Under law, a personal injury is any injury that happens because of another party’s negligence. When this happens, the injured person or their family are entitled to make a claim for damages.
What is the definition of personal injury in Ireland?
Under the Civil Liability Act 1961, a personal injury is defined as: ‘any disease and any impairment of a person’s physical or mental condition, and “injured” shall be construed accordingly.’
Evidently, this is a very legalistic definition. It is also very broad. To the lay person, it doesn’t really mean much. So, in terms of making a claim, what exactly is classed as a personal injury?
What is classed a personal injury?
A personal injury is any injury that happens because of someone else’s negligence. An injury can be physical or psychological in nature. The at-fault party can be an individual (like another driver) or an organisation (such as your employer). Negligence has occurred if:
- The party at fault owed you a duty of care; and
- This duty of care was breached; and
- This resulted in you suffering injuries that could otherwise have been prevented
This is best illustrated with an example.
Take a whiplash injury that happens because a driver runs a red light and crashes into the back of a vehicle. All road users owe each other a duty of care. This means taking reasonable steps to ensure each other’s safety. This can be achieved by obeying the rules of the road, and by driving with due care and attention. A driver who runs a red light has therefore breached their duty of care. This breach directly resulted in an accident and a whiplash injury. The injury would have been avoided had the driver not run a red light. In this situation, the driver can be deemed negligent and the injured person has suffered a ‘personal injury’.
What are examples of personal injury?
There are lots of different examples of a personal injury, although most arise as a result of:
- Road traffic accidents
- Work accidents and illnesses – also known as employer’s liability
- Public place accidents – also known as public liability
- Medical negligence
What does it mean if you’re the victim of personal injury?
If you have been the victim of personal injury, then it means you are legally entitled to make a personal injury claim. Why? Because no one should be harmed through no fault of their own. A personal injury claim allows those who have been wrongfully injured to access some form of justice. Although a claim cannot wind the clock back, it can provide damages for your pain and suffering, and for your financial losses. This at least provides some redress for the hurt that has been caused, and ensures you are returned to your pre-accident financial position.
How do I know if I can make a personal injury claim?
If you suspect that you have been injured through no fault of your own – or your loved one has – then we recommend contacting our personal injury solicitors for advice. You must be able to prove that negligence has occurred, and that your injuries arose because of this negligence. We can say whether you meet this legal test. If so, we can pursue a claim on your behalf, fighting to get the damages you deserve.
The majority of personal injury claims must be made within two years of the accident or the date of knowledge. Due to these time limits, it is essential that you speak to our solicitors at the earliest available opportunity.