Key Post Making a claim for personal injuries through the Injuries Board (PIAB)

Discussion in 'Askaboutlaw' started by Brendan Burgess, 19 Feb 2010.

  1. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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    Most people just go straight to their solicitor. But in the vast majority of cases, there is no need. You can handle most claims directly and quickly and cheaply through the Injuries Board

    You can only claim if someone else was responsible for the accident. You can't claim if you injured yourself.


    1) Apply to the Injuries Board - The application fee is just €50.
    2) They will write to the Respondent/Insurance company (We will call them the insurance company for the rest of this post)
    3) In straightforward cases, the iinsurance company will usually agree to you having your injuries assessed – this does not involve them admitting liability or agreeing to pay you any money.
    4) The Injuries Board will make an assessment as to how much you should get based on their Book of Quantum
    5) If you are not happy with the amount, you may go to court
    6) If the insurance company is not happy with the amount or if they dispute liability in the case, they may reject the assessment and you will have to pursue them through the courts.

    This process should take a around 10 months from start to finish. It used to take many years for personal injuries claims to be processed by the courts.

    You must apply to the InjuriesBoard whether or not you use a solicitor
    You cannot go straight to court anymore. If you don't accept the assessment of the Injuries Board, then you can go to court.

    If you use a solicitor, the solicitor must still submit your claim to the Injuries Board.

    You don’t usually need a solicitor for personal injuries
    The Personal Injuries Assessment Board was set up to reduce legal costs and to speed up claims. So you do not need to use a solicitor.

    The website is very user friendly. You can understand the full procedure and you can apply online. Or you can phone them from 8am to 8pm on Lo-Call 1890 829 121.

    This post is a good description of the administration work done by a solicitor, which you could do yourself

    Advantages of using a solicitor
    If you are uncomfortable with filling in fairly simple forms.
    If you don't have a solicitor, the insurance company may contact you and try to settle it cheaply.
    If you decide to go for an early settlement, it might be easier for a solicitor to contact the insurance company on your behalf.


    Disadvantages of using a solicitor
    Solicitors are expensive and you must pay the expenses out of the award you get. People are often shocked at the bill they get from the solicitors for submitting the claim which they could just have easily done themselves. Case 2

    If you use a solicitor, InjuriesBoard.ie is not allowed to deal with you directly anymore. They must go through your solicitor.

    Some solicitors are inefficient or busy and are slow in dealing with correspondence. Case 3

    Some solicitors are not trustworthy. They might negotiate a settlement with the insurance company to include damages and their costs. So if the solicitor asks for €50,000 and the insurance company offers €35,000 + €10,000 costs, what will the solicitor do? In the vast majority of cases, they will, of course, represent your best interests. (Note: In some cases, there may be a saving in VAT if the insurance company pays the solicitor directly.)

    Any award you get will be paid to your solicitor. There have been many complaints of solcitors being slow to pass on money to their clients. There have also been complaints of solicitors taking excessive fees from awards and passing on the net amount to their clients.

    You should use a solicitor in the following cases
    Where the injured person is under 18, as the final award must be approved by the court anyway.
    Where the driver is uninsured or untraced as you will be dealing with the MIBI.
    Where there is a fatality as there will be other complicated legal issues around wills and dependents.
    Where there is a problem with identifying the person to claim against. For example, are you claiming against the tenants of a building or against the landlord?

    There is nothing to stop you taking advice from a solicitor on a pay as you go basis
    In the vast majority of cases, you are better off dealing with the matter yourself. It’s quicker and you have no one getting in the way of correspondence, making appointments etc.

    • But that does not stop you using a solicitor for advice. Fill in the form yourself, and ask the solicitor to check it for you.
    • When you get the award, ask the solicitor their opinion on it.
    • If the Respondent rejects the award, you will need a solicitor anyway.
    It is expensive and cumbersome to have a solicitor acting as your secretary in making appointments with doctors, and replying to letters you could have replied to yourself.

    But be careful if you go for advice, that you don't get steamrolled into submitting the claim through them, as happened to this poster.

    You can settle with the insurance company any time.
    You don't need to wait until the Injuries Board makes their decision. The insurance company may make you an offer in the meantime. Or you can ask the insurance company to make an offer.

    This used to happen a lot when people had to wait years for the court case to be heard. As the Injuries Board has speeded up the process so much, you have little to lose by waiting.
     
