In 2004, the year that the InjuriesBoard.ie (previously the Personal Injuries Assessment Board) was first set up, the High Court received 746 filings for personal injury cases.
Last year, there were 7,099 new cases filed to the same court – 9.5 times as many. 6,999 cases were lodged in the Circuit Court.
All injury claims – except where medical negligence is involved – are required to be submitted to InjuriesBoard.ie first, but the matter can be referred to the courts if either party rejects its findings.
And more and more people are now choosing to refer their cases to the courts – because they habitually hand down far higher awards.
The board’s Book of Quantum outlines the general window of how much the Board awards for individual claims, with the highest payouts going to victims of spinal cord injuries, who are awarded a maximum of €300,000.
Last year, however, the High Court awarded €1.8m in damages to a Chinese student, including a €325,000 payment for general damage to her spinal cord, for injuries in a car crash – exceeding the limit set down by the Board.
David Nolan, a senior counsel specialising in injury claims, says that “people realise that the value of their case is better being determined by a court rather than a civil service quagmire like InjuriesBoard.ie.”
A Board spokesperson said that the Board had reduced the number of claims going through the courts from 33,000 to 14,000.
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