This is a follow on from our personal injuries blog post of the 12th of December 2013 which sets out the Injuries Board procedure, it sets out the Court procedures for personal injuries claims after a claim has been released by the Injuries Board.
If either side rejects the Injuries Board Assessment, or the Injuries Board decides not to make an assessment, it will issue an authorisation. This is essentially a permission to issue Court proceedings for the personal injuries claim.
The first step in initiating a Court case for the personal injuries is to issue a Personal Injuries Summons. This is the injured party’s claim and sets out (1) the circumstances of the incident giving rise to the personal injuries claim, (2) the reasons in law why the defendant is to blame and why he should be liable to pay compensation. and (3) the details of the injuries suffered and the effect of those injuries on the person defendant
The injured party must sign an Affidavit verifying the truthfulness of the content of the Personal Injures Summons. The Personal Injuries Summons together with the Affidavit of Verification will then be filed in Court and served on the defendant or its solicitor. If the Defendant (or its insurance company) wishes to defend the action, then they will file an Appearance. An Appearance is simply a document that states that the defendant (or its solicitor) has received the Personal Injuries Summons and intends filing a Defence.
Prior to filing their Defence, the defendant will normally ask some questions about the claim and seek further details of the matters described in the Personal Injuries Summons. This is done by way of a document call a Notice for Particulars (basically a list of questions) and the questions are answered by way of a document known as Replies to Particulars. The injured party must again sign an Affidavit verifying the truthfulness of the content of the Replies to Particulars (basically a list of answers).
A defendant should now send its Defence, which should set out why the defendant does not agree that it is liable to compensate the plaintiff for the injuries sustained (if the defendant thinks this to be the case). A Defendant may also set out reasons why it believes that the plaintiff may have contributed to or caused the incident or the injuries sustained
Both parties should now consider whether they need any documents from the other side to help them with their case or help them contradict the claims made by the other side. This can include CCTV footage, medical records, emails or any relevant document. This request is made by letter called a Request for Voluntary Discovery.
Throughout this process, the plaintiff’s medical condition will be checked regularly by both sides (if there are ongoing medical issues) by way of medical reports from their medical experts. An engineer will also normally be involved to give a report on his opinion as to who’s fault the incident was and why the injuries were suffered.
The documents above (called pleadings) together with the medical reports and any relevant proof (e.g. CCTV footage) will now be sent to the barrister (who will have been kept informed and been involved in the process so far). The barrister will be asked if the case is ready to be listed for hearing or if anything else is required first (for example you might need to involve an accountant or actuary to calculate loss of earnings).
If the barrister confirms that the case is ready for hearing, a Notice of Trial (a document notifying the other side and the Court that the case is ready for hearing) will be served and thereafter the case will be given a date for hearing. After the Notice of Trial has been served a list of witnesses and schedule of all expert reports to be relied on will be exchanged and the reports exchanged shortly after. The parties will also exchange what are known as section 17 notices telling the other party the sum that they would be willing to settle the case for. A settlement of the case may result. If not the matter will proceed to hearing.
This is the basics of the Court Procedures for a personal injuries claim. I will do a blog post on the day of the Court hearing shortly.
Hogan Dowling McNamara Solicitors are conveniently located at Castletroy House, Dublin Road, Limerick with plenty of off street parking. Should you have any queries in relation to this article then please do not hesitate to contact the writer Thomas Dowling by email: [email protected] or phone: 061 501100.