The number of personal injury claims remains “far lower” than before Covid, with the average value of an injury compensation award down by more than one third, according to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB).
Publishing its Annual Report for 2022 and its fourth average awards report for the same year the board said compensation claims have fallen sharply since 2019.
It said far fewer claims were being registered and awards were smaller, all of which should have a positive impact on insurance premiums.
According to the Annual Report for 2022 claims were down for the third consecutive year, with 18,453 claims made to PIAB in 2022, a 14 per cent decrease on the previous year and a 41 per cent decrease compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
The total value of awards has reduced by €134m since 2019, driven by both changes to the volume of claims and changes to average award values as a result of new guidelines.
The report showed €141 million in claims were awarded by PIAB in 2022, the lowest figure in the last 16 years.
It also showed the number of fatal claims increased to 96 from 84. Over half of those in the motor area were in relation to vulnerable road users.
The board said its work in 2022 “directly generated savings of €40 million in avoided litigation costs”.
According to the fourth average awards report, overall average award values were 35 per cent lower in 2022, compared to the average award in 2020.
• The average value of awards of compensation made by the board in 2022 was €15,544.
• General damages, which cover awards for pain and suffering to an injured party, were 41 per cent lower on average in value than the 2020 average.
• There was an increase in the average value of special damages, from an average value of €2,027 in 2020 to €2,740 in 2022, an increase of 35 per cent.
• Nearly half, some 47 per cent, of awards made in 2022 were for under €10,000. This was against one-eight, or 12 per cent in 2020. Two-thirds (67%) of awards made in 2022 were for under €15,000.
The board said an increasing proportion of cases are for employer liability.
In 2022, one-in-12 assessments of compensation made by the board related to psychiatric damage injuries, compared to one-in-20 in 2021. These cases tend to have higher average value than the most common occurring injuries relating to neck and back injuries.
The board said the proportion of neck and back injuries, the most frequent injury types assessed by it, is decreasing. Generally, neck and back injuries are lower value awards as 90 per cent of such injuries are minor in severity, when assessed by the board.
Rosalind Carroll, chief executive of PIAB, said 2022 saw continued reductions in the volume of personal injury claims being made to the board. “While at the same time we saw the continued impact of the personal injuries guidelines with a reduction in average award levels. The combined impact is that the overall cost of claims has dropped significantly which should have a very positive impact on insurance premiums.”