The number of personal injury claims rose by 6% last year with a total number of 33,561 claims but the number of claims awarded was down last year as compared to the 2014 record, according to the Injuries Board 2015 Annual Review.
The claims in 2014 were 31,576. It increased to 33,561 in 2015 with the increase being linked to social and economic activity, according to the board.
As the number of people at work increases and there is an increase in traffic volumes, and even the rate of footfall incidences in public areas increases, more claims were said to be reported.
According to the Injuries Board, 11,734 of the claims were awarded and compensated in the year 2015 with a total of €268.4m. Total compensation in 2014 was €281.2m for 12,420 claims. According to the board, the said reduction was due to the time when the award was granted and not because of a significant change in volume of claims. The reported awards granted in the first quarter of 2016 were actually for the claims filed in the last quarter of 2015.
The average award volumes for the three-year period from 2014 to 2016 were projected to be 12,000 annually, while the approximate adjudicated personal injury cases filed in the courts were 1,500 annually.
In 2014 the average compensation awarded was €22,642. There was a slight increase in 2015 of 1% with a figure of €22,878.
Motor liability accounted for three in four awards while employer liability was at a rate of 8% and public liability was at a rate of 17%.
Previous years show that employer liability had the highest average award, with compensation of €32,134 for 2014, but this decreased by 3% in 2015 to €31,267.
Moreover, public liability awards increased by 2% with a total figure of €25,213 in 2015 as compared to €24,677 in 2014. Based on per-head-of-population, the highest volume for claims awarded was made for counties Limerick, Longford, and Louth, and the lowest volume recorded was for Kilkenny, Wexford, and Wicklow.
The chief executive of the Injuries Board, Conor O’Brien said that they still offer the most timely and efficient model at the lowest cost in assessing personal injury cases. “Last year alone the board’s non-adversarial model delivered direct savings of almost €80m and claim processing costs are now at their lowest ever level of 6.5%,” said Mr O’Brien.
The processing cost of the litigation can be as high as 60% of the awarded claims. Cases that are processed through the Injuries Board that do not require litigation would mean higher costs of claims.
Mr. O’Brien also added, “In addition to processing efficiencies, we are seeking to ensure continued clarity around compensation values and an independent review of the Book of Quantum is under way for publication later this year”. He also emphasised the need for publication of data related to the personal injury cases that were settled outside the Injuries Board.
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