You do not need a Solicitor to process a Personal Injuries claim and can, if you so wish, make the application directly to the Injuries Board yourself. However, statistics show that over 90% of people decide to engage a Solicitor to process the claim on their behalf.
Some of the reasons why you should engage a Solicitor to handle your personal injuries claim are:
1. Time limits
The Injuries Board cannot provide legal advice and therefore will not be in a position to tell you of the time limits applicable to your claim. If your claim is made outside the specified time frame, your claim will be deemed “statute barred” and you will receive no compensation.
2. Name of person responsible
It is a matter for you to advise the Injuries Board who you believe is responsible for your claim. Sometimes this is obvious but quite often it is not. If you name the incorrect Respondent, your claim may fail. Quite often the Respondent may be a company, which trades under a different name than its proper legal title and without making the appropriate searches with the companies office, it will be difficult for you to know the correct name of the Respondent. If you are in a car accident, it may be necessary to issue the claim against the driver and the owner, which may not always be the same person. We conduct searches on your behalf to identify the registered owner of such vehicles.
3. Amount of compensation awarded
Without proper legal advice, you won’t know if the compensation awarded to you is fair and just. We are dealing with Personal Injury claims on a daily basis and will be in a position to advise you if any assessment made is fair, or if the value of your claim has been under assessed.
4. Dealing with sensitive medical information
If your medical reports or records contain sensitive data, the Injuries Board may release that data to the other side without your knowledge or consent. If we are acting on your behalf, we will ensure that the Injuries Board are notified of any sensitive information that you do not want disclosed to third parties.
5. Uninsured Driver – If the person you are claiming against is not insured, it may be necessary to join the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) to the claim and again, the Injuries Board do not provide legal advice on who you should claim against. If the MIBI are a party to the action, strict and complex rules and time frames apply which you would likely not be aware of without legal advice.
6. Negotiating a speedy settlement
Quite often the other side may want to negotiate to settle your claim faster. This may suit you if your injuries are minor, you are fully recovered and you just want the whole matter resolved. We can enter “without prejudice” negotiations on your behalf and get the best deal available for you. We will also be in a position to advise you if any offer made is fair in light of your injuries.
7. Going to court
If your case ends up going to court (for example if the other side rejects the assessment) you will not have had the benefit of legal advice. Important evidence may not have been preserved. Witnesses may have moved on. If Solicitors are engaged at the outset, you will be better prepared if your case eventually proceeds to court.
8. One shot at It!
If you decide to lodge your claim with the Injuries Board without consulting a Solicitor, you cannot withdraw and re-lodge your application at a later stage if you realise you made mistakes or your application was badly drafted. If you withdraw your application you are not permitted to make a new one. You only get one shot at it. That is why it is always prudent to consult a Solicitor when making a claim to the Injuries Board.
We are on your side and in your corner, with your interests as our main priority. Our duty is to you, not the other party or their insurance company. By instructing Coyle Kennedy Smyth to act on your behalf, you are guaranteed solid, reliable and confidential advice for your specific circumstances.