  2. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    FAQ
    There is a comprehensive FAQ on InjuriesBoard.ie


    How much does it cost to make a claim
    An application fee of €50

    You also have to submit a report from your own doctor which you have to pay for yourself. The doctors charge €600 for a report in the standard Injuries Board format. However, the Injuries Board will accept a report in an ordinary format as long as it states that the injuries were due to the accident.

    The Injuries Board may require you to attend an independent doctor, but you don't have to pay for this.

    How much is my injury worth?
    Check out the InjuriesBoard.ie Estimator

    Do I have to pay tax on the compensation received?
    No. Compensation claims are not taxable.
    However, if you invest the money and interest or income received on the investment is taxable in the normal way.

    What happens if the insurance company disputes the liability?
    When the Injuries Board tells them of the claim, they may refuse consent to the assessment. Then the Injuries Board will give you a letter entitling you to go to court.

    Or the insurance company may consent to the assessment being made, but may reject the assessment when it is actually made and again, you will have to go to the court.

    I used a solicitor, but they now want to charge me €4,000 for processing the claim
    This is between you and the solicitor and is nothing to do with the Injuries Board.

    You should negotiate with your solicitor. This poster did and got a reductionl

    Solicitors are obliged to send you out a Section 68 letter at the start of the process outlining their fees. It's often very difficult for a solicitor to estimate in advance what the fee will be, but if you got no Section 68 letter, you will be in a stronger negotiating position.

    The other driver was not insured

    You can't go to the Injuries Board. You will have to go to the MIBI. Consult a solicitor immediately.

    What happens if I am not happy with the award from the Injuries Board?
    You can reject the award and go to court.

    If the court awards you more than the Injuries Board, you will also get your legal costs awarded too.

    If the court awards you less than the Injuries Board, you have to pay your own legal costs.

    This is discussed in more detail in this post.

    What happens if there are ongoing injuries and the case is difficult to assess?
    You must submit your claim to the Injuries Board within 2 years of the accident.
    It will probably be 10 months before they make their assessment and you can reject it at that stage.
    In rare cases, if the Injuries Board feels that they cannot make an assessment, they will pass over responsibility to the courts.

    How long does it take the courts to process a claim after it's released from the Injuries Board?
    Very difficult to predict. It seems to be around 3 years from these reports.
     
  3. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    Has anyone got experience of going directly to the Injuries Board without using a solicitor which they would like to share with us?
     
  4. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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  5. Vanilla

    Vanilla Frequent Poster

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    This thread is heavily biased against solicitors. The majority of your section devoted to 'disadvantages of using a solicitor' can be summed up as- in every profession there are a few people who are not good at their job, or may even not act in your best interests- watch out because you might get one of those. However the vast majority of solicitors have never had a valid complaint made against them, work in the best interests of their clients and are efficient and good at what they do.

    Imagine if I started a thread about any other profession where I made a remark such as made by Brendan above about solicitors accepting offers less favourable to their client in order to profit from a larger costs awards without the evidence to back it up.

    I would also take issue with the statement that it is something that people can just as easily do themselves. Many people could run their own PIAB claim, I'm sure, but would the result be the same? The Law Society surveyed awards made by PIAB where claimants were represented by solicitor and where they were unrepresented, and unsurprisingly, those represented achieved higher awards.

    Remember the aim of PIAB, heavily lobbied for by the insurance industry, was to reduce the amount of awards made both in relation to costs and awards themselves, which they have succeeded in.
     
  6. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    Hi Vanilla

    I made a genuine effort to write a balanced account and conceal my "biases".

    I list out four disadvantages. Two are about dishonesty. Two are about other reasons. Hardly the majority. I thought I was quite clear that most solicitors are honest.

    I listed out three advantages of using a solicitor. I listed out 4 situations in which you should use a solicitor.

    I think it's balanced rather than biased.

    I am quite clear that in the majority of cases, people should apply directly themselves without solicitors. It will save them money and another layer of hassle. If this is "bias" , so be it.

    If there is no advantage to using a solicitor, then I think it's only right to list out the downsides.

    The word "bias" springs to mind here. Has there been any independent survey of the awards?

    The main aim of PIAB was to reduce the legal costs and to speed up the settlement. It has succeeded in both very dramatically. As a result the cost of insurance has fallen.

    Where was it stated that the aim of PIAB was to reduce the amount of the awards?
     
