Making a claim on public liability insurance
Process will take seven months, on average
If you feel that you are in a position to make a public liability claim, either against a homeowner or another owner of property, your first port of call might be the Injuries Board.
This is the government body which makes personal injury awards. Last year its average award for a public liability claim was €22,656, and it received almost 5,000 such claims.
According to a spokesman for the board, the vast majority of incidents it assesses take place in a public space, but it could also consider those in a private home.
Firstly, you will need to fill out a claim application form online at injuriesboard.ie, which you must submit along with a copy of your medical report and a €45 processing fee.
The respondent, against whom you are making the claim, will receive notification of your claim, and will typically pass it on to their insurance company.
An independent medical examination might form part of the process. After this, the Injuries Board will make its assessment for the amount of compensation – if any – you should be awarded.
If both parties accept this, you will then receive a cheque for the said amount, which is tax-free. If the respondent doesn't accept the assessment, you may pursue them through the courts. The process takes an average of seven months.
If you decide not to submit your claim yourself, you can appoint a solicitor, although additional fees will apply. Typically, solicitors operating in this space work on a "no win-no fee" basis.
The Injuries Board provides estimates on possible compensation awards on its website. For example, an injury to your skull might warrant an award of between €23,300 and €129,000; while you might receive as much as €11,100 for a broken tooth or up to €79,800 for a severe femur fracture.
Don't make such a claim lightly however. Personal injury claims have jumped by almost 25 per cent since 2007, which is a "real concern" according to the Injuries Board. It lays the blame for much of the increase in claims at the feet of claims handling intermediaries who have become aggressive in their targeting of claimants.