The Court Services has published details of the number of personal injury cases that went through the courts in 2017 and the level of awards.
In 2017, there were 400 personal injury cases before the courts with the lowest award amounting to €2,405 and the highest award being €15 million. The total amount of compensation awarded was €184,141,689.
These figures include awards made in medical negligence cases which can be significant. There were 50 medical negligence actions dealt with last year.
In all cases except medical negligence actions, a plaintiff must firstly make an application to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) to have the claim assessed. PIAB is a State body that receives applications for personal injury claims and makes an assessment of damages where liability is not an issue. Once PIAB has considered the claim and made an assessment of damages (essentially a suggested compensation award) both parties may consider the value placed on the claim by PIAB and decide to either accept or reject the suggested award. There is no obligation on claimants to agree with and accept the PIAB assessment.
It is worth noting that in 2017 the average PIAB award was €24,879, which is 40% less than the average award achieved through issuing court proceedings.
It is important that any claimant considering a PIAB offer should firstly seek expert legal advice on the merits of the case and appropriate level of damages.