Personal Injuries Solicitors* Dublin, Naas and Nationwide

We are an award winning specialised Personal Injury* Law Firm, with over thirty five years’ experience. We have offices in both Naas and Dublin and offer a national service in personal injury matters, where we represent clients from all over the country.

Why choose Hanahoe and Hanahoe

  1. We are an award-winning Law Firm, having twice been awarded Leinster Law Firm of the Year at the Irish Law Awards.
  2. In 2019 were selected as one of the best personal injury law* firms in the country, when we were nominated as Personal Injury and Medical Negligence Law Firm of the Year at the Irish law Awards.
  3. We have over forty years’ experience in dealing with Personal Injuries claims* and have a proven successful track record.
  4. We have solicitors’ offices in Dublin and Naas and offer a nationwide service, where we represent clients from all over the country. Offering consultations in person, by Zoom or over the phone
  5. Your case will be dealt with by an expert Personal Injury Solicitor* and not a legal executive or legal secretary. All cases are dealt with efficiently and proactively. We do not use unnecessary legal jargon and you will constantly be kept up to date with how your case is progressing.

How do I take a Personal Injuries Claim*?

Whether you have been injured in a car accident*, an accident at work* or an accident in a public place*, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. After you have sought medical attention you should then seek the advice of a good personal injury solicitor. They will explain to you the process of submitting your application to the Personal Injuries Assess Board (PIAB), taking a personal injury court case* if necessary, the Statute of Limitations, the Book of Quantum and assessing your personal injuries claim

Useful tips when bringing a Personal Injuries Claim*

Never settle your personal injuries claim* until your injuries have fully resolved or you have a final prognosis from a doctor.

It is important to realise that once you settle your personal injuries claim you cannot revisit the settlement. So, if your injuries get progressively worse, or you need subsequent treatment like surgery, you cannot go back to the insurance company and say I did not realise how badly I was injured when I settled my case. Insurance companies love settling personal injury claims early, because they know by doing so, they can often settle them for a fraction of what they are worth and buy off any risk that the injured party has suffered a serious injury.

Keep a diary of your injuries.

We would always recommend that clients have a diary at their bedside locker, to keep a brief note of how their injuries are affecting them. So, if for example you could not sleep at night because of your injuries, you would write one line in your diary saying ‘I couldn’t sleep for two hours last night with the pain’. If during the day you had difficulty for example at work or driving the car, that evening you would simply put in ‘I had pain in my back after driving today’. If you have no issues during the day or night, you simply leave the diary blank. You may need to go back to your doctor on a number of occasions as a result of your injuries. We find (and this is by no means a scientific survey) that people who keep a diary tend to recover for their injuries more quickly. Firstly, by keeping a diary, you do not forget to tell the doctor about some of your symptoms. Also, the mere fact that you keep a diary shows the doctor that your injuries are really affecting you and they tend to take them more seriously and prescribe the appropriate treatment be it medication, physio etc.

Go to a good Personal Injury Solicitors Firm*

This really needs no explanation. If you are bringing a personal injury claim* you should go to a solicitor’s firm that specialise in the area. They are best placed to advise you on liability, the appropriate defendants, the statute of limitations and the appropriate compensation for your injuries.

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board is an independent body set up for assessing personal injuries claims*. The purposes of the Board are to decrease personal injury litigation* and the amount of personal injuries claims going before the courts. The Personal Injury Assessment Board will only deal with cases where liability is not at issue. This means it will only deal with cases where someone accepts responsibility for the accident* and the injuries caused to the other party. A car accident*, where the injured party has been rear ended is a good example of this. If you are seeking compensation for a car accident, where you are sitting at a traffic light and someone crashes into you, there can be no dispute as to who is responsible for the accident. In these circumstances, PIAB will almost certainly assess your personal injuries claim.

