We strongly advise that you always speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident occurs, as every case is unique. In some cases, the injured person is unaware of their right to compensation until years down the road. In such cases we advise you to get in contact to discuss the intricacies of your case and possible claims that can be made. We have made many successful claims for accidents many years down the line.
The law on the statute of limitations for personal injury cases varies according to accident types. The general rule for the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is 10 years after the injured person should have realised that they suffered permanent harm and damage. The final cut off is when 20 years have elapsed from the date of the accident’s occurrence.
The statute of limitations for traffic accidents are subject to special rules. For accidents occurring before 2020 the right to compensation could expire in four years, after the injured person should have realised that they had suffered permanent harm and damage, with the final cut-off date being 10 years since the date of the accident’s occurrence. For accidents occurring on or after January 1st 2020, the statute of limitations for claims due to traffic accidents is 10 years from the date of the accident’s occurrence.
For the vast majority of cases the injured person must report the accident to the insurance company within a year from when they should have realised that they suffered permanent harm or damage or risk the lapse of the right for compensation.
In the case of leisure time or work accidents the assessment of the extent and severity of the injuries suffered in the accident must also have been concluded and the report written within three years from the accident’s date of occurrence due to insurance policy terms. Should it not be complete in time, the right to compensation can also be lost.
Due to these rules and terms, the law on the statute of limitations does not have the final say for when the right to compensation expires.
In short, yes.
There is a widespread misunderstanding that the at-fault driver in an accident is not entitled to compensation for their personal injuries. A driver, passengers and all other parties that are harmed in a vehicular accident do as a general rule all have the right for compensation. The same does not apply for the damage caused to the vehicle itself.
However, it must be noted that the consumption of alcohol or other intoxicants and/or other serious traffic offences may result in reduction or removal of the right to compensation.
Without the assistance of a lawyer, you do not stand on equal ground. You represent your own interests against expert employees of the insurance company, who safeguard their employer’s interests. There is a considerable risk that by not having expert representation you will not receive all the benefits and compensation you are entitled to. Furthermore, employees of insurance companies are not obligated to inform you of compensation you may be entitled to from other parties (e.g. due to a collective wage agreement/union contract).
Fortis will provide you with an assessment of your case free of charge.
In the vast majority of cases, Fortis takes care of the cost associated with gathering medical records and other necessary data. In the beginning stages of your case, you will neither be billed for data collection and gathering, nor lawyer fees.
The cost for the assistance of a lawyer is generally paid at the final stage of the case, when a settlement has been agreed upon and paid by the insurance company and other parties if applicable. If the case is based on tort law, i.e. when the case is a traffic accident or a work accident on sea, the insurance company is generally liable to pay the majority of the costs of legal representation.
It is of vital importance to seek medical assistance as soon as possible after an accident, be it a hospital or health care centre. Otherwise, it may be difficult to prove that an injury or a symptom is a consequence of the accident.
You need to save and collect receipts due to healthcare visits, medicine and physical therapy costs to prove your expenses so that we may arrange for your costs to be reimbursed.
If you want to seek compensation for clothing or other damaged items you need to safely store the items in question, as the insurance company may require such items to be turned in.
For a first meeting it is important to have information on where and when the accident occurred as well as information about any medical help you received directly after the accident, e.g. if you went to the emergency room or if you visited a health care centre. If you are seeking assistance due to a traffic accident, information on the licence plate number of the relevant vehicle is appreciated.
In most cases yes, you have the right to be reimbursed for costs associated with your accident, e.g. doctor’s visits, medication, physical therapy etc. To make a claim you will need to provide receipts for those costs. The relevant insurance company or the Icelandic Health Insurance (Sjúkratryggingar Íslands) are responsible for the repayment and will reimburse you once they receive data which confirms your injuries and their duty to compensate for it.
For leisure time accidents, the general rule is that there is a capped limit on the reimbursement of costs associated with the applicable insurance policy.
Associated costs can usually be claimed up until the point where the evaluation of permanent impairment and disability is conducted.
There is a set formula for the calculation of a settlement under tort law, e.g. traffic accidents and work accidents at sea. In such cases there are many variables, age, wage history and the result of the assessment for permanent impairment and disability.
For work accidents or leisure time accidents the amount of compensation varies according to the terms of the relevant insurance policy and the results of the assessment for permanent impairment and disability.
There is no reliable method to estimate settlement amounts until after the results of the assessment have been received.
The assessment estimates the extent and severity of your injuries and is in the vast majority of cases the foundation on which a settlement is based. The general rule is that the injuries cannot be assessed until at least one year has elapsed since the accident occurred. There are some exceptions to this wherein a longer period of time must pass before an assessment can be conducted, such as if you must undergo surgery, are attending rehabilitation or are pregnant.
The assessment is based on the information Fortis collects on the accident and your injuries and the effects they have had on your daily life alongside an examination and an interview with impartial assessors that we commission, most often in agreement with the insurance company. The assessment is entirely unrelated to an assessment of disability by the Social Insurance Administration (Tryggingastofnun ríkisins).
Every case is unique and so is the time they take to process. The gathering of necessary data can be time consuming and varies widely among cases. The general rule is that the extent and severity of your injuries cannot be assessed until at least one year has elapsed since the accident occurred. See a more detailed timeline here.
For traffic accidents or accidents covered by tort law the injured person has a right to claim compensation for pain and suffering for the period in which they are sick (in most cases sickness is considered with regards to being unable to work). The compensated amount is based on whether the injured person is bedridden or not and is a set amount per day decided upon in tort legislation.
For traffic accidents or accidents covered by tort law the injured person may have the right to claim compensation for temporary loss of earnings for time spent away from work due to the accident. The compensation covers days away from work in which they do not receive sick pay from their employer and until either they can return to work, or when further improvements to their health cannot be expected. The injured person may also possess a right to compensation for temporary loss of income from the Icelandic Health Insurance (Sjúkratryggingar Íslands).
When the right for compensation from the insurance company lapses, the injured person may possess the right to compensation from their union or pension fund. If the accident is a leisure time accident or an accident at work, they may also possess a right to claim a daily allowance for the incapacity to work.
The point of stabilisation is the point in time in which no further improvements can be expected from the injured person’s condition or health. In other words, the health condition is stable with no expected changes for the worse or the better.
Permanent loss of amenities involves compensation for non-economic loss (also known as medical disability). Loss of amenities is evaluated on a point-based system and does not look to personalised matters, such as age, education, work experience or special talents. All persons are evaluated on the same scale and will receive the same compensation for the same injury and the same symptoms. The point-based system can be found in a chart published by the government which contains instructions on the points certain injuries or symptoms amount to. As an example, the loss of the little finger amounts to 5-7 points with no regard to whether the injured person is a world-class pianist, a lawyer or a craftsman.
Injured persons can suffer a permanent loss of their capacity to earn income (also known as financial disability). The loss of earning prospects can include e.g. a reduction in pay due to a change in work position, line of work or workplace or the reduction of capability to handle strain or stress or working overtime. Permanent loss of earning capacity is assessed in percentages and is assessed on an individual basis. When conducting the assessment, the assessors consider mental and physical abilities, age, education, work experience, residence and other personal aspects of the injured person. This differs from the evaluation for the permanent loss of amenities or disability, which are decided on an impersonal basis. The evaluation for permanent loss of earning capacity is only conducted for accidents which are compensated for under tort law, e.g. traffic accidents or work accidents at sea.
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Accidents can cause various types of harm and damages, as a result the right to compensation varies widely. It is of vital importance to seek expert assistance to determine your right to compensation.