Some serious injury awards set to increase under new guidelines, analysis reveals

Lung Disease

6 May 2021

Some awards for more serious injuries will actually increase under new guidelines approved by judges.

While the vast majority of awards will be cut by anywhere between 31pc and 69pc, an analysis found there would be some cases where small increases end up being applied. This is because the level of granular detail provided in the new guidelines will shift some injuries into a more serious category.

The finding came after PIAB conducted an exercise where it examined a sample of cases from 2020 where awards were accepted by both the claimant and the respondent under the old Book of Quantum system.

It then compared these awards with the likely award that would have been given under the new guidelines, which it has been using for assessments since April 24.

An example of an unexpected increase cited by PIAB operations manager Peter O’Brien was a case involving a serious shoulder injury, a ­fractured humerus.

General damages awarded in a case involving this injury under the Book of Quantum would have been €45,000.

But under the new guidelines, Mr O’Brien said the predicted award would be €50,000, an 11pc increase.

“That was one of the surprises we got when we went through this,” Mr O’Brien told a PIAB webinar yesterday.

“The level of detail in the guidelines can lead to an increase in very serious cases like that.”

However, the analysis indicates such cases will be very much the exception, with significant cuts in awards across most categories of injury.

Another, more typical, case study involved a 27-year-old woman who was involved in a motor accident. She was still getting intermittent neck pain a year later, but with physio was expected to fully recovery within 18 to 24 months of the accident. In her case an award of €13,000 was made under the Book of Quantum.

If it had been assessed under the new guidelines, she would have received €7,000.

Another example of the decreases to come involved a slip and fall foot fracture injury where recovery was expected after two years.

Under the Book of Quantum, the claimant, a 42-year-old man, received €25,000. Had the case been assessed under the new system, the award would have been €10,000.

Speaking at the webinar, Robert Troy, the Junior Minister for Trade Promotion, said that as both PIAB and the courts would apply the new guidelines, parties to a claim would have greater certainty. He said it should also mean more cases would be resolved through PIAB and early settlements, cutting costs and time taken to settle claims.

Mr Troy said Sean Fleming, the junior minister responsible for financial services and insurance, had received assurances from insurance companies that “they will reduce premiums in response to these developments”.

He said it was important that insurers, in settling claims, did not undermine the guidelines by paying more than the recommended amount to achieve a settlement and avoid ­litigation costs.

Source: Irish Independent

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