€8.5m paid to minors for injury claims

CHILDREN aged between three and seven are over three times more likely to be in an accident resulting in a personal injury claim than those aged three or less.

An assessment by InjuriesBoard.ie, formerly the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, also found that childhood accidents are most likely to be motor related.

In 2010, 615 minors were awarded compensation totalling €8.5 million, or an average of €13,840. Awards ranged from €500 to over €170,000.

Childhood accidents are more than twice as likely to occur in April and August than in December.

Motor-related accidents, at almost 80%, accounted for four times as many injuries as public liability.

Girls accounted for 52% of awards while 48% of awards were made to boys.

Dublin accounted for the largest portion of awards nationally, at just over 23%, followed by Cork at 11%. No awards were made to minors in Co Leitrim.

Consultant paediatrician at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital in Dublin, Professor Alf Nicholson, said injuries were a serious public health problem in Europe and more children over the age of one died of injuries than all other diseases combined.

“For every child that dies from an injury, 160 are admitted to hospital and over 2,000 are seen in the emergency department – deaths are just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

“Simple life-saving measures, including increased care and attention and always using appropriate seating restraints and wearing of helmets by cyclists, are vitally important,” said Prof Nicholson.

The study found soft-tissue injuries account for 57% of injuries; 14% are back/neck injuries and 4% involve a head or brain injury.

Just under 50% of the awards are between €10,000 and €25,000, with 27% between €5,000 and €10,000

Chief executive of InjuriesBoard.ie Patricia Byron said the assessment was aimed at minimising accidents in the future or avoiding them totally.

“With over a quarter of those injured aged three to seven, this shows that parents have a right to be vigilant because that age is more prone to have an accident,” she said.

Ms Byron said the review of 615 minors did not reveal any problem with children not being properly restrained in cars.

“That would indicate that the restraining of children in cars is probably minimising more serious injury and fatalities,” she said.

InjuriesBoard.ie, an independent body, processes all personal injuries claims, with only a small number released to the courts when there is a dispute.

My Byron said there used to be 30,000 writs made every year in relation to personal injury claims, a figure that was now reduced to less than 10,000. The board deals with such cases in a non-adversarial manner.

Publication of the claims data for minors coincided with yesterday’s announcement that InjuriesBoard.ie is to sponsor a campaign by Temple Street Children’s University Hospital to raise funds to support services for injured and sick children.


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