Personal Injury Compensation

What is an O’Byrne Letter?

I would like to know what is an O’Byrne letter? I was hurt in an accident that involved a few different people and my sister-in-law mentioned I might need to send one.

The answer to the question “what is an O’Byrne letter?” cannot be answered without knowing what a “letter of claim” is. In a standard personal injury claim involving only one negligent party, a plaintiff is required by law to serve a notice a writing to the wrongdoer in order to set out the nature of the wrong that he or she has been accused of committing.

However, to answer “what is an O’Byrne letter?” in scenarios where there are one or more defendants, the letter of claim becomes an O’Byrne letter, which addresses the matter of liability as between the various respondents. This letter deals with the issues included in a letter of claim but must also state:-

  • That the accident was the result of the negligence of one or other respondent(s) but that the plaintiff cannot say who was responsible;
  • That the recipient should admit liability within an allocated length of time;
  • That the recipient should propose compensation for the plaintiff;
  • A warning that should the recipient fail to admit liability and/or proposals to compensate the plaintiff, an application of assessment for damages against all of the possible respondents will be submitted to the Injuries Board;
  • A warning that should it become necessary to issue court action against all of the respondents the O’Byrne letter can be used to fix the unsuccessful defendant with expenses to be paid to the defendants who are found to not be liable;
  • That Indemnity be requested from the recipient as regards the cost of any unnecessary or abandoned court proceedings against any of the possible respondents who will not take part in the Injuries Board assessment or who reject the amount assessed;
  • A warning that in the absence of the indemnity, the plaintiff will seek to recover the costs in alternative court proceedings and that the O’Byrne letter will be used to fix the negligence party with the expenses for such proceedings.

If you understand what is an O’Byrne letter you will know that the issue of deciding who was “most” at fault or who caused the greater damage or injury to the plaintiff in an accident is not for the plaintiff to prove or even engage in debate over. The issue is for only the various respective defendants to decide amongst themselves.

Since you have been involved in a multiple car accident in which you sustained injuries, if you feel that you have a potential personal injury claim it is recommended that you consult with an experienced solicitor at the first possible moment.


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