If you find yourself in a motor vehicle accident, particularly one where the other person is at fault but you are the one suffering whiplash or other related injuries, you may have already encountered the PIAB in Ireland. If you haven’t, the process may seem confusing or overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be if you can get the right assistance.
What To Do When You’re In a Motor Vehicle Accident
Chances are that you have arrived on this page because you’ve already been in an accident and have encountered some issues. However, hopefully, the first thing you have done (after getting details from the other driver) is taking photographs of the accident site and both vehicles. Why? Because your lawyer will need as much evidence as you can provide if they are going to be able to help you.
Obviously, you should seek medical attention, although it is not uncommon for people to feel like that have suffered no injuries, then wake up the next morning unable to move their head. At the first sign of symptoms of injury please see a professional. Of course, if you have no injuries you are unlikely to have much reason to file a personal injury claim.
Generally, the next step will be to contact PIAB – Injury Board Ireland. When you do this keep the conversation brief, just stick to the basic facts and notify them that you have been involved in an accident.
What Does The PIAB Do?
The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) is the government body that is responsible for assessing personal injury claims and awarding compensation. They are completely independent and impartial – even if your claim is against a government body.
The PIAB has also commissioned a guideline for the amount likely to be awarded for any personal injury claim. This has been drawn up under the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003 and was released in 2016. Called the “Book of Quantum” it can provide a helpful indication of a potential payout https://www.piab.ie/eng/forms-guidelines/Book-of-Quantum.pdf However, you should still consider speaking to a specialist Personal Injury Claim lawyer. The Book of Quantum is a guide, not a definitive final amount for payout.
Do I Have To Claim With PIAB?
The majority of claims are required to be assessed by the PIAB, with the exception being medical negligence. However, if either you or the respondent disagree with the PIAB assessment you have the right to take further action through the court system. If you have engaged a personal injury lawyer they will be able to advise you further.
Using A Personal Injury Solicitor
Although unable to advertise the fact, many lawyers that specialize in personal injury claims in Ireland work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, where they take a percentage of the final settlement awarded when (and if) they win the case for you. When you first consult with a lawyer this is one of the things that you should establish right up front. If the lawyer is not confident in their ability to win the case for you that will likely not take the case on. Your options then would be to try another lawyer or to consider paying an hourly fee.
You may choose to put a claim in with the PIAB yourself first, and then engage a personal claim solicitor if you are not happy with the figure that the board wishes to award you. Often the PIAB will work only on their Book of Quantum, and not take other circumstances into consideration. Your age may be a factor that should be considered, or your gender (certain injuries are likely to cause more concern to one gender over the other).
Not all injuries are visible, and a personal injury solicitor may also be able to guide you better if you are looking to claim regarding a psychological injury (see here for what this may cover). They will also be able to advise you if you have other special circumstances that should be considered, for example, having to have your vehicle reconfigured to allow any form of quality of life.