10 Things You Need to Know When Launching a Personal Injury Claim

10 Things You Need to Know When Launching a Personal Injury Claim

‘Personal injury claims’ refer to the legal action initiated by an injured person if they have been involved in an accident and/or have been injured as the result of actions/inactions or negligence of a third party. Such incidents can be broad in scope, ranging from road traffic accidents, to accidents at work, to accidents in public places, or medical negligence.

While most people will be fortunate enough to never need to launch a personal injury claim, it is important to know what the process involves and what you will need to do if you feel that you have grounds for a claim.

Although every case is different, the below steps offer a broad outline of what you should do in the event that you are injured as the result of an injury caused by a third party.

1. Contact a Solicitor

Speak to a solicitor that specialises in personal injury law, as they will be able to tell you whether you have grounds to pursue a compensation claim prior to launching an expensive and timely legal challenge.

2. Inform the Party at Fault

You must notify those responsible for your injury within two months of the incident occurring. While you can still launch a claim after the initial two months, it may work against you if the case goes to court.

3. Gather Your Evidence

The third step is to gather the relevant evidence that will be used to support your claim. This usually involves obtaining medical records and/or getting a medical report that details the extent of your injuries.

4. Submit a claim to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board

Following the collection of your medical evidence, you must then submit your claim to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB). The function of the PIAB is to evaluate and assess personal injury claims. All personal injury claims in Ireland (except for cases involving medical negligence) must be submitted to PIAB.

5. Wait for the Party at Fault to Respond

The party at fault, known as the ‘Respondent’, will then be contacted by the PIAB. The PIAB will ask if the Respondent if they are happy for your claim to be assessed. If the Respondent declines, you must go straight to step 7.

6. Wait for the PIAB assessment

If the Respondent has accepted the assessment, the PIAB will take no more than 15 months in the evaluation of your case and to decide the amount of compensation that you should be entitled to. If both you and the Respondent accept the findings and decision of the assessment, you will receive your settlement and the claim will end.

7. Launching Court Proceedings

Should either you or the Respondent reject the findings of the PIAB, authorisation will be issued by the board to launch court proceedings.

8. Initiate Negotiations and Attend a Settlement Meeting

At this stage, your solicitor will gather further evidence in support of your claim, while also contacting the other side in relation to the negotiation of a suitable settlement.  This will often involve your legal counsel meeting with the Respondent and/or their legal representatives to reach a viable solution, known as a ‘settlement meeting’.

9. Attend Court

If a settlement agreeable to both sides cannot be reached, the case will then be brought to court where a judge will decide the outcome.

10. Settlement of the Claim

At this stage, there are two outcomes; either both parties will have agreed on a suitable compensation amount, or the judge will determine how much compensation you should receive. Either of these outcomes will finalise the settlement of your claim, and you cannot claim further compensation in the future for the same personal injury.

For further information about any of the points listed above, or if you wish to launch a personal injury claim, contact your solicitor who will work with you to evaluate your options and provide you with a comprehensive assessment of your case.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

Lidl successfully defends claim against woman who alleged she was knocked down by child in shop

Lidl successfully defends claim against woman who alleged she was knocked down by child in shop

Jiao Zhang, a Dublin accountant, was unsuccessful in her claim against Lidl in the Circuit Court.

Claimed child was running amok

Ms Zhang claimed that a child had been running amok in the Lidl shop in Leixlip where she was shopping. She was 16 weeks pregnant at the time. She claimed that child had been out of control in shop in full view of the staff. According to Ms Zhang, the nine-year-old struck her from behind and knocked her down. She twisted her body to protect the bump.


Ms Zhang had initially claimed that she had suffered injury to right leg but later told doctors that it was her left leg. At the hearing, she also alleged that she suffered back injuries. However, this had not been mentioned to her doctors, nor was it disclosed to the doctor who examined her on behalf of Lidl. Medical records also disclosed during the course of the proceedings that Ms Zhang had suffered with back pain previously when pregnant in 2014, and that she had been referred to specialists.

