All personal injury claims resulting from negligence in employment matters, motor accidents or public liability must go through the Injuries Board before the courts.* However, if the claim is following a medical treatment, a constitutional or European Convention of Human Rights breach or a is a psychological injury claim the Board will usually release it to the courts immediately. The purpose of the Injury Board is to deal with claims where liability is admitted and it is a matter of assessing compensation.
Whilst applications to the Board can be made without the aid of a solicitor, over 90% per cent of applications are made through Solicitors offices. The Board provides an independent assessment of injuries. This can be done with the consent of the responsible party or will be released to the courts if the respondent refuses to allow the board to make the assessment. In this regard the Board has a statutory responsibility to the claimant to ensure the claim is given due attention.
The Board assesses the seriousness of an injury using the medical reports provided and the application form. There is no hearing of the matter and assessment of the compensation is a paper based exercise. When the Board makes an assessment the claimant has 28 days to accept or reject it. If it is rejected, or there is no response, the matter is sent forward to court. The respondent has 21 days to accept and no response is considered an acceptance of the offer. Once both sides agree with the assessment of damages then the Injuries Board issues an Order to Pay which is legally binding. The Injuries Board as a rule do not award costs and the claimant normally pays the costs from the award. If the claimant proceeds to court and receives less than the Board’s offer in court then he will not be awarded his or her costs.
* in contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.