18/11/2021 0 Comments
Personal Injury Claims Statistics – A Personal Injury Claim Solicitor's Analysis
On the 27th of July 2021, the Personal Injuries Assessment Board or (PIAB) published its personal injury claims report.
This annual report gives a full and frank overview of personal injury claims processed during the previous year. It’s fair to say that 2020 was an unusual 12 months. As you would expect, the PIAB report certainly reflects the unprecedented circumstances inflected on the nation due to the Covid-19 virus.
Of course, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic was the only one of the many mitigating factors that affected personal injury claims in 2020. After all, 2020 was the last full year that the Book of Quantum was used to determine compensation amounts. The book of Quantum was a list of specific injuries with a guide amount of the compensation award that should be granted following the specific injury. The Book of Quantum was in effect since 2003. However, during a meeting on 6th March 2021, 166 members of the Judicial Council voted in favour of new guidelines, prepared by the council’s Personal injuries Guidelines committee or the PIGC. Effectively these new guidelines cut in half the compensation award amount for lesser injuries.
To get a better sense of this, let's use an example. Under the previous guidelines, the compensation recommendation for a minor neck injury like whiplash or soft tissue damage was €27,800. Under the new guidelines compensation for this type of injury is €500 – €3000 for injuries that substantially recover without surgery after 6 months to €10 000 - €18,000 for soft tissue injuries that take up to 5 years to substantially heal.
With the pandemic and the shadow of the new compensation guidelines looming, we wanted to dig into the PIAB’s 2020 figures.
Number of Personal Injury Claims and Total Amount of Compensation Awarded
To begin let’s look at PIABs major figures. In 2020, the PIAB processed 26,009 new personal injury claims. As expected due to the pandemic there were fewer personal injury claims, meaning there was a 16% reduction in claims when we compare the figures with 2019. However, the pandemic may have accelerated a pre-existing trend. As the figures from 2018 show a 6% reduction in personal injury claims when we compare 2018s numbers with 2019s. We would need more data to conclusively identify a trend but it’s certainly something worth observing especially now that the new compensation guidelines are in effect.
In monetary terms, the total amount PIAB awarded to accident victims added up to €206 Million. A large amount for sure but as one would expect, with fewer accident claims being made, the total awarded amount was down by €70 million when we compare it with 2019’s figure. This has fallen by 92 million when we compare the amount over the previous two years.
With the above in mind, it's worth remembering that in 2021 the new compensation guidelines are in effect. Since the introduction of the new guidelines, there has been a fall of 50% in the average PIAB awards following a personal injury claim. This fall of the average award will likely affect next year’s total leading to yet another drop in the accumulative annual compensation award number.
In recent months there has been some anecdotal evidence to suggest that the lessening of the award amount has led to an increase in the rejection of PIAB awards. This normally leads to costly ligation that doesn’t necessarily increase the amount the claimant will receive. Any responsible personal injury solicitor should be advising their clients to accept the PIAB award amount if it’s clear they are unlikely to receive much more from litigation or in rare circumstances by going to court.
Types of Personal Injury Claims
Predictably, Motor Liability or road traffic accident claims continue to be the largest category for personal injury claims. There is a disparity in the number of claims when compared to the number of PIAB awards. In 2020 the PIAB received 14,137 motor claims but it only issued 6,058 compensation awards. This tells us the importance of seeking out expert road traffic accident solicitors. Based on the details of an accident an experienced Dublin road traffic accident solicitor like Finghín O’Driscoll Solicitors should be able to advise if a person does indeed have a viable claim.
For motor liability claims, the average award was €22,357. Around 85% of this total was awarded to victims of soft tissue damage including whiplash claims.
In terms of claim volume, the second-largest category is public liability. In 2020 the PIAB received 6,823 claims and of this number 1,426 were awarded compensation. The average award in this category was €26,065.
Coming in third is employer’s liability or workplace accidents claims. The PIAB reported 5,049 claims received in this area with 1,103 awards being issued. Despite awarding damages for fewer claims, the average accident at work claim amount was €30,558, which is significantly higher than the average awarded to victims injured in road traffic accidents and accidents in public places.
From these numbers, we can infer that accidents suffered in the workplace – in 2020 at least – resulted in greater injury to the claimant. Therefore it’s highly recommended to hire a specialist accident at work solicitor if you’ve been injured in the workplace.
Details of Personal injury claims in 2020
As part of the PIAB’s annual report, they also released statistics on the type of accidents that made up the three main liability categories. To get a sense of what kinds of accidents led to personal injury claims in 2020 we've outlined the statistics below.
Motor Liability Accidents
- 57% of claimants were the drivers of a vehicle
- 37.5% of claims involved the passenger
- 5% of claimants were pedestrians
- 4.5% of claims involved cyclists
- 2% of claimants involved were motorcyclists
Employers Liability Accident
- 22% of accidents caused were due to a fall
- 20% of accidents were caused due to strenuous work, overexertion or repetitive movements
- 15.5% of accidents involved being hit by a thrown projectile or falling object
- 11.5% of accidents were caused by being stuck, jammed or crushed between objects
Public Liability Accidents
- 67% of accidents were caused by a fall
- 8% of accidents were caused by a fall from one level to another
- 7.5% of accidents involved being hit by a thrown projectile or falling object
- 7% of accidents were caused by assault by bodily force
With the disruption to all our daily lives through 2020 and throughout much of 2021, along with the changes to award compensation, personal injury claims are in a state of change. From the above, however, we can see that the importance of hiring a professional personal injury solicitor is perhaps more important than ever For lesser injuries, a personal injury solicitor should be able to advise if it is in the victim's interest to pursue a claim. If you have any questions on any of the above, we recommend calling our Dublin personal injury solicitors' offices. If you have been injured in an accident that wasn't your fault, book a consultation with us today.