CCTV footage

CCTV footage of the incident was put to Ms Zhang in cross examination. The barrister for Lidl suggested that the CCTV footage demonstrated that Ms Zhang had in fact put her leg out to trip the child who then collided with her leg.

Claim dismissed

Judge Sarah Berkley dismissed Ms Zhang’s claim. Judge Berkely stated that she had watched the footage of the events after the collision and it did not disclose that Ms Zhang had fallen to the ground in the manner she had described to her treating medical doctors. The judge also noted that Ms Zhang had made no mention of the back injury she now complained of in court. Ms Zhang was also ordered to pay Lidl’s legal costs of defending the action.

.*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

Payout of €4 Million for Disabled Teenager Over Circumstances of Birth

Payout of €4 Million for Disabled Teenager Over Circumstances of Birth

The mother of a disabled teenager has said that Ireland “is no country to have a disabled child” in after securing an interim High Court settlement over the circumstances of her son’s birth.

Through his mother, the teenager was suing the HSE over the care and treatment of his birth at Portiuncula Hospital in Galway in 2005. It was alleged by the complainant that his mother’s labour while at the hospital was incompetently managed, and that there had been a failure to intervene and proceed in performing a Caesarean section that led to an unnecessarily prolonged period of birth asphyxia for the baby.

Hypoxic-Ischaemic Encephalopathy

As a result of the asphyxia, it was claimed the complaint later developed hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, a type of brain damage that occurs when the brain does not receive enough oxygen or blood flow for a sustained period of time.

Counsel for the complainant argued that, during delivery, the baby had been gasping for oxygen and inhaled meconium, a toxic substance. They went on to say that the mother had thought her baby was dead as he looked flat and grey once delivered.

The court heard how the complainant now requires constant supervision and has significant needs, which led his mother to take a five-year career break following his birth in 2005. Because of this, she was only able to return to work in 2010 on a part-time basis.

Throughout his life, the complainant has required various special treatments, and to this day remains under the care of numerous specialists that provide ongoing and substantial services.

Son not reaching crucial developmental milestones

Speaking with emotion about her son and his condition, his mother told the court how “Ireland is no country to have a disabled child” in, having to fight for even the most basic of essentials for her son who has autism, ADHD, cognitive delay and behavioural issues. She went on to say that circumstances could not have been made for difficult for the family, and that she knew her son was not reaching crucial developmental milestones.

“I feel so sorry for anybody who has a disabled child in this country”, she said.

A settlement of €4 million, which was without an admission of liability from the HSE, represents an interim payout for the next five years. In approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey noted that it was a very sad case and praised the boy’s parents for what they have done for their son thus far.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

High Court action for €70,000 settled for playground accident

High Court action for €70,000 settled for playground accident

The High Court heard how the girl, who was four years old at the time of the incident and accompanied by her father, had been playing at her local playground September 5, 2018 in Dublin. While running towards one of the slides in the playground, it was claimed that the child tripped on a black rubber mesh mat that was allegedly protruding from a grassy area.

Upon tripping, it was alleged that the girl hit her head against the edges of the slide, sustaining a burst laceration to the left side of her forehead. She was then taken to hospital where the laceration was repaired under general anaesthetic.

As a result of her injury, the girl, who is now seven, has been left with a 4cm scar over her eyebrow. Although medical reports indicate that the scar is permanent in nature, it is expected that the visibility of the scar will fade over time and they settled her High Court action for €70,000.

Playground Regularly Inspected

Hearing the case, Mr Justice Garrett Simons noted that liability was at issue, and that Dublin City Council had contended an unknown third party had interfered with the playground mat. Dublin City Council further stated the playground was regularly inspected, which the judge said was proven by documents which came to light during the discovery process of the case. With that in mind, Judge Simons said the crucial fact was that there was a risk in relation to liability of the case.

