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Impact of the New Personal Injuries Guidelines 12 months later

What are the new Personal Injuries Guidelines?

The new Personal Injuries Guidelines were published nearly 12 months ago on April 24th 2021 by the Judicial Council which is a body composed of all judges in Ireland.  They set new guideline levels for personal injury compensation awards in Ireland.

The new guidelines from the Judicial Council will change the amounts of General Damages to be awarded by the Courts and by PIAB.

That will help bring about greater consistency across personal injuries awards. The guidelines will support greater use of the independent, transparent, fair and efficient service provided by PIAB.

The Personal Injuries Guidelines deal with a wide range of injuries in terms of General Damages, which are the amounts awarded for pain and suffering in relation to an injury where someone else is at fault. They do not change Special Damages, which are costs like medical or travel expenses or compensation for loss of wages. As we approach the 12 month period we review the impact of the new guideline and answer the most common questions regarding the changes.

How will these new Guidelines work?

The Personal Injuries Guidelines are a new set of personal injury compensation guidelines that will now replace the Book of Quantum in all personal injury claims from April 2021.  As the PIAB and the Courts will consistently award damages in line with the new Guidelines, it should reduce the likelihood for claims to go to the lengthy and costly litigation process, and instead support the greater use of the PIAB service which has far lower processing costs.

The new Personal Injuries Guidelines must be used by PIAB and the Courts in awarding compensation if a person successfully pursues a personal injury claim.  If PIAB or the Courts do not follow the new guidelines in any case, they are obliged to give reasons.

PIAB is the independent statutory body which fairly assesses claims. From the commencement date of April 24 2021, PIAB will assess all personal injury cases in line with the new Guidelines.

When do they come into effect?

The new Personal Injury Guidelines were approved by the Judicial Council in early March 2021.  Legislation was passed to bring the Guidelines into effect and the Guidelines apply to all cases assessed by PIAB after the commencement date of April 24, as announced by the Minister for Justice.  

I currently have a claim going through PIAB.  What do these new guidelines mean for someone currently making a claim or someone against whom a claim is made?

Where a claim is assessed before the  commencement date of the new Guidelines (24th April), it will be assessed based on the Book of Quantum.  Where a claim is assessed on or after that date, it will be assessed based on the new Personal Injuries Guidelines. The date of assessment will be confirmed on the Notice of Assessment letter.

What about where Court proceedings are commenced on or after 24th April?

Where a claim is assessed  prior to the 24th of April 2021 any subsequent proceedings arising out of the rejection of the assessment will be based on the Book of Quantum.

Where a claim is assessed on  or  after  the 24th of April 2021 any subsequent proceedings arising out of the rejection of the assessment will be based on the new Personal Injury Guidelines. 

How do the new Guidelines affect claims made in the future?

The new Guidelines will be used by both PIAB and the Courts to assess compensation amounts in personal injury claims.

The new guidelines will bring greater transparency and consistency to personal injury awards. They will reduce the overall levels of awards in Ireland and bring them into line with awards in other countries. This is seen as an important step in ensuring fair, consistent and reasonable compensation to claimants and bringing down the high cost of insurance across Ireland.

Do these new Guidelines mean lower awards for personal injury claimants?

The Personal Injuries Guidelines reset award levels for Ireland from the date they become operative and for a significant number of injuries the new levels are substantially lower than previous levels, while they are higher in a small number of categories. The new guidelines will also have more detail on compensation amounts with the inclusion of a broader range of personal injury types.

The new guidelines provide a consistent framework for personal injury awards and will ensure that all claimants have access to fair, transparent and consistent compensation if they have suffered a personal injury.

What happens if I do not wish to accept my PIAB award after the introduction of these new Guidelines?

A claimant who does not wish to accept a PIAB award can decide to go into the litigation process under the current situation, and that does not change with the new guidelines.

The new guidelines for personal injury compensation are the same for awards made by the PIAB and the Courts.  The PIAB system processes compensation claims faster and with far lower costs than through costly litigation. 

At present we are unaware of how judges will interpret the new guidelines when assessments made by the PIAB are rejected by a claiment. Our recommendation is that if you are involved in any form of accident that has resulted in you being injured you should seek advice from one of our specialist team at personalinjuriessolicitorsdublin.

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