Reduced personal injury payouts to come into force this month
The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, has announced that the Personal Injuries Guidelines will come into effect on Saturday, April 24.
The Guidelines set out the level of damages that may be awarded or assessed in respect of personal injuries. The Guidelines reduce award levels for most categories of personal injury and will be used by both the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) and the courts to assess compensation in such claims.
Speaking at the announcement Minister McEntee said: “This is a very significant step in meeting our commitment to make insurance more affordable for consumers, businesses and community groups. The commencement of the Personal Injuries Guidelines should reduce costs, and in time, boost competition in the Irish insurance market.
“It is now important that the insurance industry follows through and brings down the cost of insurance.”
The Personal Injuries Guidelines apply to applications already made to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) except where an assessment has been made. The Book of Quantum will continue to apply where Personal Injuries Assessment Board assessments have been made or where a hearing is already before the courts.
Minister McEntee added: “Our overriding concern in Government is to urgently address the economic impacts of high insurance costs, while ensuring fair compensation when someone is injured through no fault of their own. It is my hope that the new Guidelines address those concerns by bringing consistency, and reducing litigation and awards, which are a major driver of insurance costs.”
Under the Action Plan on Insurance Reform, the Department of Justice will report on the implementation and early impact of the Personal Injury Guidelines by December 2021.
The Guidelines are required, under the terms of the Judicial Council Act 2019, to be reviewed within three years of being adopted and every three years thereafter.
Minister McEntee continued: “Bringing the Guidelines into operation is a key action of the Justice Plan 2021 and delivers on the Programme for Government commitment to recognise the work of the Judicial Council, in providing guidance on personal injury claims.”
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD said: “The commencement of these guidelines is a really important step in the implementation of our Action Plan for Insurance Reform, the Government’s plan to drive down the cost and increase the availability of insurance for motorists, homeowners, businesses and voluntary groups alike. I want to see the reduction in payouts reflected in lower premiums in the near future”
Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy TD added:
“The availability of insurance cover at a reasonable and fair price is crucial to the effective functioning of the economy and society as a whole. The commencement of the Guidelines along with reform of PIAB represents an important opportunity to improve the situation. The Guidelines should have a dampening effect on the level of personal injuries awards which we know have been too high for too long.
Minister of State with responsibility for insurance Sean Fleming TD concluded: “I welcome today’s announcement by Minister McEntee. The commencement of the Personal Injuries Guidelines represents a key milestone in the insurance reform agenda and should have a positive impact by reducing costs, and in time, boosting competition in the Irish insurance market.
"I have been meeting with the main insurers in the Irish market this month to press the need for premium reductions in response to the implementation of the new Guidelines. The engagement to date has been positive, with all insurers indicating that they will begin to reduce premiums in response to these developments. This will continue to reinforce the trend whereby motor insurance premiums, as measured by the CSO, have reduced by about a third since their mid-2016 peak level.”