The ROI Injuries Board publishes a new Book of Quantum
The ROI Injuries Board has published a new Book of Quantum marking the first major review of awards since the inception of the Injuries Board in 2004.
The Book of Quantum sets out the compensation levels for various injuries depending on their severity. In the Republic of Ireland all personal injuries claims must be lodged with the Injuries Board before court proceedings can be issued. The Injuries Board is a statutory body set up to assess personal injury claims in Ireland and the intention behind the creation of the Injuries Board was to ease court congestion and to reduce legal costs.
Not all claims are assessed by the Injuries Board, for example they do not assess claims that are wholly psychological in nature or claims where a Rome ii point may be raised. The Respondent or their insurer also has to consent to an assessment. In these cases the Injuries Board does not assess, it issues an Authorisation which allows the Claimant to issue court proceedings.
Where the Injuries Board does assess a claim it must refer to the Book of Quantum in assessing the value of a personal injury claim.
The revised version of the Book of Quantum goes into more detail than the original and increases the value of certain injuries in a number of categories which is unsurprising given that the original Book of Quantum was published in 2004.
The Injuries Board has said that the new guidelines represent current pay outs based on the research they conducted into court awards, insurance settlements and their own data rather than any dramatic increase in awards overnight.
The motor insurance industry in Ireland is regularly in the spotlight due to the cost of premiums and will no doubt take a dim view of the increases evident in the revised Book of Quantum. Minor to moderate whiplash claims, which are one of the most common types of claim dealt with by the Injuries Board, has seen an award increase which will not be well received within the industry. Whiplash claims in the Republic of Ireland attract significantly higher compensation awards than they would in the UK. Many insurers had been calling for benchmarking of award levels in line with other countries and had hoped for an overall reduction in awards.
With regards to the impact that the new guidelines will have upon cases coming before the Court, the Book of Quantum does not have statutory footing and is therefore not binding upon the judiciary. Under the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004, “the Court shall, in assessing damages in personal injuries action, have regard to the book of quantum”. The revised Book of Quantum is therefore unlikely to affect court awards although it may encourage more consistency in relation to general damages but as all cases are considered upon their own merits there are unlikely to be any substantial changes to the current approach to awards.