Personal Injury

Solicitors Call for Urgent Review of PIAB’s Personal Injury Compensation Guidelines

By September 30, 2022 No Comments
Significant Court Ruling

Solicitors across Ireland are calling for a review of PIAB judicial guidelines that brought in lower personal injury awards for minor injuries and how victims are being further impacted due to the rising costs of inflation.

One solicitor, who said that there was a “palpable sense of worry”, believes that as inflation continues to increase, the amount of compensation awarded to victims of personal injury cases for minor injuries will not even be enough to cover the costs of ongoing medical treatment needed as a result of the incidents for which they seek compensation.

Fall in Awards of Between 50%-70%

Under the new guidelines introduced by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) last year, awards for minor injuries, such as soft tissue damage and whiplash, have reportedly fell by between 50% and 70% when compared to assessments in previous years.

The old guidelines, known as the Book of Quantum, were replaced by the new guidelines and came in to effect last year. Since then, the average payout amount for personal injury compensation in these instances has decreased from €23,877 in 2020 to €13,825 in 2021.

According to a report issued by the PIAB at the end of July, the overall amount paid out in personal injury awards for minor injuries has fallen to €118m over the past two years. Although this was due in part to a lack of claims taken during the pandemic, changes to the personal injury guidelines were also highlighted as a contributing factor.

Parity or Lower With Other EU Countries

A prominent solicitor’s office in Cork has said that while the judicial guidelines are due to be reviewed every three years, this should happen sooner due to the rising costs of inflation. Another solicitor’s office in Kildare that handles personal injury cases has said that Ireland’s compensation awards are now on equal parity or lower with other EU countries such as Spain and Portugal, but that medical expenses in those countries are significantly cheaper.

“It is essential for the fair delivery of appropriate compensation that the real financial value of such payment is reassessed given the dramatic increase in the cost-of-living standards here,” the Kildare-based solicitor said.

“The essential purpose of compensation is to, as far as possible, to enable the person who has suffered personal injuries from negligence to get back to a normal life, that is the position they were in before the negligent act occurred. It is not to enrich someone.

The same solicitor noted a further issue in relation to the appropriate access of justice for victims of personal injuries. Plaintiffs are now finding it increasingly difficult to find solicitors willing to take on cases of minor soft tissue damage that will now only attracts awards of €6,000 on average, but will require the same level of work to receive compensation.

“That includes ensuring that the full costs of ongoing and future medical treatments, care costs and transportation are paid in addition to compensation for pain and suffering”, he said.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

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