Why Should I Claim for Personal Injury?

A happy family used to illustrate the Whiplash claims article

A personal injury claim is never appropriate if a person has not been injured as a result of a failure of duty by another. If another person or institution was responsible for an injured person’s injury, (mostly) the first place they will make lodge a claim will be the Injuries Board. The Injuries Board is charged with assessing most personal injury claims on a no-fault basis. This means they will not assess who is at fault but will make an assessment of the value of an injury based on medical evidence and on their records of previous similar injury claim assessments and court awards. If one or both parties (the person making the claim and whoever is responding to that claim) ┬áreject the assessment the Injuries Board have no futher role in the process except to issue the injured person with a piece of paper called an Authorisation. That authorisation allows the injured person to proceed to litigation (ie to court) if they choose.

Litigating (suing), when you are have experienced a personal injury, is completely the choice of the injured person. You may need advice on making that choice. You cannot sensibly sue when nobody else is at fault for your injury. But, if they are, the degree to which you are injured is the ruling factor. Compensation is awarded by reference to the seriousness of the injury and its consequences. You have a Constitutional right to judgment for appropriate compensation if someone has injured you.

Consideration of the question of the capacity of the wrongdoer to pay depends on the particular facts of each case.

You have the legal right to compensation for your injuries when they are caused through the negligence or carelessness of another.

The calculation of losses in personal injuries cases has a two fold approach. The courts assess the degree of your injury and award “General Damages” for that aspect of the injury. Every victim differs to a greater or lesser degree from other victims so the general damages award is tailored to the medical facts of each specific injury. The medical consequences of the injury, pain, suffering and its duration are factored into the “General Damages” category.

There is another category; “Special Damages”. Some victims have no losses for this category while others have considerable losses. Typical elements of this category are:

  • Medical bills
  • Specialist equipment to improve independence
  • Ongoing medical care and home help
  • Loss of Earnings

Some injured persons have other losses for this category. The ruling principle is to reimburse a victim his or her out-of-pocket expenses or losses. In principle, they are ascertainable exactly but sometimes they are not- future loss of earnings bein an example of a difficult to quantify special damage.