By Eamon Quinn
The number of personal injury claims dealt with by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) fell by 2.8% last year, new figures show.
PIAB said it processed 33,114 personal injury claims, down from 34,056 claims in 2016, and made 12,663 awards, down from 12,966 awards in 2016, worth just over €315m.
Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Galway accounted for the highest numbers of awards. The lowest number of awards came from Leitrim, Roscommon, Monaghan, and Carlow.
However, the figures do not include all personal claims “as they do not include cases settled directly between parties without the claimant ever making a claim to PIAB”, it said.
Motor awards accounted for 72% of all awards last year, it said.
Businesses and the insurance industry have long highlighted the high level of personal injury claims, which they say helps drive up the cost of insurance.
A new database will show the full spread of claims, the PIAB said.
The PIAB was set up 15 years ago to help put a cap on escalating costs of personal injury claims.
Its figures show motor claims through the PIAB fell by over 5% in 2017 and public liability claims fell by 3.5%, while the number of employer liability claims increased by 7.5%.
It was a year “in which the PIAB model continued to deliver major benefits, by providing a low-cost, quick and fair option to deliver personal injury compensation in undisputed cases,” the PIAB said. It added that just over half of all awards were for amounts up to €20,000; a third were for amounts between €20,000 and €38,000, and 13% of awards covered awards between €38,000 and €100,000.
Only 105 awards, or 1%, were for amounts for more than €100,000.
It said the average award amount increased slightly, to €24,879 from €24,30, “reflecting the nature and severity of the cases assessed during the year”. The highest award last year was €605,095.
It said it took an average of 7.3 weeks to process a personal injury claim and that its costs worked out at over 6% of the overall value of awards. It said the costs were significantly smaller that the amounts involved if the claims had gone through the courts.