Underassessment by the Injuries Board
Being the victim of a personal injury can be a stressful and worrying time, from dealing with an injury and the effects this has on your day to life therefore it is vital you receive a reward that reflects this. The expert team at Gary Matthews Solicitors are committed to ensuring each and every client receives the justice they deserve.
Our team offer free advice and are available throughout your claims process to provide you with the information you need. There are many guidelines and penalties associated with the Injuries Board process, by appointing our team you confident that all paperwork will be done correctly.
Gary Matthews solicitors will work hard to achieve the most favourable outcome for you. We recognise that it can be a stressful time and are available at all times during the process to discuss your claim.
Our team will deal with all reports, costs and associated activity with settling the claim on your behalf. As experts we know if an assessment is fair to the claimant (you) and will ensure all guidelines are followed as the Injuries Board process can seem complicated to a non-legal expert.
The majority of cases (over 80%) never go to court, our expert team will settle your claim on your behalf with the Respondent – person or company at fault for the accident.
The Personal Injuries Board: Steps to settling a claim
The actual steps involved in the Injuries Board process depends on the circumstances of your injury, the response of the defendants, and the advice of your Solicitor regarding settlement offers from either the insurance company or Injuries Board. Put very simply, the basic steps are as follows:
1. You discuss your case with a Solicitor who will obtain all necessary instructions and who may hire experts to produce reports about the circumstances of your injury (like car crash assessment) and specialist medical report(s) (that will assess the longer term impact of your injuries);
2. Your Solicitor will obtain all the document(s) and report(s) required to submit your claim to the Injuries Board;
3. The Injuries Board will send a formal notice of your claim to the person or entity who you are claiming against;
4. The person you are claiming against or their representative (normally an insurance company) either consents or rejects to the Injuries Board assessing your case;
5. If the claim is rejected, then a formal notice is provided to you by the Injuries Board that then allows you to take the process forward through the Courts;
6. If the person you are claiming against agrees to the assessment, then the Injuries Board will arrange a medical examination and requests details of your out of pocket expense(s) before making an assessment;
7. Notice of the assessment is sent to you and the other party. You will need advice regarding whether the assessment is a fair offer (in over 95% of cases dealt with by this office, the assessment figure is rejected);
8. If all parties accept the Injuries Board assessment, then an “Order to Pay” is made and the case is settled after you receive payment;
9. If either you or the other party refuses to accept the Injuries Board assessment then you are free to issue court proceedings in the normal way;
10. If your case is regarded as complicated, or likely to involve contributory negligence, then the Injuries Board will issue Authorisation which allows you to issue court proceedings. (30% of claims submitted to the Injuries Board are dealt with this way);
When you appoint Gary Matthews Solicitors we will represent and deal with your case from beginning to end, be assured that we will get retrieve the best possible outcome for you. With over 20 years experience in personal injury claims we are experts in this field, ranging from minor cases to the most complex.
For Advice regarding a claim you can contact us on (01) 903 6250 or complete a Claim Form here.
The Injuries Board would like for all of us to become legal experts so that we don’t need Solicitors, but this is obviously a completely unrealistic objective. They think that everyone is capable of reading their legislation (2004 Injuries Board Act) and guidelines and instantly becoming an expert. But if you have been in an accident and have even a relatively minor injury, there is too much at stake to become a “do-it-yourself amateur lawyer”. Would you attempt personally to carry out all the legal processes involved in the buying or selling of your home?
If you use an experienced personal injury Solicitor, you can rest assured that they will submit a claim that accurately reflects what you are entitled to claim for!
Another positive factor is that the strict guidelines and severe penalties for making false or exaggerated claims encourages honesty and accuracy in personal injury claims. It also makes it easier to track suspicious claims (such as repeated claimants). Your solicitor will help you build the strongest possible case, while ensuring you still remain factually correct and do not innocently fall foul of any of the strict guidelines and/or severe penalties imposed for false or exaggerated claims under the 2004 Injuries Board Act. If you innocently make a false or exaggerated claim, the Injuries Board has the statutory right of denying your claim in its totality, for making a simple mistake!
It is vital to realise that you are under no legal obligation to accept the Injuries Board Assessment. Once you receive your Assessment from the Injuries Board, it will contain a figure which they estimate reflects the full value of your claim. The question you have got to answer is – is this figure a fair and reasonable amount to compensate me for the injuries, pain and suffering (both past and present) and all out of pocket expenses and loss of earnings I have sustained? The only person who can answer that question is someone who has many years of legal experience in handling similar cases. If you are reading this article that person is most certainly NOT YOU!
A similar example is an old oil painting that has been handed down to you and which you have been told is valuable. If someone calls at your door and offers a certain figure out of the blue, would you accept it without instructing an expert valuer/art specialist. Of course most people would get the experts’ advice first and this is exactly what you should do. Now let me explain why you should do the same with your Assessment.
The first question you must ask yourself is – has the Injuries Board taken into account the full extent of my injuries (both physical & psychological) and/or have I fully recovered from my injuries? If the answer to either of these questions is no, then you should seriously consider whether or not to accept the assessment. Contact us as we are experts in personal injury claims & ensure you get the advice and support you need.
The second question you should ask yourself is – will I get more money if I reject the Assessment and issue proceedings and proceed to Court? If I answer yes in 98% of cases we have dealt with, you will say “of course you would say that”. So don’t take my word it, the Central Bank commissioned an independent report in 2010 that asked that specific question.
