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Just under €300 million paid out last year for personal injuries

The highest single award last year was €908,749.

Image: Shutterstock/ssguy

THE NUMBER OF claims made to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board increased last year, although there was a reduction in the level of awards paid out to claimants.

The latest annual report by PIAB – the state body which assesses personal injury compensation – shows the number of applications increased by 0.8% to 33,371 claims.

At the same time the number of awards declined by 4.4% to 12,112 cases in 2018.

The total value of awards last year fell by 5.2% to €298.55 million – an annual reduction of almost €16.5 million over compensation payouts in 2017.

The average award decreased by just under 1% to €24,649. Over half of all awards were under €20,000.

According to PIAB, 7 out of every 10 awards last year related to claims for injuries sustained in motoring accidents with 18% of cases accounted for by public liability claims and the remaining 12% by employer’s liability claims.

The highest single award by PIAB in 2018 was €908,749. On average all claims were processed in just over seven months during 2018.

PIAB chairman, Dermot Divilly, said it made a very significant contribution to the personal injuries system during 2018 through operating its model efficiently and transparently.

“The PIAB model removes avoidable processing costs, as well as moving thousands of cases away from the Courts system, while fairly addressing compensation for those who have suffered injuries,” Mr Divilly said.

He claimed there was wide agreement in Irish society that fair compensation for damages should be paid to people who had suffered injuries in an accident where another party was responsible.

Acknowledging the current debate around high insurance costs, Mr Divilly said a broad agreement had also developed in recent years among consumers, business groups, motorists and policy makers on the need for change in the personal injuries environment in Ireland.

He said PIAB fully supported the recent reports of the Personal Injuries Commission and the Department of Finance’s Cost of Insurance Working Group.

In particular he praised the PIC chairman, the retired High Court President, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns for his leadership role in the development of its report which he said contained “ground-breaking changes”

“We believe it is vital for progress to continue to be made on implementation of those recommendations,” he added.

Although PIAB currently produces the Book of Quantum, which outlines the general level of awards for specific injuries, PIAB chief executive, Conor O’Brien said it believed that the establishment of the Irish Judicial Council would provide “a unique opportunity to seek and obtain guidance for judges in measuring general damages for personal injuries.”

The PIC has stated such judicial guidelines should result in greatly increased levels of consistency in awards, while also increasing the frequency of early resolution of claims and reducing costs.

PIAB’s total income which is derived mostly from a claimant’s fee of €45 and a respondent’s fee of €600 in 2018 rose almost 1% to €11.8 million .

Since PIAB was established in 2004, it has assessed more than 130,000 cases, with claimants accepting the suggested compensation levels in over 60% of cases.

The latest figures show people living in Longford were the most likely to make a successful claim with above-average level awards also being made to people living in Limerick, Louth, Dublin and Sligo.
In contrast, people living in Kilkenny were the least likely to receive a compensation payout from PIAB with residents of Wexford, Donegal, Galway and Wicklow also getting below-average number of awards.

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About the author:

Seán McCárthaigh

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