Huge reduction in personal injury awards
Last year the government introduced new Personal Injury Guidelines in the form of a new Book of Quantum. The Book of Quantum is a reference point which is relied upon by the Personal Injury Assessment Board and the Courts in assessing an appropriate level of damages for personal injury.
In a recent release of information by the Personal Injury Assessment Board (PIAB) its review of awards between April and September 2021 showed that the average award was 40% down than the same period for 2020 under the previous Book of Quantum.
In the 2021 data over 70% of the claims were under €15,000 compared to 30% the previous year.
However, one of the impacts of the reduced claims would appear to be the higher level of litigation which is resulting. For instance, in 2020 51% of PIAB assessments were accepted by the Plaintiffs, whereas only 37% were accepted between April and September 2021.
Accordingly, it would appear that an unwelcome result in the reduction of the awards from PIAB is that more Plaintiffs may be inclined to take their chances under the Court system. This flies in the face of the original intention of PIAB which was to try and remove as many cases from the court process as possible.
It is very early days but this is an unwelcome result of the substantial reduction in personal injury guidelines. It is also alarming to note the recent data which indicated that the substantial reduction in personal injury claims has not impacted in anything like the same way on the reduction in insurance premia. It is also to be noted that when insurance companies advocated for the removal of juries and for the setting up of PIAB in the first place it was based on the promise of reduced insurance premia.
For further information on personal injury matters, please don’t hesitate to contact Donna Phelan or Brendan Dillon at 01 296 0666.