Personal Injury Compensation

High Court Injury Compensation

Introduction to High Court Injury Compensation

Ireland has a three-tier court system in which civil claims for personal injury compensation or claims of professional negligence may be resolved. District Courts are responsible for hearing cases in which the anticipated value of a compensation award is less than €6,348.69. Above that level injury compensation claims are determined in the Circuit Court, and only when the compensation settlement is anticipated to be beyond €38,092.14 is judgement required in the High Court. Injury compensations claims however, have to go through a long process before that conclusion is reached.

All personal injury claims in Ireland have to first be submitted to the Injuries Board Ireland who – when there is no dispute about liability – will make an assessment of your claim and issue you and the “Respondent” (the party stated as liable for your injury) with a Notice of Assessment, advising both parties of how much compensation should be paid. Only if there is a dispute over liability or a disagreement about the amount of compensation to be paid, will the Injuries Board Ireland issue you with an authorisation to pursue your claim through the courts.

The High Court Injury Compensation Process

Many courts look down upon a High Court injury compensation claim where liability is not in question and only the amount of money to be paid is disputed. Solicitors are encouraged to resolve financial issues through negotiation before a High Court injury compensation case is scheduled, and only when a High Court injury claim revolves around each party’s proportion of liability is a High Court judge prepared to intervene.

Your solicitor will compile the strongest possible case at the very start of your personal injury claim, and will present your side of events using witness statements, photographs of the accident scene and official accident reports to maximise the value of your High Court injury compensation. However, a disputed liability claim may not always go entirely in your favour if, for example, you were not wearing a seatbelt in a road traffic accident. In this instance, your high court injury compensation will be decreased by the percentage the judge feels you contributed to your injuries by your own negligence. The deduction for not wearing a seatbelt is frequently 25 per cent.

High Court Injury Compensation and Professional Negligence

Claims for professional negligence – when you have suffered an injury or loss due to medical, legal or other professional – are resolved by opinion rather than tangible fact. A solicitor has to prove in court that “on the balance of all probability” a professional person was in breach of a duty of care that they had towards you, and that their actions (or lack of them) were avoidable at the time the injury or loss was sustained.

In order to win your claim for High Court injury compensation, the solicitor will engage the services of experts in the specific professional field to examine the facts and establish that the defendant demonstrated a lack of skill – or failed to display the skill – which could reasonably have been expected from them in their professional capacity. The same “rules” apply about what level of the court system your claim will be heard in, so only if compensation of more than €38,092.14 is anticipated will you qualify for High Court injury compensation.

Alternatives to High Court Injury Compensation

There are a number of ways in which High Court injury compensation claims are resolved before a court appearance is necessary. Having prepared the strongest possible injury compensation claim on your behalf, a solicitor will attempt to negotiate with the liable party’s insurance company – whether it is for a personal injury or professional negligence. This may result in a negotiated settlement equal to, or more than, what you might expect to receive in High Court injury compensation, and remove the requirement for litigation in court.

The information that your solicitor has compiled and used in your application to the Injuries Board Ireland may also be sufficient for them to deliver a Notice of Assessment which compensates you adequately for the pain and suffering you have experienced – meaning that a High Court injury compensation claim will not be necessary. Almost a third of personal injury claims are resolved satisfactorily by the Injuries Board Ireland, with an equal proportion settled by negotiation and High Court injury compensation verdicts.

Children and High Court Injury Compensation

Children are governed by the same rules in respect of which court determines the outcome of their injury compensation claim, however there are some differences in the way a claim for injury compensation involving children is processed. Applications to the Injuries Board Ireland when a child is the victim of an injury or loss due to another’s negligence can only be made through the post, and not online. A parent or guardian has to make the claim on the child’s behalf acting as their “next friend” and children are not subject to the two year limit imposed by the Statute of Limitations – having two years from their eighteenth birthday in which to make a claim.

However, before any injury compensation settlement can be paid, the child, their parent or guardian and their legal representative have to appear in court to have the settlement approved by a judge. Even when the child has been awarded High Court injury compensation above €38,092.14, they will still have to return to court to enable the release of the funds.

High Court Injury Compensation Summary

Legal representation is necessary at all levels of court injury compensation hearings, but it is vital that you allow your solicitor the maximum possible time when a High Court injury compensation case is required. The Statute of Limitations allows only two years from the date on which you knew you had been injured or suffered a loss in which to make a High Court injury compensation claim and, due to the potential large sums involved, it may take a lot of this time to construct a suitably powerful case.

Your best course of action, when you or a loved one has been involved in an accident for which you were not wholly to blame, is to contact a solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss your entitlement to compensation and determine whether a High Court injury compensation claim is required. The solicitor will be able to assess whether a fair compensation settlement can be achieved by using the Injury Board Ireland process, through negotiation with an insurance company or by litigation in the High Court.

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