The amount of personal injury claims in Ireland has doubled over the last ten years which is not surprising, given international trends.
Personal Injury Law protects the population from injury to the body, mind or emotions as a result of negligence of another person, company or entity. The most common type of personal injury claim is for whiplash, as a result of a car accident, making up 80% of all claims made in Ireland. Also common are slip and fall cases, medical malpractice cases, dog bite cases and defamation cases, to name a few.
But how do you know if you have a valid personal injury case? More importantly, when is it time for you to take the plunge and hire a personal injury lawyer?
Is the Injury You Sustained Serious?
If you have time available to work on an insurance claim yourself for a minor injury, then it may be that you don’t require the services of an attorney. However, if your injury is causing you pain that has lasted for more than a few days and requires medical attention including hospitalisation, surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, chiropractic work, cosmetic surgery or orthopaedics, then it is recommended that you seek legal counsel.
As an example, you may need to make a compensation claim for a back injury that has required ongoing treatment and caused you loss of earnings due to your not being able to sit at a desk. In cases such as these, legal representation can often significantly increase the value of your case.
Was Your Injury A Result of Negligence by Another?
Cases of negligence require evidence that proves legal fault. This is something that requires legal assistance. Ensure that you employ the services of a lawyer quickly as they will need time to gather evidence whilst it is still possible to do so and put together a solid case to get you the maximum compensation for your claim.
Have You Been Contacted by an Insurance Company Representative?
If so, your immediate response should be that all future correspondence should be made through your attorney. This is because an insurance company will only use valuable resources contacting you if they think you already have a valid claim. They may attempt to reduce the amount of your claim by making a hurried settlement, or to discourage you by denying its validity altogether.
Be very vigilant in these situations. Refrain from supplying them with any information until you have consulted your attorney. These representatives are employed by the insurance company to gather information such as recorded statements, medical records, your statement or story, and any other information that they might be able to use to weaken your case. They may also ask you to sign a release which effectively gives them authorisation to access your medical history. Then they can try to find a pre-existing medical condition to weaken your claim.
Are Those Responsible Refusing to Pay or Offering an Unreasonable Amount?
It is important that you know the cost of the injuries you have sustained. Insurance companies will often attempt to reduce their costs by offering you a sum that is much lower than what you are actually owed. An attorney will be able to handle this effectively and get you the value of compensation that you are owed.