  7. MOB

    MOB Frequent Poster

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    Brendan,

    while much of what you say may be valid in some cases ( and possibly many cases) for a person who is capable of making a PIAB claim without legal assistance, the fact is that there is a free market out there, and the message that you can go straight to PIAB has been widely promoted. Yet most people prefer to engage a solicitor.

    I think that to some extent you have also accepted rather unquestioningly some of the PIAB statistics. I have to admit to being something of a pedant when it comes to the questionable use of statistics -and I have not trawled extensively through the PIAB stats. However, it is worth just examining a couple:

    PIAB quote the "No. of new Claims" for '09. '08 and '07 as being 25,919 , 24,722 and 23,345 respectively.
    They quote the number of awards as being 8,645 , 8,845 and 8,208 respectively. That's 74,000 claims and 25,700 awards.

    Where did the other c. 50,000 claims go?

    Two main places: firstly, awards that were not accepted ( and had to go to court or for settlement before court) and secondly cases that PIAB passed on ( i.e. issued a court authorisation without assessing the case).

    It may well be true that, as you say:

    "In rare cases, if the Injuries Board feels that they cannot make an assessment, they will pass over responsibility to the courts."

    OR it may be the case that PIAB only deal with simple cases and 'pass' on a very significant percentage. I could not easily find this information on their website, so I simply don't know how many cases they refuse to deal with.

    It is also important for users to know that PIAB does not give legal advice. If you omit to claim something, or do not know that you can claim for something, they are not likely to tell you to amend your claim. I think the reason most people choose to use a solicitor is fear of the unknown. In many cases, those people might well have managed fine on their own. But in many cases ( I won't say a majority, though it might well be, but certainly it is not a tiny minority of cases) the solicitor will ensure that the full entitlement is claimed in circumstances where the lay claimant will fail to do so.

    Also, it is all very well to say that you should use a solicitor "Where there is a problem with identifying the person to claim against.". Sometimes (relatively often) it is not at all obvious that it is appropriate to join a person(s) as a defendant. To give you one real-life example, I had a case where a stationary car was rear-ended. The driver claimed (using my services) and got his settlement relatively quickly. Then one of the passengers - on the driver's recommendation - approached me to make a claim, as he was suffering from mild neck and back pain. It turned out that he had been hit on the back of the head by a spare tire which had been loosely stowed in the boot, which either he or the driver had put there and failed to secure. He had no idea that this altered the liability position somewhat. In fairness, he was not the sharpest tool in the box. But he could easily have ended up with his settlement cut in half if he had not received the appropriate legal advice and he didn't even know he had an issue.

    I have had the same thing with a client who suffered an injury on a building site. He named the wrong defendant and it was 'corrected' by PIAB, but they named the wrong defendant too!

    That is two examples from about 10 cases ( I really don't do much of this work).

    Not scientific, I know, but enough for me to feel comfortable stating that in many PIAB cases, and quite possibly the majority of them, you will be better off with proper legal representation.
     
  8. z107

    z107 Guest

    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    If I was in the unfortunate position of having a serious injury in an accident, I would feel far more comfortable consulting a solicitor, rather than some quango.

    Other advantages of using a solicitor:
    - Solicitors know what they are doing.
    - Peace of mind.
    - They are on your side, because you are paying them to be.
    - Probably better results.

    You may have to live with the results of this for the rest of your life.
     
  9. bond-007

    bond-007 Frequent Poster

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    I wonder what percentage of cases handled by the Injuries Board are submitted by solicitors? I would wager it is very high.
     
  10. allthedoyles

    allthedoyles Frequent Poster

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    Solicitor versus PIAB


    In the last 10 years , we have used both solicitor and PIAB on two separate occasions , but both were RTA's.( involving personal injuries )

    On the first occasion using solicitor , an award was made in our favour in Local Court , but subject to appeal .
    The appeal was heard in the Circuit Court , and once again , an award was made in our favour , But this time the award was only 25 % of the original award .

    This court process took over 4 years from date of accident to final court appearance , and the final award was only around 25 % of the amount listed in the PIAB ' Book of Quantum '

    Second occasion , we decided to use PIAB , and we completed application form / all other documents ourselves , and forwarded them to PIAB , along with the application fee of € 50.
    A compensation offer was quickly received , and agreed between all parties concerned .
    This PIAB process took around 6 months from date of accident to receiving cheque .

    We would have no hesitation in recommending PIAB .
     
  11. bond-007

    bond-007 Frequent Poster

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    You have to use PIAB regardless.
     
