My wife was paralysed in a car accident and we have received conflicting advice about making paralysis injury compensation claims. Some people say we have to apply to the Injuries Board Ireland for compensation, others say we do not need to. Please tell us what is right.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

My wife was paralysed in a car accident and we have received conflicting advice about making paralysis injury compensation claims. Some people say we have to apply to the Injuries Board Ireland for paralysis injury compensation, others say we do not need to. Please tell us what is right.

Answer:

First of all, the Injuries Board Ireland does not settle paralysis injury compensation claims – it only assesses how much compensation for a paralysis injury they feel your wife is entitled to based upon the information that you and your wife´s doctor have provided them with. The insurance company of the negligent driver who caused the accident in which your wife was paralysed will be responsible for paying the assessment of paralysis injury compensation – but only if you and they both agree with the Injuries Board Ireland´s calculations.

If there is any disagreement about how much compensation for a paralysis injury your wife should receive, or liability for your wife´s injuries is denied by the negligent driver, the Injuries Board Ireland will issue your wife with an “Authorisation” to pursue her claim for a paralysis injury through the court system – and this is probably the best reason why an application to the Injuries Board Ireland for an assessment of your paralysis injury compensation claim should be submitted.

Inasmuch as it may be possible to resolve paralysis injury compensation claims directly with the insurance company by using a solicitor – and usually much quicker than waiting for the Injuries Board Ireland to complete their assessment – it will be necessary to have the Injuries Board Ireland´s authorisation before court action can be initiated if negotiations between your solicitor and the negligent party´s insurers are unsuccessful.

If your wife has contributed to the cause of the car accident or the extent of her injuries, it may be necessary for a judge to assign a percentage proportion of liability to her when the majority of blame for the car accident and total amount of paralysis injury compensation is not in doubt. It might also be the case that multiple third parties were responsible for causing your wife´s injuries – in which case it is unlikely that any one driver would admit to total liability, and the Injuries Board Ireland would decline to assess your wife´s application for assessment as they do not apportion blame in paralysis injury compensation claims.

Therefore, in answer to your question, you should speak with a solicitor about making paralysis injury compensation claims and apply to the Injuries Board Ireland for an assessment of your wife´s claim for paralysis injury compensation. Indeed, if the application for assessment is completed with the assistance of a solicitor, the solicitor will ensure that every aspect of your wife´s injury is accounted for in the application to the Injuries Board Ireland. This will be especially significant if your wife was an income provider for your family and if alternate childcare arrangements have had to be made.

Furthermore, with a solicitor´s guidance, you will be able to fully account for your wife´s “loss of amenity” in her claim for paralysis injury compensation – a substantial area of paralysis injury compensation claims which take into consideration the deterioration in your wife´s quality of life. There is little opportunity on the Injuries Board Ireland´s Application Form A (or online) for you to express how your wife is no longer able to pursue leisure and social activities but, with professional and experienced assistance, your wife should receive her full entitlement to paralysis injury compensation.