Background Information for High Court Settlements Ireland
It is important to know some standard background information before learning about high court settlements Ireland. To start, all personal injury compensation claims (with the exception of medical negligence cases) must start with an Injuries Board assessment, where it is possible that that is where the claim will end. However, if either the plaintiff (injured party) or the respondent (the negligent party) rejects the assessment, the claim may be settled in direct negotiations between the two party’s legal representatives or it may have to be dealt with in the courts.
It is worth noting that over eighty per cent of cases are settled out of court, most commonly when a satisfactory agreement has been reached in a settlement meeting. Sometimes, a trial date may actually be set, but cases are frequently settled before being seen in court
The Injuries Board
The Injuries Board is a statutory body which assesses the amount of compensation due to an injured party – it does not make any decisions on questions of liability and is only connected to high court settlements if the assessment is refused or rejected.
To qualify for an Injuries Board assessment the injured party has to submit:
- The application Form A
- Their medical report
- Proof of “special damages”
Once the Injuries Board has received these documents they will contact the “respondent” and will ask for their approval for the assessment to be carried out. If the answer is yes the assessment can proceed. If the respondent refuses, the Injuries Board will immediately close their file and issue the injured arty with an “authorisation” – a document that permits a personal injury compensation case in court.
If the respondent agrees to the assessment, the Injuries Board will then make their assessment of you claim’s value and it will be sent to both side. If both parties accept, the Injuries Board will issue an order to pay. If one or other side rejects the assessment, the file will be closed and the injured party will be issued an authorisation.
Despite the fact that the injured party is free to pursue their claim in court, high court settlements Ireland are not necessarily the final outcome.
If the respondent – who would now be known as the defendant – wishes to offer the accident victim money to end their claim and the plaintiff is agreeable to settling their case out of court, a settlement meeting can be arranged prior to the trial date.
The plaintiff’s solicitor should explain to their client the advantages and disadvantages of accepting the offer made by the defendant and should offer advice on how successful their claim could be at trial and how much damages they are likely to receive in court.
If reaching a satisfactory agreement is impossible, the plaintiff can choose to continue their claim in court.
The Court Case
Some high court settlements Ireland that are awarded can be very high – the high court has unlimited power to award damages. The format of the actual case in court will depend on whether or not liability has been admitted.
The plaintiff’s barrister will outline to the judge the circumstances of the case and the injuries their client sustained. If appropriate, medical evidence relating to their injuries may be given by a doctor. The plaintiff will be called to the witness stand to give evidence about the reasons behind the accident and their injuries. The defendant’s barrister may cross-examine the plaintiff. Then, all the other witnesses on the injured party’s side will give evidence and will be cross-examined by the defendant’s barrister and all the defendant’s witnesses will give evidence and will be cross-examined by the plaintiff’s barrister.
After all of the witnesses have been heard, both barristers may summarize the case, emphasise certain evidence and make legal arguments.
The judge will decide to pay damages, regarding; a) whether the defendant was to blame and therefore liable to pay the damages due to the plaintiff; b) how much damages to which the plaintiff is entitled to; c) who will pay the costs of the proceedings. If the plaintiff wins the case, the defendant usually covers his or her legal expenses as well as their own.
What is Included in High Court Settlements Ireland
The compensation for high court settlements in Ireland are divided into two parts: general damages and special damages.
Compensation for the inconvenience, pain and suffering the plaintiff has experienced, and may continue to experience, as a result of the accident and the affect it has had on the plaintiff’s quality of life.
The court will select the amount of these damages by approximating the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries. It will do this by considering all the medical evidence before it, and by regarding the pain already suffered and their future prognosis.
This refers to the financial costs you have incurred and may incur in the future, because of the accident, such as how much it could be to repair a damaged car, medical expenses or loss of income.
Compensation awards are usually paid by cheque by the defendant to the plaintiff’s solicitor within 6 to 8 weeks.
High Court Settlements Ireland: Conclusion
High court settlements Ireland are usually reserved for the most complex cases (such as medical negligence compensation claims), cases where there is dispute over liability and when a suitable compensation settlement cannot be easily resolved.
If you have been involved in a serious accident for which you were not to blame and feel that you may have a viable personal injury compensation claim, you would be well advised to consult with a solicitor at the first possible opportunity. An experienced solicitor would be able to evaluate your case and determine whether there is a possibility that it may escalate to the high court.