Background Information for Personal Injury* Court Proceedings in Ireland
Most personal injury cases do not go through personal injury court in Ireland because they are settled in advance. In fact, approximately 80 per cent of all claims do not ever see the inside of a court. With some exceptions (one common example being cases that involve medical negligence*) personal injury* compensation cases begin with the Injuries Board Ireland, which is a government entity that assesses the amount of compensation an injured party should receive and does not consider the matter of liability.
The Injuries Board Ireland
The plaintiff (the victim of the accident) must submit their claim, along with a medical report and proof of “special damages” to the Injuries Board through the post or online. The Injuries Board would then contact the “respondent” who is the alleged negligent party. Should the respondent agree to the Injuries Board assessment, a value of the plaintiffs claim will be assessed and send to both sides. If both sides agree to the value the Injuries Board will issue an order to pay; but if one or both disagree, the file will be closed and the plaintiff would be issued with an “Authorisation” which will enable him or her to take the claim to court. If the respondent rejects the claims assessment from when they first received notice of it, the plaintiff’s file will be closed immediately and the plaintiff issued with an Authorisation.
Proceeding to Personal Injury Court in Ireland
If the case may be that the respondent – who would now be known as the “defendant” – wishes to offer the plaintiff compensation in order to end their claim and the plaintiff agrees to settle out of personal injury* court in Ireland, the plaintiff’s solicitor can arrange a meeting with the defendant’s insurance company before the date of trial.
The solicitor would be able to inform their client of the benefits and disadvantages of accepting an offer made by the defendant and will advise them on how successful their claim may be at trial and how much in they may receive through Irish personal injury* court action.
Of course, all efforts will be made to come to an out-of-court settlement figure to which both parties deem acceptable and although the process may be lengthy, an appropriate resolution can usually be arrived at without proceeding to the court for personal injuries* in Ireland.
However, if it is not possible for satisfactorily settlement to be reached, the plaintiff can elect to continue their case in an Irish personal injury* court.
High, Circuit or District Court for Personal Injuries in Ireland
A plaintiff’s case may be heard in one of three personal injury* court in Ireland; the District Court, the Circuit Court or the High Court. How the court is decided on depends on the value of the personal injury* case, which refers to the amount of compensation the plaintiff wishes the defendant to pay them.
It is important that all factors of a plaintiff’s case are accounted for and a personal injury* solicitor will assess the value of their client’s case by carefully considering various elements including the nature and severity of the injuries sustained, the victim’s future prognosis, the financial impact the injury has had on the plaintiff and their family and how the injury has affected the plaintiff’s quality of life.
The District Court can award up to 6,348.69 Euro in damages, the Circuit Court has power to award up to 38,092 Euro and the High Court has infinite power to award damages.
Instances of Necessity for High Court for Personal Injuries in Ireland
There are some instances when certain cases go directly to the High Personal Injury* Court in Ireland, for example:-
- Medical negligence claims, especially when liability for death or serious injury is in question.
- Workplace compensation claims, when an employee has developed a serious or terminal injury but the disease has taken a long time to develop.
- Some traffic accident claims where a party has been acknowledged as being liable but an agreement on compensation needs to be made.
In some cases, when complications arise and a high court for personal injuries* in Ireland date is scheduled, last minute negotiations can often result in a satisfactory settlement being agreed on.
The Irish Personal Injury Court Case
The format of a court case in personal injury* court in Ireland depends on whether or not the defendant admits to being responsible for the victim’s injuries.
If the defendant in the case has not admitted to being liable, the trial will encompass these factors:-
- The plaintiff’s barrister will give the judge an overview of the circumstances on the case and the injuries he or she sustained
- If necessary, medical evidence may be given by the plaintiff’s doctor
- The plaintiff will be called to give evidence about the nature of the accident and their injuries. They may be cross-examined by the defendant’s barrister
- Witnesses on the plaintiff’s side will give evidence and will be cross-examined
- The defendant’s witnesses will give evidence and will be cross-examined
When all of the witnesses have appeared, the barrister on either side may make submissions to the judge, which may include summarizing specific evidence or making legal arguments.
The judge will make his or her decision according to; whether the defendant was to blame for the accident and is therefore liable to pay damages to the plaintiff; the amount of damages that the plaintiff is eligible for as a result of their injuries; who should pay the costs of the Irish personal injury* court proceedings – although it must be said that under normal circumstances, the defendant will be ordered to pay the plaintiff’s legal expenses as well as their own.
If the defendant in the case has admitted to being responsible but the plaintiff is not satisfied with how much is offered in settlement, then that issue will be sent to a court for personal injuries in Ireland for judgement based only on the amount of damages.
In this scenario, the court for personal injuries* in Ireland does not take into account who is at fault. The judge will simply place a financial value on the plaintiff’s case on the basis of an evaluation of the circumstances and severity of the plaintiff’s injuries and their future prognosis.
Awards Given in Court Cases
In order to receive compensation from personal injury* court in Ireland, it must be clear that the party or parties the plaintiff made their claim against were responsible – at least partially – for the accident and the injuries that were sustained.
“Contributory Negligence” may come into play if a number of people are partly to blame for an accident, including, perhaps, the individual who has been injured. In this case, the Irish personal injury* court may apportion or divide the blame between the various parties involved.
In general, however, awards of compensation are divided into two parts; general damages – which is compensation for the pain and suffering experienced and may continue to experience as a result of the accident – and special damages, which should compensate for any financial costs incurred, and/or may incur in the future.