The implementation of the Judicial Council Personal Injuries Guidelines, which came into effect on the 24 April 2021 will significantly change the manner in which the courts make assessments for damages in personal injuries cases.
The Guidelines apply to the assessment of damages in all personal injuries claims made on or after 24 April 2021. The Book of Quantum will continue to apply to proceedings commenced prior to 24th of April 2021 or where an assessment was made by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board prior to 24th of April 2021 and was deemed not to be accepted.
Ultimately these guidelines seek to reduce the levels of awards for most categories of personal injury whereby the damages awarded must be proportionate with the injuries sustained. An example of the significant reduction contained within the new guidelines can be seen in the case of a minor neck injury, which has substantially resolved within six months. This is now valued between €500.00 to €3,000.00 in contrast with the old Book of Quantum valuation, where the same type of injury is valued up to €15,700.00. A court may only depart from the new personal Injuries guidelines where it is justified in doing so and explains the reasoning for its departure in the judgment.
It has recently been reported that the average PIAB assessment in personal injuries cases has dropped by about 50 per cent in the last two months following the introduction of the new guidelines.
The implementation of the guidelines has been met with some apprehension by judges and the legal profession. It is envisaged that that there will be a large number of constitutional challenges to follow with two cases having recently been filed in the High Court seeking declarations that sections of the Judicial Council Act are unconstitutional.
The Department of Justice will report on the impact of the guidelines by December 2021, with a view to reviewing the guidelines every three years.
If you have been injured through someone’s negligence and think you may be entitled to compensation, McGrath McGrane LLP will be able to advise you as to your rights.* Please feel free to contact us on 01-8735012 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Note - 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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