The purpose of the report was to establish whether insurance companies were acting within the applicable Consumer Protection Code. The report examined 418 third party personal injury claim files processed by eleven insurance firms in the period between the months of April, May and June of 2010. The files related to a range of personal injuries from less serious soft tissue cases to accidents which resulted in individuals having their quality of life radically changed, with the injuries arising from a wide range of accidents including road traffic, workplace and public place related accidents. The report established that where assessments made by the Injuries Board were rejected, the settlement amount ultimately secured by the claimant was higher in every one of the 418 files than the Injuries Board’s assessment. These findings provides clear evidence that those claimants who are willing to persevere and press ahead with court proceedings are more likely than not to end up securing more compensation. Follow this path and contact us immediately so that you can obtain the fair and reasonable compensation you deserve. After all, the accident was not your fault. To the the full report click here.
It should also be noted that Gary Matthews Solicitors believe these Injury Board Assessments are hopelessly out of date. This is echoed in the recent judgement by Barton J in McGarry v McGarry & ors  IEHC 426 where it was held that the Injuries Board Book of Quantum had not been kept updated (SINCE 2004!) to reflect awards of the courts. This is despite assurances being given by the Government at the time of the introduction of the Injuries Board Act in 2004 that the Book of Quantum would be updated every three years. Click on the link and scroll down to the bottom of the Judgement and read paragraphs 117 & 118 to read the comments of Justice Barton – here.
They are unable to deal with your claim. This can be for a variety of reasons-perhaps the Respondent (person you hold responsible for your accident) was not correctly named, or their address was not correct or there is some important documentation missing from your application such as a medical report or your fee was not paid. If this happens it is important to contact us immediately as the time in which to take your case to Court is running against you. It may be necessary to complete your Application correctly and re-lodge it with the Injuries Board.
They have assessed your claim. Once the Injuries Board put a value on your claim they will inform you and the Respondent of amount of the Assessment and then you have 28 days in which to accept or reject the amount of the assessment and The Respondent (other party) has 21 days in which to accept or reject the assessment. Once you get your Assessment you should contact us immediately and we will assist you in evaluating whether you should settle your claim at that time and whether the assessment is a fair offer for your injury and losses. If the assessment is accepted by both the Applicant and the Respondent then an Order to Pay the assessed amount issues from the injuries . If either the Applicant or the Respondent refuses the assessment then the Application is released from the Injuries Board. When the Application is released you are provided with an Authorisation and it is necessary to keep this document safe as it will be needed when court proceedings have to be issued. If you have received an Authorisation, you should contact us immediately.
Your application may have been accepted by the Injuries Board as being a valid claim but could be released from the Injuries Board before assessment for various reasons including:
1. You have not used the correct legal name of the Respondent. Remember, if you submit the application to the Injuries Board yourself and fail to name the correct person/legal entity that is liable to compensate you, you will lose your right to compensation once the Statute of Limitations expires. Injuries Board never advises you if you are suing the correct person/legal entity – we as your Solicitor always will;
2. There may be a question about liability i.e. who is responsible for your accident. People don’t realise (and the Injuries Board Never tell you), that the person/legal entity liable to compensate you, may agree to have your case assessed by the Injuries Board, wait on your assessment and then turn around (after 9-15 months) and reject the assessment and deny liability. You, who acted in good faith, is then left in the position that you need to instruct us to issue Court proceedings, but during the 9-15 months Injuries Board process, vital evidence that is essential to prove your case will not be preserved. Instructing us immediately will ensure this does not happen.
3. Investigations could be ongoing regarding your accident or
4. Your injuries may not be fully recovered in the time period that is set out for the Injuries Board to assess your claim.
It is important that you contact us immediately and we will explain to you why your case was released and what you should do next. You usually have two years from the date of your accident to lodge and have your application acknowledged by the Injuries Board. When the claim is released by the Injuries Boards other time limits apply and it is important to take legal advice from us as soon as possible to avoid the time limits expiring. If the time limits expires, your right to obtain compensation ceases.
We will be able to advise you why your case was released from the the Injuries Board, whether you have used the correct legal name of the Respondent in your application, whether you have included all potential respondents, the merits of your case, what difficulties there may be with liability, the value of your injury and losses or whether further investigations should be carried out. Furthermore we will advise you of the costs and outlays likely to arise in bringing proceedings, and your chances of success or failure in any potential proceedings.
If you decide to continue with proceedings we may have to carry out further investigations such as requesting an engineer’s report or obtain additional medical evidence by way of further medical reports. We will also ensure you claim for all your out of pocket expenses and that you have valid proof of all such expenses. We will then fully brief a Barrister with details of your claim- the circumstances, the other parties involved, the injuries and out of pocket losses incurred. Your Barrister will evaluate your case again and give you the benefit of their further advices and will draft the proceedings. We will review the proceedings with you and they will be issued in the Court that best reflects the value of your case – District Court up to €15,000; Circuit Court over €15,000 and up to €60,000 and the High Court for cases worth in excess of €60,000.
The vital thing to remember, is that once the Injuries Board issues an Authorisation in your case, time is of the essence and you MUST CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY in order to protect your rights. If you delay and the time limit to issue proceedings has expired, there is nothing we can do for you. Don’t let this happen.
What our clients say.
Gary and his Team are fantastic to deal with. They dealt with all areas professionally, diligently and with a manner that reflects glowingly. Personal elements are quite important and this is something Gary recognises, cannot speak highly enough.
I dealt with Gary on a case he was very efficient,very honest,very helpful,settled it very fast credit transfer done immediately highly recommended.
I can only praise Gary and his team for the excellent work dealt with in my case. I would highly recommend his firm. My case was dealt with in the highest quality from start to finish. Gary is highly professional and made me very at ease in my case. I can ensure you all that you will get Quality, Confidence and your case will be dealt with the excellence and professionalism you deserve.