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Personal injury awards fell €118m last year on pre-pandemic levels

New personal injuries guidelines that came into effect reduced the average value of claims.

PERSONAL INJURY AWARDS were €118 million lower in 2021 compared to the last full year before the pandemic.

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board’s total valuation of claims was €157 million in 2021, a 43% drop on €275 million in 2019.

That came alongside a 31% fall in the number of claims from 31,072 in 2019 to 21,410 last year.

In 2020, there were 26,009 claims valued collectively at €206 million.

New personal injuries guidelines were introduced a third of the way through 2021 which changed how the courts and PIAB assess personal injuries claims.

They  increased the number of respondents who consented to PIAC assessing claims but reduced the average value of claims.

The new guidelines outline a range of possible amounts of compensation for personal injuries.

PIAB Chief Executive Rosalind Carroll said the guidelines were “the single biggest change in the personal injuries area since PIAB was first established 18 years ago”.

“While there are very immediate impacts in terms of award values, it will take time to see the full impact in terms of reducing the amount of personal injuries litigation.”

Minister of State with responsibility for PIAB Robert Troy said that “increasing the number of personal injury claims that may be resolved through the PIAB process and without recourse to litigation” is a “priority”.

The average processing time of a claim through PIAB was 10.5 months and the rate of awards accepted by both parties was 44%, down from 51% in 2020.

Incidents where employers were liable were valued at an average of €54,226 across the year – €30,558 before the guidelines and €18,915 afterwards.

Nearly a quarter of these (24%) came from accidents caused by a fall on the same level surface by slipping, tripping or stumbling and 20.5% were due to overexertion or strenuous and/or repetitive movements.

16% were attributed to the worker being struck by a thrown, projected or falling object and 9.5% were caused by a fall from one level to another.

Motor liability awards dropped from an average of €24,409 to €13,241 and public liability awards fell from €29,767 to €15,162.

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