One of the side effects of   the recession is that the National Vehicle Fleet  has aged considerably.  The average age of a car is now six years old.   Statistics revealed during the week that this is changing and that the sales of new cars reached their highest level in five years as demand continues throughout 2014.  Regrettably older cars are more prone to accidents and obviously the number of cars on the road affects the amount of people that are injured in accidents.  The law cannot put somebody back into the position they were in before the accident and deals with their losses by giving them compensation known as “damages”.

Injuries Board:

In 2005 the Irish government established the Injuries Board, that is based in Clonakilty in Cork.  The intention behind this was to reduce insurance costs principally by streamlining the process to take personal injury cases out of the Courts system and reducing the legal costs involved.   When a person is injured that person, or their Solicitor, firstly has to get a medical report from their doctor. They then complete an application form which is sent along with the appropriate fee and other relevant documentation to the Board.  The Defendant and his/her insurance company then have ninety days to decide if they want the Board to asses the case or alternatively if they want the case to go through the Court procedure.  The down side of dealing with the Injuries Board is that the Applicant has to pay his/her own legal costs.

Why use a Solicitor?

Despite the introduction of the Injuries Board over   90% of Applicants still get advice from Solicitors when they have suffered injuries.  The reason for this is that your Solicitor can advise you on what your appropriate entitlements are.  The compensation an injured party is entitled to can vary significantly.  We have found in recent dealings with the Injuries Board that where a person is very significantly injured the Board has accepted our submission that the case is too complex and should be left to the Court process to determine the unfortunate injured party’s entitlements. .

Experts:

Pierse Fitzgibbon have over fifty years experience in dealing with personal injury cases.  We have written the book on “Quantum of Damages for Personal Injuries in Ireland”.  In cases where a person is seriously injured it will be necessary to retain a number of expert professionals to try and assess the impact that the injuries will have on the person’s future.  This includes, will the person require future care or what the impact will be on the person’s ability to find employment in the future.  Will the injured person be required to work less hours because of their injuries?

Insurance:

“With insurance you can always sleep at night”. This is a very wise saying.   Insurance is compulsory if you intend to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle.   Unfortunately there are cases where people can be injured by drivers without insurance.  This is covered by an agreement between the Minister for the Environment and the Insurance Companies called the “MIBI Agreement”.   Essentially this is a central fund where all drivers pay approximately €40 per annum to ensure that the victim in an accident with an uninsured driver is not left without the compensation they deserve.

If you are the person who injures another then you should see your Solicitor about this in order to ensure that you reduce any personal potential exposure you may have.  Quite often a person’s household policy covers them if they cause injuries to a third party.  An example of this is if you struck somebody with a golf ball, or opened an umbrella hitting somebody in the eye.  Your home insurance policy will more than likely cover you if that person considered taking a personal injury action against you.