Can I Claim?

The law decides when you have grounds for making a claim. That law is found in statute and in previous judgments of the courts.

It is not enough to have been in an accident or to have suffered injury in order to obtain compensation from the courts. It must be clear that the party or parties you have sued were at least partly to blame for the accident and the injuries that you have suffered.

If your injuries resulted from the fault of more than one person they are known as concurrent wrongdoers. If you too were at fault you might be guilty of contributory negligence. If this established to be the case a court will inevitably assess the respective faults of the wrongdoers and your fault and apportion liability accordingly. The compensation you should get will be reduced in proportion to the degree of your contributory negligence. As the Injuries Board process does not involve consideration of liability, the issue of contributory neglighence does not arise in that system.

Your claim for compensation will be divided into two parts:

General damages

This is compensation for the pain, suffering and inconvenience you experienced and will continue to experience as a result of the accident.

The court will decide the level of these damages by estimating the gravity of your injuries. It will do this by considering all the medical evidence before it, the pain you have already suffered, and your prognosis for the future, i.e., how long and to what extent you are likely to continue suffering.

Special damages

This is compensation for the financial expenses you have already incurred, and will incur in the future, as a result of the accident. These damages might include the cost of repairing your car (if relevant), your medical expenses, your loss of earnings as a result of being unable to return to work, and expenses related to your injury, such as travel, home-help, etc.

You may be asked to produce receipts and bills to prove you have incurred all of these expenses, so it is important to keep a careful file of every bill and receipt.

How long after a court judgement is payment made?

Usually, awards as a result of civil cases in Ireland are paid by cheque by the Defendant to your solicitor within 6 to 8 weeks.

Information taken in part from on the 15th of August, 2009.