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Personal Injuries' procedure

Personal Injuries: 1. Is there a specific period of time in which a claimant has to claim? 2. If so, is that period considered from time of injury or time of first notification to insurer? 3.Is the Personal Injuries Board creditable or should a Solicitor be engaged or can both be done? Damien

1.         The Statute of Limitations requires a claim to be filed with the Injuries Board within two years of the accident happening.  When the Injuries Board registers the claim the clock stops running on the two years.  Once the claim is released from the Injuries Board, either with an award or a refusal to consider it, the clock starts running again but with an extra six months, which will allow the claimant issue Court proceedings. 

2.         The period is from the date of the injury and not first notification to the insurer.  There is an exception to this for claimants under 18 in which the clock doesn’t start running until the child becomes 18 but there are a number of very important exceptions to this, for example if the guilty party in the accident dies in that accident then there is no extension to the time.  It is also possible that if a person doesn’t reasonably know that they have an injury (they may be knocked unconscious and in a coma for a number of months) then the Statute of Limitations allows an argument to be made that the clock does not start running until they reasonably became aware of the injury.

3.         The Injuries Board was established by law after extensive lobbying by the insurance companies, the Board is funded by the insurance companies and it is staffed principally by ex-insurance company officials.  I will not make any comment on its creditability.  A claimant is free to file a claim directly with the Board or through a Solicitor.  Statistics show that 97% of claimants choose to file their claim through Solicitors on the basis that the procedures are extremely complex and most claimants choose to have the comfort of professional legal representation in the handling of their claim.

Important Note: There are many exceptions to the rules regarding extending time under the Statute of Limitations and any amendments to this legislation. If any listener or reader is thinking about filing a claim, they should not in any circumstances allow 2 years pass without action taken under legal advice. The consequences of allowing a claim becomming Statute Barred are that the right to claim may be lost forever.

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

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