Know your rights if you have had an accident, says solicitor

“If you have been injured, through no fault of your own, in for example, a car, motor bike crash or if you were injured at work or in a public place or injured through medical negligence, then you may have a legal entitlement to compensation” says Galway-based solicitor Brendan Burke. The following points may be useful:

There is a time limit of two years to commence proceedings from the date of the accident, but not in all cases. If you had an accident and particularly if the two year deadline is approaching, get legal advice immediately.

Most personal injury claims must first be submitted to the Injuries Board. It is important that you receive a letter from it acknowledging in writing that your application is received and is complete.

Ideally, you will also need a medical report from your doctor. You have to pay for this up front but it is usually recouped later.

It is prudent to ask a solicitor to help you with your application. The Injuries Board do not generally pay for solicitor fees but cases can be made for “vulnerable” clients.

Keep a diary of all visits to your doctor and all relevant receipts and out of pocket expenses.

If both sides are in agreement, the Injuries Board will assess your claim and recommend a figure for compensation. If either side rejects this figure, the Injuries Board will release the case so that it can be taken to Court.

Never settle with an insurance company directly, no matter how tempting the offer or how quickly they say they will pay you.

The majority of cases that come before the Injuries Board are dealt with within nine months. Complex cases may end up being litigated in Court.

Brendan Burke solicitor would be happy to discuss these or any other matters and can be contacted at (091 ) 704 864; [email protected]; www.brendanburke.ie; Galway Technology Centre, Mervue Business Park, Galway.

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