The Alliance for Insurance Reform has reacted with dismay to the new Personal Injuries Guidelines by the Judicial Council, which are set to replace the current Book of Quantum guidelines on the amounts awarded or assessed in personal injury claims.
A majority of the 166 member Judicial Council voted on Saturday 6 March in support of the guidelines, prepared by the council’s Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee. The focus of the guidelines is to ensure awards for lesser injuries are proportionate to the maximum.
The Alliance has now called on the Government to “immediately intervene to do the right thing for hard-pressed motorists, charities, voluntary and community groups, sports and cultural organisations and SMEs” severely affected by insurance costs, by dramatically reducing the proposed damages for minor injuries.
Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance, said: “Getting insurance costs down means cutting the general damages paid out for minor, fully recovered injuries to reflect international norms and norms already established by the Court of Appeal. It would have taken reductions of 80% to the damages handed out for such injuries in order to do so.
“In advance of the adoption of these guidelines, we called on the judiciary to have regard to the common good in their deliberations but they have ignored this plea and we are dismayed at what they are now proposing.”
The Alliance has set out the following list of examples of minor injuries, which it says remain too high following the Judicial Council review :
- Minor thumb injury (no sprain, no breakage). Was €21,200 reduced to €12,000 (-43%). Currently €4,582 in England & Wales
- Minor, substantially recovered. Was €15,700. Now €6,000 (-62%). Currently €4,192 in England & Wales (will drop to €1,492 in May). Up to €1,125 in Germany. Unlikely to receive compensation in Sweden.
- Minor, full recovery expected. Was €19,400. Now €12,000 (-38%). Currently €7,605 in England & Wales (will drop to €4,763 in May).
- Moderate. Was €30,200. Now €23,000 (-24%). Currently €13,225 in England & Wales
- Minor, full recovery expected. Was €18,400. Now €12,000 (-35%). Currently €7,605 in England & Wales
- Minor. Was €23,100. Now €12,000 (-48%). Currently €7,413 in England & Wales
“We have now written to An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, in his role as Chair of the Cabinet Committee Sub-Group on Insurance Reform, asking Government to intervene immediately, take control of the situation and cap general damages such that damages for minor injuries are reduced by an average of 80% compared to the previous Book of Quantum guidelines.
“The Law Reform Commission has made it clear that such an action would be entirely constitutional subject to certain safeguards and it is up to the Government to do the right thing now for the sake of the common good,” Boland noted.