A revised Injuries Board Book of Quantum is due to be released in the next few weeks, with more detail included to assist the accurate assessment of claims.
The Injuries Board Book of Quantum – the guide to compensation for physical personal injuries in Ireland – was originally published in June 2004. Intended to assist with the assessment of personal injury claims in which negligence had been admitted, the Injuries Board Book of Quantum lists a range of injuries and assigns them a financial value according to their severity and permanence.
The guide is not solely used by the Injuries Board. Solicitors negotiate settlements based on the values listed in the Injuries Board Book of Quantum and courts use the guide as a means of determining compensation awards. However, in recent years the guide has been criticised by judges for falling behind the times. Judges have often compensated for the age of the Injuries Board Book of Quantum by increasing awards of personal injury compensation – for which they themselves have been criticised.
Economic factors – such as low interest rates – have not helped matters, especially in the settlement of catastrophic injury claims. Whereas previously, judges would factor in an interest rate of 3%-4% when awarding lump sum payments, most recently they has awarded higher amounts of compensation due to the lack of interest claimants will receive if the funds are deposited in an interest-yielding account.
Now, after months of discussion between the Injuries Board, the Courts Service and senior judges, a revised Injuries Board Book of Quantum is due to be released in the next few weeks. Those who have seen the work in progress say that the values for relatively minor injuries are being increased in line with the increased cost of living, while some reductions are being made in the values for more serious injuries. The values have been apparently calculated based on injury compensation awards in 52,000 cases between 2013 and 2014.
How the revised Injuries Board Book of Quantum will be received is not yet known. Insurance companies – struggling after years of reduced returns from their investments – will likely be dissatisfied with any increase in the value of personal injury claims. Judges might also be unhappy with awarding lump sum compensation awards that fail to ensure the financial security of a plaintiff who has suffered a catastrophic injury.
One thing that all parties should consider is that the Injuries Board Book of Quantum only addresses the personal injuries a plaintiff has suffered. Any verifiable psychological injury or any verifiable deterioration in the plaintiff´s quality of life should also be considered in the settlement of a personal injury claim in Ireland. Because of the likelihood of defendants and their insurance companies relying solely on the Injuries Board Book of Quantum to calculate their financial liabilities, it is advisable to speak with a personal injury solicitor if you have been injured in an accident in Ireland for which you were not to blame.