How Long Does a Personal Injury Claim Take?
The amount of time it takes to make a personal injury claim varies. It could be anything from a few months up to three years. It all depends on the complexity of your injuries and the speed at which the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) deals with your case.
Timelines for personal injury claims
If you’re thinking about making a personal injury claim, you might be interested to know how long the entire process takes. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer.
Every case is different. Some will be relatively swift, while others take years to conclude.
To get a better understanding of how long a personal injury claim might take, it helps to know the timeframes involved.
Step 1 – initial investigations (timeframe depends)
The first step is to gather evidence in support of your claim. This is something our personal injury solicitors do for you. This involves getting things like:
- Witness statements from you and anyone else relevant to the case
- CCTV footage
- Your medical records
- A list of your financial losses
- Medical expert reports
We promise to proactively work on your case, but sometimes delays are out of our control. For example, both medical records and reports can take some time to receive. Because of this, it is impossible to say exactly how long it takes to complete the initial investigations.
If your injuries have not yet resolved, then it it’s also important to wait until a prognosis is known. This can add more time to your claim.
Step 2 – the respondent agrees to let PIAB assess the claim (up to 90 days)
Nearly all personal injury claims in Ireland must be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. PIAB will contact the person you think is responsible for your injuries (known as the respondent).
The respondent has 90 days to say whether they agree to let PIAB assess the claim.
If the respondent accepts, then you continue to step 3. If not, PIAB gives you authorisation to take your claim through the courts instead (step 6).
Step 3 – PIAB assesses your case (up to nine months)
If the respondent agrees to PIAB’s involvement, PIAB then has up to nine months to investigate your claim and decide on a suitable settlement. It may not take as long as nine months – but it could. The average timeframe for a PIAB investigation is around seven months.
Step 4 – you respond to PIAB’s assessment (up to 28 days)
When PIAB does decide on a settlement figure, it will contact you and ask if you accept the assessment of your claim. You have 28 days to make this decision.
If you accept, then you continue to step 5. If not, PIAB gives you authorisation to take your claim through the courts instead (step 6).
Step 5 – the respondent responds to PIAB’s assessment (up to 21 days)
If you accept the amount of compensation proposed by PIAB, the next step is to find out whether the respondent also agrees. PIAB will contact the respondent, who has 21 days to accept or reject the assessment.
If the respondent accepts the value of your claim, then that is the end of the matter. You will receive your compensation award shortly after. If not, PIAB gives you authorisation to take your claim through the courts instead (step 6).
Step 6 – court proceedings (timeframe depends)
If either you or the respondent reject PIAB’s assessment, you are allowed to issue formal court proceedings. The case will be listed for trial. There is no telling how long this might take as it all depends on the court schedule.
In reality, very few cases actually make it to trial because they are settled through out-of-court negotiations.
Two years less one day time limit
Most personal injury claims in Ireland are subject to a time limit of two years less one day. The clock starts ticking on the date of knowledge, which is the date you knew about your injuries. This could be the date of your accident, or it could be later.
Those who are under the age of 18 and who do not have mental capacity are exempt from the two year time limit. Find out more about personal injury claims for children.
Given the time limit involved, you might suppose that your personal injury claim will be settled two years less one day from the date of your accident. However, the clock actually stops ticking while PIAB is assessing your claim. This means it could very well last for upwards of two years.
Worth the wait
If you are feeling despondent reading this, please don’t be. Straightforward claims can (and do) settle relatively quickly. Complicated claims require more time, and with good reason.
Your solicitor needs to work through all the details, ensuring you get the maximum award available. You can only claim for the same incident and injuries once, so you need to get it right.
If you are struggling financially while the claim progresses, we can always apply for an interim payment. This is a bit like an advance on your compensation settlement.
Contact our personal injury solicitors Waterford
Are you thinking about making a personal injury claim? Contact our personal injury solicitors Waterford. We specialise in personal injury claims and can help you get the settlement you deserve. We are client focused and results driven.
Call us on 051 391 488 or email email@example.com for a no obligation enquiry.
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