no, the Board immediately closes the submission and issues the plaintiff with an Authorisation which is needed take a Personal Injuries case to court.
If the respondent does agree to the assessment, the Injuries Board will then evaluate the value of the claim. That assessment is sent to both sides and if both agree to it, the Injuries Board will issue an order to pay. If either side rejects the assessment the Injuries Board will close their file and issue the plaintiff an Authorisation.
Negotiating a Settlement
As mentioned above, the majority of personal injury claims are settled in advance of court, which means that few high court personal injury cases are actually called for. Frequently, a fair settlement between all the parties is reached before the trial date or sometimes even on the day of the trial.
If the negligent party wishes to offer you a settlement to end your claim and you are willing to settle out of court, your solicitor can arrange a negotiation meeting with the opposing party’s legal representative before the date of the trial.
Your solicitor will explain the benefits and pitfalls of accepting the offer made by the negligent party at the meeting, and can advise you on how successful your claim may be at trial and how much in damages you may receive in court.
You may elect to continue your claim in court if it is not possible to settle a case to everyone’s satisfaction.
Common Reasons for High Court Action
High court personal injury cases usually involve questionable liability, issues over settlement and complex subjects. Some examples would be;
- Medical negligence claims are commonly brought to the high court, especially in cases when there is doubt over liability for death or serious injury.
- Industrial diseases that take many years to develop are often required to be heard at the high court as liability can be contested.
- In cases involving uninsured drivers, being heard in the high court may be the only option to ensure that adequate compensation is given to cover medical costs.
High Court Personal Injury Cases: Conclusion
It is essential that anyone involved in high court personal injury cases where settlements cannot be reached, if liability is denied or in highly complex cases such as medical negligence or industrial disease related claims select a highly experienced solicitor. A complicated legal battle will almost always require specialist legal advice.
It is important to note that high court compensation cases may not always rule in favour of the plaintiff, and there is a risk attributed with bringing the matter before a judge. Selecting a specialist high court injury compensation solicitor will not only increase the possibility of a successful claim but can also make a difference to the settlement amount which is ultimately awarded.
If you have been suffered serious injuries in an accident for which you were not to blame and if you believe that you may have a viable compensation claim, you would, therefore, be well advised in seeking the assistance of a solicitor at the first opportunity possible.