Due to the multi-faceted nature of calculating compensation, it can at times be difficult to estimate how much compensation a claimant can expect from a successful claim for injury compensation. However, this is estimate can prove important for those injured parties that are unsure as to whether or not the time and stress of claiming compensation are worth the final settlement. Should he or she feel that the possible settlement is not worth the process, they may decide not to pursue their claim.
Some factors worth considering whilst making up a rough estimate of compensation include the age of the victim, the impact on the victim’s quality of life, the extent of the treatment required and the likely effects it will have in the future. As such, it is important to remember that any estimates will not have a high degree of accuracy.
Yet, should one consult an Irish personal injury solicitor, it is more likely that any estimate will approximate the true value of the compensation settlement. It is also essential to engage this solicitor as soon as possible after an accident has occurred, as this will enable the collection of evidence that will help to support your claim in negotiations or in the courts.
The Role of the Injuries Board Ireland
Any claim for personal injury compensation in Ireland must first be filed with the Injuries Board Ireland, who will carry out an assessment of the case. The primary function of this body is to provide a means for those not wanting the consult a solicitor to make a claim for personal injury compensation. It also provides an alternative to the already crowded Irish court system.
However, the process is flawed and it does not always guarantee the most fair settlement for the claimant – for example, the Injuries Board may chose not to account for the loss of earnings incurred by the injured party, nor the medical costs that have already been encountered by the victim.
The Book of Quantum
The Book of Quantum is a reference list of the most common injuries in Ireland, assigning a value to each type of injuries. It is used by the Injuries Board when assessing the cases presented to them, though it is fallible and the general nature of the list allows inaccuracies. With this in mind, it is strongly recommended that the claimant ask a solicitor for advice before accepting any compensation settlements.
Though the Book of Quantum was compiled to ease the process of calculating compensation, one of its main fallacies is its age: though it was written up just over six years ago, there has been no adjustment for inflation since. Additionally, there has been no revisions to account for new precedents in Irish courts. The amounts are also only rough guidelines, as they fail to specify how much compensation should be awarded based on age and previous health. Under the Book of Quantum, an eighty year-old man and a twenty yea-old man should both be awarded the same compensation for injuries of the same nature. Should both men suffer a disability because of the accident, the younger man would likely receive insufficient compensation to account for the loss of earnings for the rest of his life.
With this in mind, it is highly probable that any calculation of compensation made by the Injuries Board Ireland will be too low for the unique situation of each claimant.
Compensation Settlements from Irish Insurance Companies
It is in the best interest of an insurance company to pay as low a settlement of personal injury compensation as possible to the victim. As such, it is quite normal for them to make an offer of compensation very quickly after the accident has occurred, as this is when the victim is most vulnerable. It also gives the victim little time to find his or her own solicitor, or carry out any of the other steps that are usually followed before a claim for compensation is made (such as an assessment by a medical professional).
Though it may be tempting to accept the early offer, it is generally ill-advised as it will probably be much lower than what would be considered a fair settlement. However, once this settlement has been offered, it will allow the claimant’s solicitor to open up negotiations for a more reasonable settlement.
The Effect of Contributory Negligence on Irish Compensation Settlements
It is sometimes the case that a victim helped exacerbate the extent of his or her accident and subsequent injuries. For example, if the victim is injured in a car accident, he or she may have contributed to the severity of their injuries by failing to wear a seatbelt or not seeking prompt medical attention.
The victim should still be able to claim compensation, though their contributory negligence complicates matters: the negligent party will have a slight advantage in negotiations, as they can argue the extent to which the victim played a part in the accident. Additionally, if contributory negligence is assigned to the claimant, the compensation settlement will be reduced in value by the amount to which the claimant has been deemed negligent.
Court Litigation in Personal Injury Claims
Though it should be noted that the majority of compensation settlements will not be settled through the Irish courts, and are instead settled through out-of-court negotiations, it is necessary for some cases. The courts will not necessarily find in the victim’s favour – he or she may chose to increase or decrease a settlement, depending on how the case is interpreted.
Injury Compensation Amounts in Ireland – A Summary
There is no quick way to estimate the amount of compensation one can expect from a successful personal injuries claim: there are too many variables. Common factors that will influence the amount awarded include age, health, employment status and the nature of the injury, though there are many more that may only be applicable to specific cases.
As has been previously emphasised, a solicitor is an invaluable guide through the complicated process of claiming compensation. He or she will be experienced in personal injury claims, and as such can give their client the best advice for their situation. Engaging with a solicitor as soon as possible after an accident will give the claimant the best possible chance of recovering a fair compensation settlement.