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Injury Claims Guide

This booklet has been produced by Synnott Lawline Solicitors to give our clients an understanding of the personal injury claims process. In some of our correspondence during the course of your claim, we will make reference to the relevant sections of this guide by way of explanation of the particular aspect of your claim.


How much is my claim worth?

The amount to which one is entitled varies in each case. It is often futile to attempt to value a claim in the early stages. After taking your initial instructions, we take up reports from any medical practitioners whom you may have attended.

The early reports are usually preliminary in their nature, and will enable us to decide in which court to launch your case, i.e. the District Court which has jurisdiction to make awards up to €15,000, the Circuit Court which has jurisdiction up to €60,000, or the High Court which has unlimited jurisdiction.
The value of your case in terms of General Damages will depend on the nature and severity of the injury or injuries, the pain, suffering and inconvenience resulting therefrom, the length of time for recovery and the prognosis for the future. In addition to General Damages you are entitled to claim for all financial losses and expense sustained by you as a result of the accident, including loss of earnings, doctors’ fees, hospital fees, medication, travelling expenses etc. The value of your claim will be discussed with you in some detail by us and your Barrister at the time of settlement negotiations or prior to the Trial of your case.

Personal injury claim amounts can be extremely difficult to value at the outset of any case. Medical reports are obtained from your medical experts, i.e. GP, Hospital or Consultant. Taking into consideration the general damages and special damages in your case (see above) an approximate estimation can be made on what your injuries might be worth. The valuation of an injury claim is usually best considered when all the medical evidence is collected and considered and the special damages calculations are finalised.

General Damages – what are they?

General Damages relates to the pain and suffering endured as a result of the injuries sustained to-date and into the future. Depending on the nature and extent of injuries your claim will be brought in different jurisdictions, the District Court may award a maximum of €15,000, the Circuit Court which has a maximum jurisdiction of €60,000 and the High Court which has unlimited jurisdiction. The pain and suffering incurred by you for both the past and for the future, depending on the nature of your injuries is taken into consideration by the Court.

Special Damages – what does this include/what can I claim for under this heading

Special Damages are out of pocket expenses incurred by you as a result of the accident/injury. Some of the items claimable under this section are:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pharmacy bills/receipts
  • Doctor fees/Hospital fees/medical attendant fees
  • Loss of earnings to-date and into the future
  • Travel expenses (bus vouchers, petrol vouchers)
  • Any other item you wish to claim for once same can be vouched
  • Costs of future care and treatment
The law requires a solicitor to provide clients with information (particulars) in writing, when the solicitor is instructed, or as soon as is practicable after that, of:

  • The solicitor’s actual charges, or, where this is not possible or practicable
  • An estimate of the solicitor’s charges, or, where this is not possible or practicable
  • The basis on which the solicitor’s charges are to be made.

Solicitors’ charges are calculated by reference to a number of factors including the following:

  • The complexity of the matter
  • The urgency of the matter
  • The difficulty or the novelty of the questions raised
  • The skill, labour, specialised knowledge and responsibility involved
  • The number and importance of the documents prepared or examined
  • The amount of value or any transaction involved
  • The importance of the matter to you
  • The time reasonably spent by personnel in the solicitor’s firm on the matter
  • The place, or places, and the circumstances in which the matter is pursued

These are also the factors which are taken into account in the assessment of a solicitor’s bill.

In addition to the professional fee and miscellaneous charges payable to the solicitor, there will be items of outlay payable to third parties, including government agencies, which must be discharged by you. By law, we (the solicitor) must provide you (our client) with information about case procedures (particulars) in writing.

7 Steps – What to do if involved in an accident

  1. Look – what caused your accident?
  2. Act – make sure to immediately report your accident to a person in authority
  3. Witnesses – make sure to take the names and addresses of anybody at the scene
  4. Lawyers – contact Lawline for advise without delay
  5. Injured – make sure to attend your doctor or local hospital as soon as possible
  6. Never – never admit liability
  7. Enquire – now for a copy of our brochure or email us for an instant call back

Different Courts

In Circuit Court cases, your case will be presented in Court by your Barrister. In High Court cases, you will be represented by a Senior Counsel as well as a Barrister (Junior Counsel). A pre-Trial Consultation takes place with your Counsel either on the day of the Trial or within a day or two previously. When arriving for your case, it is important that you dress in a manner which shows proper respect for the Court.

Your Barrister

Your Barrister will lead you through your evidence, and you should ensure that you answer all questions to the best of your ability. Try to avoid giving hasty or confused replies. If you are not sure of the answer of any question, you should say so. After the examination by your own Barrister, the Defendants Barrister will cross-examine, in an attempt to illicit details from you which may be favorable to the Defendants case. The Judge may also have some questions.

Giving evidence in court

After completion of your evidence, the evidence of any other witnesses is taken in the same way. In regard to medical evidence, medical practitioners may be in attendance in Court but more usually, their evidence is admitted in the form of medical reports handed into the Judge.


When all the witnesses have been heard, and Counsel has made any relevant points to the Court, the Judge usually makes his/her decision there and then, or s/he may adjourn for a short time for consideration or, on occasions, postpone his/her judgement to another day. The judge delivers a decision on liability, and if deciding in favour of the Plaintiff, will make an award of damages as compensation. If you have any questions on going to court, contact our legal team today on Freefone 1800 20 40 60 or email us with your query

Related Topics

Subject to certain very strict exceptions, you have two years from the date of your accident to commence legal proceedings. If the two year period has expired, even by one day, then your claim is Statute Barred from proceeding.

An important exception to this rule is that persons under the age of 18 years at the time of the accident (minors) have until their 20th birthday to commence proceedings. In theory therefore, a four year old for example has 16 years to commence proceedings, although a lengthy delay may create severe difficulties and may give rise to the defendant having grounds to apply for a dismissal of the claim on the grounds that his right to put up a defence has been prejudiced by the delay. It should be noted that it can take time to have legal proceedings issued so you should not leave it until the last few weeks before expiry of the statute before instructing your solicitor in the matter.

We deal with every case individually but always on the basis that it may end up in court, but in reality few cases end up in court. Cases go to court for two reasons;

1. The defendant has not offered enough compensation: If no offer is made, then this would clearly indicate that the other side is reasonably confident of successfully defending the case. In such event your options will be clearly explained to you by us and your Barrister.

2. The defendant has made no offer: If an offer is made, then it is you who decides whether or not to accept the offer; we and your Barrister will give our advice in relation to any offer, but the ultimate decision is yours. In such event your options will be clearly explained to you by us and your Barrister.

Have you a question about your accident or claim? See our page on Frequently asked Legal Questions or contact our legal team today. Personal Injuries FAQ >

Read more FAQs
Other than acting for our clients to claim the best possible compensation for their injuries, we also provide support services such as sourcing the best medical experts providing the necessary treatments, Physiotherapists, Engineers and more. We also provide funding services for your case outlay while it is in progress. Before we make a recommendation, we will discuss your case with you in detail. In many cases, it will be clear from the outset that you will succeed in being fully compensated. If however we believe you have no case we will tell you immediately. It will not be in your interest to pursue a case that stands little chance of success. Contact us for more information.