1. Instruct a solicitor:
You should soon get in touch a specialist solicitor who will take your instructions (details of the accident/injury, medical details, details of the alleged person or party at fault etc.).
They will then advise if it might be worthwhile pursuing a claim for compensation.
It is important to note that an adult claimant only has 2 years less 1 day from the date of injury to issue proceedings in court (there are some limited exceptions to this).
When claiming on behalf of a child, a parent or guardian can issue proceedings at any time up until the child’s 18th birthday. Thereafter, the young adult has two years to bring a birth injury claim in their own right.
2. PIAB assessment:
For most claims, you are required to lodge a Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) application before the matter may be dealt with by the courts. This is not required for medical negligence claims or psychological injury claims. Many people avail of the services of a solicitor to prepare their PIAB application.
PIAB is an independent state body who assess personal injury claims outside of the court room. They determine the amount of compensation that that should be provided (if any). If either of the parties disagree with the level of compensation, then PIAB will release the claim and compensation can then be pursued through the court system.
Typically in the case of a catastrophic injury, PIAB would automatically release the claim to be dealt with by the court system, as it is too complicated a matter for them to assess.
3. Liability & causation report(s):
Your solicitor will obtain at least one expert report to establish whether the injury arose as a result of another person’s or party’s negligence.
The speciality of the expert(s) will depend on how the injury arose e.g. if it was a personal injury, such as a road traffic accident, that expert may be a forensic engineer, or if the injury arose as a result of potential medical negligence case, the expert would be a medical doctor.
4. Issue court proceedings:
Once your solicitors have obtained a supportive liability and causation report, they can issue court proceedings after the claim has been released by PIAB.
Proceedings for catastrophic injury claims are typically issued in the High Court.
See here for more information on how a brain injury claim is made.