Court of Appeal gives guidance on meaning of “Severe and Permanent”
In a recent decision of Ledig -v- O’Neill the Plaintiff was injured in an accident while on a motor bike in August 2015. His injuries which were primarily to the Scaphoid bone in the wrist involved surgery which left a 5cm scar. By the time the matter had came to Court he had ongoing issues in relation to his condition.
The High Court awarded general damages of €155,000 which included damages for past pain and suffering, future pain and suffering and also included damages for loss of hobbies.
The award was appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal accepted that the High Court had, in considering the award of damages , referred to the Book of Quantum but held that it had not done so correctly. The High Court had assessed damages of €155,000 on the basis that the injuries came within the most severe category of damages namely “severe and permanent”. The Court of Appeal disagreed and said it is only the most severe of injuries that come within this high threshold.
It also held that damages assessed by the High Court for past and future general damages exceeded the maximum allowed by the Book of Quantum. They also determined that there was no separate heading for loss of hobbies, and this was to be taken into account in the general heading of damages. As a result, it reduced the damages significantly to €65,000.
This decision is a stark reminder of the trend within the appellate Courts to reduce awards of damages and to assess them on a more conservative nature.
For any information in relation to personal injuries do not hesitate to contact Donna Phelan or Conor White on 01-2960666