  12. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    Hi allthedoyles

    Your experience is very interesting because it shows how the Injuries Board has dramatically speeded up and improved the experience for claimants.

    However, everyone now has to go through the Injuries Board, so the issue is whether one needs to use a solicitor or not.

    As a direct applicant, did you find the process easy? Would you recommend it over using a solicitor?

    Having got your award, you had the right to reject it and go to the courts. Were you satisfied with your award? Were you attempted to appeal it?
     
  13. MOB

    MOB Frequent Poster

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    To be fair Brendan, it would not be ( or at least it may not) correct to state that

    "Your experience is very interesting because it shows how the Injuries Board has dramatically speeded up and improved the experience for claimants."

    It would be more accurate to state that the Injuries Board has dramatically speeded up and improved the experience for some claimants. For others, it has simply created a procedural obstacle which must be negotiated before they can make progress with their claim.

    Neither my anecdotal experience nor that of Allthedoyles will really allow us draw any firm conclusions. We need hard data - unfortunately hard to find, as the Injuries Board stats do not of themselves give us sufficient information. There is probably no great merit in the Law Society collating the necessary data - they would not be regarded as disinterested. Perhaps a C & AG report in a couple of years will give us a figure that we can use.
     
  14. asknicely

    asknicely Registered User

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    HI Brendan,

    Referring to your question earlier regarding has anyone went to injuries Board on their own, I am pleased to say I have. I only applied a few weeks ago and already I have had an offer from the Insurance Co. Its not a complicated matter as far as I can see, someone crashed into a car that I was a passenger in, the driver of the other vehicle admitted liability straight away and they have paid out for the cost of the car to be fixed and also a personal injury claim that was not through Injuries Board. The driver of the car I was in went straight to the Insurance Co.

    I have an ongoing injury that requires physio and also causes alot of discomfort. All I had to do really was get my medical report from my Gp and fill out the form. Then send those away with my receipts with a PO for €50. Just one word of warning for anyone who is making an application. I asked my GP for a medical report regarding the accident and I was quoted €600 to have it in injuries board format. (template is on the website) I rang injuries board and they told me I did not need the special format once the GP report is clear that the injuries ustained were from the accident. The Seretary in the GP's said it was the IMO who set the prices for these report. Anyway, I got a standard one for €400.

    Im happy to go straight to Injuries Board and not use a Solicitor but if it were a more complicated matter I would think again.

    I thought that one of the reasons on setting up the Board was that it would cut down on legal fees for both insurance companies and applicants. So it doesnt make sense to me to go to a Solicitor for a cut and dry case as your award does not include legal fees unless in some circumstances.

    I hope to have the matter resolved soon and I will let you know how I get on.

    AN
     
  15. bond-007

    bond-007 Frequent Poster

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    The cost of the necessary medical report may be prohibitive for many lay claimants. If they went via a solicitor that would be included in outlays and recovered at the end from any award.
     
  16. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    Hi AN

    That is a very interesting account and thanks for the tip, which I have incorporated in the Key Post.

    It seems to be working from a speed point of view. The Insurance Company is anxious to settle it promptly. I don't remember hearing such cases pre PIAB. Cases seemed to drag on and on.

    How are you going to respond to the offer? Have you used the Injuries Board Estimator? Are you happy to negotiate directly with them?

    In one sense, is the speed not working against you here? If you agree a figure now, and the injury gets worse over time, where will that leave you?
     
  17. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    But I presume that the Injuries Board's award will include the cost of the medical report and the application fee?

    If I go via a solicitor, will the solicitor pay my doctor immediately themselves and not ask me to pay it?
     
  18. bond-007

    bond-007 Frequent Poster

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    It will.
    Normally they pay it themselves and recover it form the award.
     
  19. MOB

    MOB Frequent Poster

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    I forgot to mention that there can be good financial reasons for the insurer to offer a separate cheque toward legal costs; this can reduce the overall cost, thus funding a higher nett settlement amount for the claimant (or a lower cost to the insurer, depending on your perspective). So, just in case anyone might think that a solicitor (acting properly and in your interests) should not agree to negotiate a "two cheques" settlement proposal, it ain't necessarily so.
     
  20. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

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    Re: What to do if you are injured in an accident

    Hi MOB

    So as not to take this thread off topic, I have moved the posts on VAT to the Askaboutbusiness section.

    I have updated the OP to reflect your comments on the two cheques.