Since the introduction of the Injuries Board.ie, they have continued to do a huge amount of advertising urging people injured in accidents to make applications themselves to the Board for compensation.
They have suggested that there is no need for people to engage the services of a Solicitor to deal with their cases but rather that it is a simple process that they can deal with themselves.
Unfortunately, this is simply not the truth.
When someone is injured in an accident, there is often a huge amount of bureaucracy that they have to go through before they can even find out who was responsible for the accident. For example, in a road traffic accident, insurance companies will often not tell you the name and address and policy number of the driver or owner of the vehicle that crashed into you. They will ask you to provide your consent to them getting all of your medical records and information and sometimes they will tell you they are going to have you “independently” medically examined. That means they will instruct one of their own panel doctors who are they are paying to do a Medical Report on you.
Therefore, they have all the aces in the relationship from the very beginning. The Injuries Board continue to try and insist that applicants attend one of their own Doctors for a medical examination. What they do not tell you is that some of these same doctors are employed by insurance companies on their panels. This is something I have pointed out to the Injuries Board in the past as it is a clear conflict of interest.
In many work accident claims employees do not even know the correct legal identity of their employer. Often companies trade through associated companies which do not appear on your P60 or payslips. If you name the incorrect Defendant on the Injuries Board application and if an assessment is made against that incorrect legal Defendant and you accept it, then you may not ever be able to enforce that assessment. One of the very first things I do when I am instructed by a client is to establish exactly who their employer is and whether they have insurance cover or not. The Injuries Board say that it is not their function to advise Claimants on how to deal with their applications.
In summary, it is wrong that the Injuries Board tell people that they should make applications themselves and not involve solicitors. There is a reason why you should instruct a solicitor and that is to protect your own interests. Personal injury litigation is a serious business and can be very complicated and costly if it goes wrong. It can be costly to you if things like future medical treatments, loss of earnings and care costs are not properly calculated and included in your claim.
We all want to get cases settled quickly for clients but if you accept a low settlement from an insurance company directly, you will never be able to go back seeking more.