When should handling a claim commence?

It is best to start to handle a claim as close as possible to the time of occurrence of an accident or discovery of the damage, so that photographs can be taken of the injured person and/or damaged property and/or the thing that caused the injury and/or damage, as well as to facilitate locating and interviewing the witnesses to the occurrence, while their memory is fresh, and to facilitate gathering the relevant material.

In personal injury cases caused by road accidents, it is possible to receive interim payments on account of the main claim before the total extent of the damage is ascertained.  Delay in lodging a demand for an interim payment (which in any event is generally limited to a period of two years from the date of the occurrence) may impair the chance of obtaining such a payment.

How long does it take to handle a claim?

As already mentioned above, it is advisable to start preparing a claim as close as possible to the time of the accident or discovery of the damage.  However, in personal injury cases, in general, it takes from about 6 months to a year before the medical condition is stabilized and until the damage is crystallized to the extent that makes it possible to lodge a claim for the total scope of the damages.  (In the case of road accidents, it is not necessary to wait until the damages crystallize in order to obtain interim payments.)

At the present time, the courts are working at a quicker pace than in the past, so that in general, it is possible to anticipate that a legal claim will be resolved within a period of from one to two years.

How much are the fees?

The fee for handling damage claims of plaintiffs depends on the type of case, the type of damage and the specific arrangement for handling the case.  It should be noted at the outset that for the most part the plaintiff’s expenses are paid in the end by the defendant.

In addition, a distinction must be made between legal fees (plus VAT), which, for the most part are collected at the end of the proceedings and according to the results, and trial expenses, which are financed as the case proceeds.  In road accident cases, for example, the fees range, according to the law, from 8% to 13% plus VAT. 

For other types of accidents, the fees range from 15% to 20% plus VAT.

Does a claim have to be submitted to court?

Many claims are settled; but, unfortunately most settlements are reached only after a claim is lodged in court.

Occasionally there is no choice but to submit a claim to court in order to avoid proscription.

What documents are necessary?

Every document supporting the liability or the damage is essential and should be carefully preserved.  Included among such documents are: a policy or insurance certificate, insurance proposals (to the extent that they exist), driver’s license, photographs of the injury or damage and/or the thing that caused the injury and/or damage, medical documents, receipts and salary slips.

Where there are no documents, accurate records should be kept and statements should be gathered from witnesses, to the extent that they exist.

What are the periods of proscription (i.e., when may a claim no longer be made)?

The statute of limitations, i.e., the period after which a claim may no longer be lodged, is generally 7 years.

A claim under an insurance policy (except in certain situations) must be made within 3 years.  Under certain circumstances (land, minors, mentally ill, late discovery and others) the period is longer.

However, it is not recommended to delay submission of a claim, since lapse of time makes it difficult to prove a claim and is likely to impair chances of success.

Regarding claims to the National Insurance, the period for filing a claim varies, depending on the type of claim and division of the institute to which it must be submitted.

What factors influence the amount of compensation?

The principle prevailing in the law of torts in Israel is “restitution”, i.e., the monetary compensation should restore the injured party to the condition before the occurrence.  While damages for the past are easier to prove, future damage is a function of assumption and assessment.

The most important factor to take into consideration in a personal injury case is the extent of the disability.  Additional factors taken into consideration include, inter alia, the persons wage before and following the accident, the percentage of losses, the sum of expenses and scope of needs and requirements following the accident.

How and by whom is the disability determined?

The court determines the disability on the basis of opinions submitted by physicians and is in general is measured according to criteria set by the National Insurance Institute for measuring disabilities of work accident victims.  For your convenience, you may examine the relevant National Insurance Regulations in the essential information section of this website.

How can I contribute to success of the claim?

You may help with the success of your claim by consulting with an attorney at law, preserving the relevant documents and keeping accurate records.

In road accident cases, the court appoints medical experts on the basis of the medical records made for the purpose of treating the injured victim; therefore, failure to obtain medical treatment is likely to affect the claim adversely.