An analysis by the Injuries Board shows that July has the highest frequency of accidents resulting in compensation awards while April has the lowest. And Saturdays in July are a peak period for public place accidents.
Last year the Injuries Board made 2,151 public liability awards, with compensation totalling €53m. This compares with €44m in respect of 1,768 awards in 2013.
During the year it awarded €281m in compensation for personal injury claims and total claims increased by just 1% over 2013.
Of the 12,420 awards made, 17% related to public liability claims, with motor liability representing 75% of awards and employer liability, 8%.
The Injuries Board is the independent State body that makes statutory personal injury awards for motor, employer and public liability accidents.
Personal injury claims are made to the board unless settled directly between the parties while public liability awards are made for injuries suffered following an accident in a public place.
The analysis shows that 50% of public liability awards were for amounts under €20,000. Just 10 awards related to claims in excess of €100,000.
The average public liability award decreased slightly to €24,677 last year, compared to €25,120 in 2013.
Figures over the last three years have consistently shown that women are far more likely than men to suffer an accident in a public place that results in a public liability award. However, the gap between the sexes narrowed slightly in 2014 – women now account for seven out of 10 (68.9%) of all public liability awards. The average award for men was €24,275 last year, while for women it was €24,859.
Slips, trips and falls are main cause of accidents and account for 70% of all public liability awards.
Uneven or broken pavements and wet or slippery floors and other surfaces are the most common causes of slips, trips and falls. Injuries are predominantly soft tissue and minor fractures. Shops and shopping centres are the top business premises for accidents that result in a public liability claim, with fewer occurances in nightclubs, fast food outlets, bars, and restaurants.
The board’s director of corporate services, Stephen Watkins, said that while there was an increase in the number of public liability awards last year, most were relatively low value claims. Mr Watkins, who urged people to be safety aware this summer, pointed out that five in every six (84%) of public liability compensation awards were for amounts less than €38,000.
Dublin had the highest number of awards per county at 779, followed by Cork with 211 and Limerick at 155. Leitrim had the lowest number of awards, with 9.
Since 2004, all personal injury claims in Ireland, with the exception of medical negligence, must be processed through the Injuries Board.
A person can have their claim assessed directly for a refundable fee of €45. Those using a solicitor may have to pay their legal representative up to 10% or more of the value of their award. There is no cap on the level of damages that the board can make.