In approving the settlement amount of €70,000, Judge Simons informed the girl’s mother that “a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush”. He further noted that he had the benefit of three medical reports, and also inspected the scar which he said was “just about noticeable”. Despite this, he commented that the girl appeared to be handling it very well.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

Dunnes Stores Loses Appeal Against €83k Damages Awarded to Woman Who Slipped on Shop Floor

Dunnes Stores Loses Appeal Against €83k Damages Awarded to Woman Who Slipped on Shop Floor

Dunnes Stores has lost in its appeal against an award of €83,000 in damages to a woman who slipped and fell in one of its stores.

Oil-Like Substance on Shop Floor

The award was made to a 60-year-old woman following her fall at one of the chain’s outlets in the Ashleaf Shopping Centre in Walkinstown, Dublin 12, in June of 2013. In December of 2020, Mr Justice Michael Hanna of the High Court found in favour of the complainant, concluding that she had fallen due to a small amount of an oil-like substance on the supermarket floor. He further noted that the woman’s injuries, which included soft tissue damage to her knees, had not been overstated or embellished.

In a judgment on behalf of the three-judge Court of Appeal on Wednesday, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said that the crux of Dunnes’ appeal centred on the supposed lack of evidence for the judge to conclude there had been a contaminant on the floor that caused the accident. It further contested that the complainant had not originally stated that there was a substance on the ground, and that Dunnes was therefore called upon to argue against a case that had not been made.

However, Justice Noonan refuted this reasoning, saying that Dunnes should have applied for an adjournment if it felt it would be prejudiced at the trial when the complainant sought to amend her account in light of new evidence. Dunnes was not being asked to meet an entirely new case, Justice Noonan said, noting that the woman had always attested her fall was the result of an extremely slippery floor. The difference now was that the complainant said it was due to a spillage as opposed to an overly polished floor.

“Misconceived” Argument

According to Justice Noonan, it was a “misconceived” argument to say that the trial judge in the original case was not entitled to infer, in the absence of direct evidence, that there was a slippery substance on the floor, adding that he too would have drawn “precisely the same inferences”.

On behalf of the three-judge Court of Appeal, Mr Justice Noonan dismissed the case brought by Dunnes in its entirety.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

Old Roller-Skating Injury Awards €27k

Old Roller-Skating Injury Awards €27k

Gradual Decline of a Step

The Circuit Civil Court heard how the woman, who was 11-years-old at the time of the incident, had been roller-skating with members of the Cool Kids youth club in 2009 at the Spin Roller disco on the Longmile Road, Dublin, when she suddenly fell on a sloping decline of a step while returning from the bathroom.

Barrister Kevin D’Arcy told the court of how it was thought at first that she had broken her right ankle as a result of the fall. Following the incident, she was taken to Tallaght hospital where her foot and ankle had been treated for a fracture.

After her initial treatment, the complainant was later referred to Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon David P. Moore of the fracture clinic. However, it was eventually uncovered that she had not suffered any bone injuries.

She has been awarded damages of €27,500 after slipping and injuring her ankle while roller-skating 13 years ago during a Christmas outing.

Soft Tissue Injury

Proceedings before the court were therefore dealing with what had transpired to be a soft tissue injury with lingering issues.

The woman, who is now 24, attested that her life had been significantly impacted by the injury, forcing her to give up both gymnastics and her hobby as a majorette at her school. Her social life had also been interrupted throughout her schooling and post-education.

Mr D’Arcy informed Judge James McCourt of how the complainant’s solicitors had carried out extensive correspondence with one of the defendants, Liam Sutcliffe, as well as a defendant company, Zenroyal Limited, of Finches Park, Longmile Road, which was no longer in existence. Mr D’Arcy further noted that a judgement had been obtained by the complainant’s solicitors against Mr Sutcliffe in default of appearance, reporting that when his name was called out in court, he had not answered and was not legally represented.

Judge McCourt stated that, in consideration of the evidence that was presented before the court and that he would only being dealing with Mr Suttcliffe, the complainant, who Judge McCourt acknowledged had waited a long time to have her case dealt with, was entitled to succeed with her claim.

For her pain and injuries to date, as well as in to the future, the woman was awarded €27,500 damages against Mr Sutcliffe, together with Circuit Court costs.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*