Submitting an Application to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board

When bringing a personal injuries claim, the first thing we need to establish is who is responsible for the accident. Obviously in any personal injuries claim identifying the correct defendant or defendants is essential. Failing to do so in a timely manner can be fatal given the statute of limitations. If you have been in a car crash*, generally this is relatively straightforward and you simply need to get the name, address and insurance details of the other party. If you have been in an accident at work* or an accident in a public place*, finding the appropriate defendant can be more difficult. For example, you may, unknowingly have more than one employer, or the correct legal entity of your employer may be different from their trading name. Therefore, finding the correct defendant in an accident at work compensation claim*, may require significant investigations and various company, licensing or Land Registry searches. Once we have identified the appropriate defendants, we have to put them on notice of your personal injuries claim. It is also necessary to take up a medical report from your medical practitioner setting out when the accident happened, the injuries sustained, the treatment you received and the doctor’s prognosis for the future. Once we have all this information, we can then submit your Application to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board.

Assessing your personal injuries claim*

Once your application has been submitted, the Personal Injuries Board will write to the third party asking them to consent to assessing your personal injuries claim. On the basis that the third party agrees that they are responsible for the injuries you sustained in the accident; the Injuries Board will proceed to assess damages in your personal injuries case*. To do this, they will ask you to submit your schedule of special damages which is essentially a list of any expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident. They will also send you to an independent doctor who will assess your injuries and produce a medical report.

Making their Compensation* Assessment

Once the Personal Injuries Assessment Board have considered your schedule of special damages and medical evidence, they will assess what they feel is the appropriate compensation* in your personal injuries case*. Both parties can either reject or accept the assessment. This is where it is essential to have a good personal injury lawyer*. At Hanahoe & Hanahoe, we have over forty years’ experience and expertise to advise clients as to what is the appropriate compensation. In doing this, we take the following factors into account: –

  1. Have you either:- a) fully covered from your injuries? or; b) been medically advised that your injuries will not substantially deteriorate?
  2. Is liability at issue
  3. The Book of Quantum
  4. Our experience of cases where the personal injuries* sustained have been similar.

The Most Common Reasons as to why PIAB will refuse to assess your Personal Injuries Claim*:-

  1. Liability is at issueThe most common reason why PIAB will not assess a personal injuries claim is that liability is at issue and defendants will not consent to PIAB assessing the matter.
  2. Serious or Catastrophic Injuries*If you have sustained serious or catastrophic injuries* PIAB will not assess your case. PIAB only has nine months to assess personal injuries claims, which in certain circumstances can be extended by a further three months. If you have sustained a catastrophic injury, such as a spinal cord injury*, or any serious injury* and there is no prospect that your injuries will have resolved sufficiently in that time period or that you could obtain an accurate medical prognosis, PIAB will rightly refuse to assess your case. You can only appropriately settle a personal injury claim if your injuries have fully resolved or you have a final prognosis for a Doctor. This can take years in personal injuries claims where serious or catastrophic injuries have been suffered and therefore it would be entirely inappropriate to assess the matter after only twelve months.
  3. Severe Psychological Injuries*Being involved in any accident can be emotionally distressing. However, some people can suffer severe psychological injuries* over and above those associated with the stress of being in an accident. If you have suffered severe psychological injuries that require psychiatric care, the injuries board tends not to assess these personal injury claims.
  4. A recent separate accident.*If you have been in two or more accidents, where you have sustained personal injuries, in close proximity to each other, PIAB will tend not to assess your personal injury claim. This is because it is very difficult for the injuries board without taking evidence, to decipher which accident has caused which injury.

 

What happens if PIAB refuse to assess your personal injuries claim*?

If PIAB refuse to assess your personal injuries claim, they will issue an Authorisation. This document allows you to issue personal injuries court proceedings. Just because PIAB refuse to assess your case does not mean your case will not be successful, it just means they think it’s a matter more appropriately dealt with by the personal injuries court*.

Issuing Personal Injury Court Proceedings*

There are two reasons in personal injury claims why you would issue court proceedings;

  1. PIAB have refused to assess your personal injuries claim
  2. Either you or the other party have refused to accept the PIAB assessment.

