Is it possible to claim compensation for an injury in an accident in a shop if the shop has since closed?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

Is it possible to claim compensation for an injury in an accident in a shop if the shop has since closed?

Answer:

If you wish to claim compensation for an injury in an accident in a shop which has since closed, it is still possible to do so against the shop´s former public liability insurance company, but your claim could become complicated if you have not already completed some of the standard procedures – such as recording your injury in the shop´s “Accident Report Book”.

The first thing you would need to do in order to claim compensation for an injury in an accident in a shop is to trace the shop´s former public liability company. This can be done via the Companies Registration Office where the shop should have filed its annual reports. You will need the name and address of the insurance company, plus the shop´s public liability insurance policy number.

With this information, you need to apply to the Injuries Board Ireland for an assessment of your injury in an accident in a shop compensation claim. The Injuries Board Ireland will write to the insurance company, asking them for consent to proceed with your assessment – effectively asking them to admit liability for the former client´s negligence.

The insurance company will investigate your accident – which is why it is so important that it is recorded in the “Accident Report Book” – and advise the Injuries Board Ireland whether they consent or not to an assessment of your claim for an injury in an accident in a shop. If they do not give consent – possibly because they cannot find a record of your accident – the Injuries Board will issue you with an authorisation to pursue your compensation claim for an injury in an accident in a shop through the courts.

If the insurance company does consent to the assessment of your claim, the Injuries Board Ireland will calculate how much compensation for an injury in an accident in a shop you are entitled to and send you a “Notice of Assessment”. If both you and the insurance company agree on the amount that has been assessed, the Injuries Board Ireland will issue the insurance company with an “Order to Pay” and you should receive a cheque in settlement of your claim within 28 days.

Should you or the insurance company disagree with the assessment, you will be issued with an authorisation to pursue your claim through the courts – this time however with liability established. This is a fairly good scenario, because courts do not like to be involved with disputes over money and, as liability has been established, the insurance company would have to pay your court costs as well as their own if your claim went to court. Consequently an out-of-court settlement is the most likely result in this scenario.

If liability has not been admitted at the start of your claim for an injury in an accident in a shop, you – or a solicitor on your behalf- are going to have to compile a very strong case to present to court. You will have to show that the shop was negligent and that you sustained a quantifiable injury as a direct result of the shop´s negligence. To support this claim, your copy of the report from the “Accident Report Book” would be ideal but, if it is not available, any photographs, CCTV video from the store´s security camera or statements from witnesses who saw your accident would also help.

If you – with the assistance of a solicitor – are able to provide this level of evidence in support of a claim for compensation for an injury in an accident in a shop, it is very likely that your solicitor will be able to organise a negotiated settlement without your compensation claim for an injury in an accident in a shop going to court. However, it is recommended that you speak with a solicitor about your claim at the earliest possible opportunity.

This is because you are only allowed two years from the date on which your accident occurred in which to make a claim for compensation for an injury in an accident in a shop. As the shop has unfortunately closed while you were recovering from you injuries, and it may take some time to trace their insurance company, there will already be a significant amount of time elapsed between the event which qualified you to claim compensation for an injury in an accident in a shop and the claim being made.