Common Pitfalls for Claimants in the Injuries Resolution Board Process

Injuries Resolution Board

Navigating a personal injury claim through the Injuries Resolution Board (IRB) can be daunting. While the IRB advertises that claimants can proceed without legal representation, many find themselves ensnared by various pitfalls that can jeopardise their claims. This article delves into the common challenges claimants face and outlines why enlisting the expertise of a personal injuries solicitor is crucial for a successful resolution.

Common Pitfalls in the IRB Process

• Statute of Limitations:
The IRB requires that claims be filed within two years from the date of the incident. This law and deadline is prescribed for under the Statute of Limitations Act. Missing this deadline means your claim becomes statute barred, effectively denying any chance for compensation.

• Medical Report Requirements:
A comprehensive medical report from your treating doctor is mandatory for your IRB application. This report should detail the injuries sustained, treatment received, and prognosis for the future. It is crucial for claimants to be aware that this report is required by the Injuries Resolution Board in your application before statute/the clock can be stopped.

• Identifying the Correct Respondent/s:
One of the most critical yet challenging aspects of pursuing a claim through the Injuries Resolution Board is correctly identifying the correct legal entity responsible for your injuries. These are the common scenarios where identifying the right respondent is key:

  1. Employer’s Liability: In workplace accidents, liability depends on whether your employer is a limited company, a sole trader, or if you were subcontracted. Other contractors or third-party companies at your workplace might also be responsible.
  2. Public Liability: Accidents in public spaces like parks or footpaths may involve multiple entities such as local councils, utility companies, or private contractors.
  3. Occupier’s Liability: In incidents at commercial spaces like shops, pubs or nightclubs, it’s vital to identify whether the commercial entity or a service provider like a cleaning or security company is also liable.
  4. Road Traffic Accidents: These may involve multiple respondents from individual drivers to commercial vehicle operators, particularly in cases involving public transport operators like Dublin Bus or Bus Éireann.

• Letter Before Action to the Respondent:
This vital letter must be sent by the claimant to the alleged Respondent within one month of the incident, as stipulated by law. If the claimant fails to do so, the Court “shall” draw such inferences from the failure as appear proper, potentially resulting in cost penalties for the claimant if the case proceeds beyond the Injuries Resolution Board to a Court trial. This deadline was shortened from two months, as originally set out in Section 8 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004, to one month according to Section 13 of the Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Act 2018 which makes the claimant’s obligations even more onerous.

Why You Need a Personal Injuries Solicitor:

  1. Expert Navigation: Solicitors possess the necessary experience and resources to handle the intricacies of the IRB process and avoid all of the above common pitfalls.
  2. Settlement Negotiations: The Personal Injuries Solicitor can negotiate settlements directly with Respondents insurance companies where it is advisable to do so (Eg. When the claimant’s injuries are minor and the claim can be resolved quickly and directly with the insurance company rather than waiting 12-18 months for the Injuries Resolution Board to complete their assessment).
  3. Advocacy for Severe Cases: In cases of severe and catastrophic injuries, your Solicitor can advocate on your behalf to the Injuries Resolution Board as to why they should utilise the discretion afforded to them under Section 17 (b)(i)(I) of the PIAB acts to issue an authorisation and let the case proceed through the courts process. This is particularly important in cases where claimants may require the opinion of Occupational Therapists, Vocational Assessors and Actuaries depending on their own personal circumstances (ie financial/employment position and living situation) and how their injuries will affect them going forward. In these circumstances, the Injuries Resolution Board are not equipped to deal with claims that fall into this category and your Solicitor will be able to fast track your claim through the Injuries Resolution Board process and into the Court process where you can be adequately compensated.

Criticisms of the Injuries Resolution Board:

Despite the IRB’s position that a solicitor is not required, this advice often falls short in practice. The Board’s primary advice does not cater to complex scenarios, leading many claimants to seek legal assistance only when complications arise, sometimes too late for effective remediation.

The pitfalls within the IRB process can significantly impede a claimant’s ability to secure fair compensation. Personal injuries solicitors not only help avoid these pitfalls but also enhance the likelihood of a successful claim. Their expertise ensures that all procedural requirements are met, the correct parties are held accountable, and the claimant’s rights are robustly defended throughout the process. So, while the IRB suggests that legal representation is not necessary, the reality of navigating the legal labyrinth of personal injury claims often proves otherwise!

At Anthony Joyce & Co Solicitors, we can help you navigate your way through making a personal injury claim so you can receive a timely decision. Our legal representation will fight for your rights and get you the outcome you deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation.

More insights: A Shift Towards Transparency in Personal Injury Claim Assessments

Anthony Joyce

Anthony founded Anthony Joyce & Co. Solicitors in March 2004 in the oldest part of Dublin known as the Liberties (originally a tax free part of Dublin!!). He is focused on building the practice in certain niche areas of law such as financial litigation and personal insolvency. Entrepreneurship is in his blood and he is on the board of a number of start-ups. If Anthony is not available he could be watching a SpaceX rocket launch, spending time with his two children or playing 5-a-side.

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