Personal Injury

Court Ruling Clarifies Assessment Requirements for Personal Injury Cases

By November 24, 2023 No Comments
Court Ruling Clarifies Assessment

Court Ruling Clarifies Assessment

The Court of Appeal in Ireland has recently passed a landmark decision concerning the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) and their duty to provide clear reasoning when evaluating damages according to the personal injury guidelines. This development is anticipated to significantly affect both individuals making personal injury claims and the PIAB itself.

Since April 2021, the personal injury guidelines have been operational with the aim of curbing the amount awarded for less severe personal injuries. These guidelines have markedly influenced the landscape, leading to a more than 40% drop in new personal injury cases over four years and a substantial €36 million decrease in total awards in 2022 compared to the previous year.

Constitutional Challenge to the Guidelines

The Supreme Court is currently deliberating on a crucial appeal that questions the constitutionality of these guidelines. This stems from the case of Bridget Delaney who disputed PIAB’s valuation of €3,000 for her ankle fracture, arguing it should have been valued between €12,000 to €21,000 under the old rules.

In a related matter, the Court of Appeal delivered a verdict on Tara Wolfe’s case. Wolfe was awarded €11,000 for soft tissue injuries suffered from an oven incident at her workplace. The Court critiqued PIAB for not providing adequate details on how it assessed her minor injuries and the basis for increasing the damages for her back injury.

Importance of Transparent Assessment

The Court underscored the importance of a transparent and comprehensible assessment process for claimants. This clarity is vital for individuals to make informed decisions on whether to accept PIAB’s assessment or to face potential legal costs by taking their case to court. Claimants are entitled to a clear understanding of how their general damages are calculated, without needing to speculate.

While acknowledging PIAB’s reliance on medical reports, the Court noted that PIAB is not required to include exhaustive medical details in its assessments. Nevertheless, it is imperative that claimants receive enough information to grasp how their assessment was determined.

This ruling is poised to impact the ongoing revision of the personal injury guidelines by the Judicial Council’s Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee, which is due to submit its report and recommendations by the coming March.

In contentious matters, solicitors are not permitted to base their fees or charges as a percentage or proportion of any settlement or award.

Leave a Reply