It is important to note that just because you issue personal injury proceedings*, does not mean that you are going to court. Depending on the severity of the injuries there can be anything from about eighteen months until about three years before the case gets to a courtroom. At any stage in the intervening period, subject to your injuries and the attitude of the defendants you can settle your case. In fact, over ninety percent of cases settle before they get to court. If PIAB issue an Authorisation we together with a personal injuries’ barrister* will assess you case, draft the personal injuries summons* and advice on the next appropriate steps.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS AND TIME LIMITS FOR BRINGING A PERSONAL INJURIES CLAIM*

When bringing a personal injuries claim, it is essential that you do so within the time limits sets out in the Statute of Limitations Acts. If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may wish to bring a personal injuries claim. When bringing a claim for personal injuries, it is essential that you submit your application to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board and where necessary, issue your personal injuries court proceedings, within the strict time limit set out by the Statute of Limitations.

What is the statute of limitations?

The statute of limitations is the length of time a person has to initiate a personal injuries claim. The terms are set out in the Statute of Limitation Act, 1957 and the Amendment Act, 1991. Under the terms of the Act, a person has two years less one day from the date of knowledge of the injuries to initiate a personal injuries claim.

What is the date of knowledge?

According to the Act, when establishing the date of knowledge, one has to look at when the injured party had knowledge of the following facts: –

  • They had suffered a personal injury*;
  • The personal injury they suffered was significant;
  • The injury was attributable in whole or in part to an act or omission which is alleged to have constituted negligence, nuisance or breach of duty;
  • The identity of the defendant that caused the personal injury and;

In many cases, the date of knowledge will be the date of the accident. For example, if you broke your arm in a car accident*, you would immediately know: –

  • You have been injured in a car accident;
  • That your injuries had been significant.
  • Your injuries were caused by the other driver
  • The identity of the proper defendant

However, in many other cases, the date of knowledge can be more nuanced. Take for example if you suffered a repetitive strain injury* at work, you may not realise that you have had serious injuries for days, weeks, months or even years after the initial incident or accident. Or if you were in an accident in a public place*, you may not realise who is responsible for your injuries, until your personal injury solicitor* had carried the appropriate searches or investigations. That said, we would always advise people to air on the side of caution and to submit your application to the Injuries Board, within the two years, minus one day of the date of the accident. The last thing one wants to do, is to have an argument at the start of a personal injury court case, as to whether or not the case is statute barred.

Book of Quantum, in personal injuries claims

The Book of Quantum was created by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board in 2003, to provide people with general guidelines on how much compensation* they should be awarded in personal injury claims. The Book of Quantum was last revised in 2016 and its importance was recently highlighted in the Court of Appeal decision in McKeown v Crosby and others. The Book is compiled by assessing a large number of sample personal injuries claims which have been litigated before the courts. The current book was based on personal injury cases* brought in 2013 and 2014. This is very important to know when trying to assess the value of a personal injuries claim in today’s climate. There has been significant pressure from the insurance industry, some business groups and certain portions of the media, that the level of compensation awarded, particularly in soft tissue and whiplash type cases, should be reduced. This resulted in the Judicial Council Act being passed in 2019. The goal of this act was to establish a Judicial Council which would facilitate the education and training of judges, provide a mechanism for investigating complaints against judges and establish sensible guidelines concerning awarding damages and personal injuries claims. This is seen in the establishment of the Personal Injury Guidelines Committee which is to be chaired by the Honorable Judge Irvine.

On foot of a couple of notable decisions on the Court of Appeal, the awards being granted in personal injuries claims, particularly in relation to soft tissue and whiplash type injuries, have been significantly reduced in the last eighteen months. This coupled with the establishment of the new Personal Injury Guidelines Committee would lead one to wonder whether the Book of Quantum can still be considered an accurate guide when valuing personal injury claims*. However, as seen in the McKeown decision, it is still a good guideline.

It is only a guideline

It is important to note that the Book of Quantum was only ever designed as a guideline. Indeed, the decision in McFadden v Weir [2005] noted that a limitation of the book is that it cannot take account of how a particular personal injury* affects a particular injured part. While this was acknowledged in the McKeown decision, it noted that it runs the risk of similar plaintiffs with similar injuries getting dissimilar compensation. If anything, the current climate and recent decisions of the court of appeal, underlines a necessity of getting advice from a top personal injury law firm*. *In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.