Taking Advice from a Solicitor when you are injured – Injury Claims

Sep 29, 2011

I thought I would write to you to let you know the outcome of a previous blog on this site and also recent feature on this firm in a Kilkenny newspaper.

In that article, I had mentioned my concern of the number of people who had contacted me in the past 12 months involving genuine accidents where the claim was barred as the two year period had elapsed since the date of the accident.

Following the newspaper article, several people contacted me in Kilkenny, Laois and Carlow. They were in the same boat i.e. they left it too late to make an accident claim.

In one instance, I was contacted by a gentleman, who suffered a serious injury to his back whilst at work. He now finds that he has to go for a significant operation and he will be off work for three to six months. He had hoped that his injury would have cleared up but it didn’t. The accident happened in the summer 2006 and so the two year period is gone and he cannot make a claim. He has had significant physiotherapy, hospital and treatment bills that he has had to discharge himself. He was unaware that he only had two years to make claim from the date of the accident. He made contact with his employer, who in turn contacted the Employers insurance company. They have stated that he was out of time and they weren’t prepared to make any payment. This is a genuine case.

In another instance, I had a lady contact me who had fallen on the street as a result of works being carried out by the Local Authority. She had been in contact with the Local Authority who asked her to keep them advised of how she was getting on. She suffered a fractured cheekbone and an injury to her shoulder. This occurred January 2007. She found the Local Authority to be very sympatric to her situation and although, she was aware of a time limit on making claims, she felt that the Local Authority would look after her. On reading Holland Condon solicitors article in the Kilkenny Newspaper, she contacted the Local Authority and they informed her that they could do nothing for her as her time was up.

I am not trying to encourage people to make more claims or to make false claims. We are looking at genuine people with genuine accident claims. With cases that would succeed in Court if they were to proceed to Court.

If a person has significant ongoing injuries as a result of an accident caused by the fault of somebody else, then surely it is fair that they receive some form of compensation to cover them for the pain and suffering and other losses that they have such as loss of earnings, doctors bills, physiotherapy bills.

If you have had an accident, and you are still having difficulties, say,eight months after that accident, then you should at least take advice from a Solicitor. Don’t leave things to the last minute or close to the two year time limit.

At least, when you talk with a Solicitor, they can advise you on the best options.

Some people are afraid of Court and the publicity surrounding it, but for the last number of years we have had a Compensation Tribunal known as the Injuries Board, who will assess claims and make awards. Most accident claims do not go to Court and are not publicised so people do not need to fear this. What is most upsetting, is for people to have significant injuries and significant losses that they cannot get compensation because for whatever reason, they failed to take some advice. Some people are afraid to proceed because they don’t want to complete application forms etc. but this is the work of the Solicitor.

The bottom line is, at least, at the very minimum, take some advice from a Solicitor. You will get a list of Solicitors in golden pages or on the internet or by doing a google search. Better still ask close friends do they know of a lawyer with a good reputation. The second piece of advice is don’t wait the two years after the accident to take advice from a Solicitor.

Most Solicitor handle accident claims and I would suggest that you would use one close to you or certainly within a 30 minute drive. In this way, when you need appointments with your Solicitor, you don’t have a lot of travelling and fast appointments can be made for you.

John D. Holland

Holland Condon, a Kilkenny Solicitors Firm

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