What are the Judicial Council’s Personal Injury Guidelines?
The Judicial Council’s personal injury guidelines provide general guidelines as to how much compensation may be awarded in a personal injury claim and is used by the Injuries Board when they are assessing a personal injury claim.
These personal injury guidelines outline information on all types of personal injury claims. All claims to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) must be supported by appropriate medical evidence. This may include all reports and records from the time of the injury and all examinations since the accident occurred. These guidelines are a general guide as to how much money may be awarded for a personal injury claim. It gives us a guide in respect of various injury types, depending on the severity of the injuries and the time period to recovery. They do not fully determine the amount of compensation which may be payable.
Who are the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB)?
In Ireland, the Injuries Board, also referred to as the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) was set up in 2004 under the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) Act 2003 by the Irish Government to evaluate and assess personal injury claims. Its aim was to reduce the amount of time it takes for a personal injury case to be resolved and save time and money. According to PIAB, since its introduction, it has managed to significantly reduce the amount of time it takes for a personal injury claim to be settled. It has been reduced from approximately three years to 7-9 months, in many cases. To do this, the Injuries Board established a group of assessors whose function is to make fair and transparent injury assessments under the PIAB Act 2003.
Valuing your Claim
There are a number of steps involved in this process:
1. Identify the injury
Assessing your claim starts with identifying which body part has suffered the most severe injury. All other injuries will also be taken into consideration once this has been determined.
2. Determine the severity of the injury
The severity of the injury is determined by the effect it will have on your life and the long-term effects caused as a result of the injury. The Judicial Council’s guidelines outline several categories of severity.
- Minor: Injuries that have mostly recovered
- Moderate: Injuries that have mostly recovered but there are still some ongoing problems that interfere with day-to-day life
- Moderately severe: Moderate injuries that have resulted in a permanent effect on the body part injured
- Severe and permanent: Severe injuries that have caused major impacts on day-to-day life or that require ongoing permanent medical attention
3. Find information on the value range of compensation
After you have completed the previous two steps you can review The Judicial Council guidelines to see an outline of what compensation you may receive.
4. Consider the effect of multiple injuries
It is important to note that if you have suffered multiple injuries, you cannot estimate your claim by adding all values of the various injuries. The Injuries Board will assess the most severe injury first. The value of damages will then be adjusted to include the other less serious injuries and provide you with a final figure.
The Judicial Council’s guidelines are very detailed in outlining the different types of injuries and what effect they have had. There are a number of different injury types covered, including the following:
- Back Injury and Spinal Fractures
- Internal Organs
Settlements take certain aspects of the injury and any effects of the injury into account when assessing a claim for compensation. This includes:
- Pain/suffering and loss of quality of life
- Past loss of earnings
- Medical bills as a result of the injury
- Loss of future income caused by the injury
- Cost of future medical care
If you do decide that you want to bring a claim to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, you may be entitled to a legal remedy along with any additional expenses known as damages:
Non-financial damages for pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional damage as a result of the injury.
Out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of any injuries. This may include loss of wages, medical bills and any added travel costs as a result of the effects of the injury, such as travel to and from the hospital.
How to estimate the value of your claim
The compensation estimates contained in the Judicial Council’s personal injury guidelines are intended to provide you with general estimates of compensation amounts. This is not intended to provide you with specific estimates on how much compensation may be awarded. If you move forward with a personal injury case, the Injuries Board may assess your case and provide you with a compensation figure based on the severity of your injury, length of recovery and the outcome of your recovery.
There are certain steps involved when using these guidelines to assess the value of your claim:
- Identify the category that related to your injury
- Assess the severity of your injury
- Assess the value range of your injury
- Consider multiple injuries
How does the PIAB assessment work?
While the Judicial Council’s guidelines only reflect pain and suffering per injury type, when your claim is submitted to the Injuries Board for assessment, all components of your claim should be considered. Your assessment should include some or all of the following:
- Pain, suffering and enjoyment of life
- Lost wages from time off work because of the injuries
- Future loss of wages
- Cost of medical care after the accident, this may include future medical care
- Any other expenses incurred, for example, material damage.
Your solicitor will help you in understanding the value of your claim and also help you in determining whether to accept or reject PIAB’s assessment and move forward in your injury claim.