PART 1. Motor Vehicle Accident Claims:

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident which was not your fault, you may be able to claim for pain and suffering

A claim for pain and suffering (non-economic loss) for the past and future can be made but only if certain criteria in the relevant legislation have been satisfied. The award for this pain and suffering is called “damages”.

Damages may only be awarded for non-economic loss if:

  • the injured person’s ability to lead a normal life has been significantly impaired by the injury for a period of at least 7 days; or
  • medical expenses of at least the prescribed minimum has been reasonably incurred in connection with the injury.

In addition to this, significant changes were made to the law for injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident post 1 July 2013. These changes have made it much more difficult for an injured person to claim damages – even if the accident was not their fault.

Significant changes brought about to the Civil Liability Act, 1936 and the Civil Liability Regulations, 2013 has resulted in denying many claims or substantially reducing the amount of damages payable by the insurer to the injured person.

For motor vehicle accidents occurring post 1 July 2013, an injured person is assigned a numerical value (an Injury Scale Value) on a scale running from 0 to 100 for the non‑economic loss suffered. An injured person may only be awarded damages for pain and suffering if the Injury Scale Value that applies exceeds 10. That is, if an injured person is not assigned a ISV of 11 or more, then subject to the exceptions set out below, the injured person is not entitled to anything for pain and suffering.

There is an exception to this rule in that a Court may award pain and suffering if it is satisfied:

  • that the consequences of the injury with respect to pain and suffering are exceptional when judged by comparison with other cases involving the same injury; and
  • that the thresholds above would, in the circumstances of the particular case, be harsh and unjust.

Unfortunately, there have not been any decided cases on this topic and so it is not possible with any certainty to advise as to how the Court will interpret these exceptions to the rule.

Given these difficulties, it is extremely important to compile evidence at an early stage that might assist in reaching the required threshold. Getting advice early on this topic is crucial. If you have sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident, it is important that you seek prompt legal advice so that proper steps can be taken to gather appropriate evidence. At Scammell & Co, we have significant experience in making these claims on behalf of our clients.

Click here for further information about our motor vehicle injury claim service.

Click here to read PART 2: You entitlement to claim for economic loss as a result of a motor vehicle accident.

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