Value of Compensation Awards in Ireland Increases

The Irish Independent has printed a report which shows that the value of compensation awards in Ireland has increased by 22% in comparison to last year. 

The Irish Independent has released information today that shows the value of compensation awards in Ireland saw an increase of 22 percent in the period between January and June of 2014 in comparison to the same period in 2013. €144 million was paid out in compensation for the first six months of this year. The increase is attributable to an increase in claims received during 2013, and those claims being resolved early 2014.

Conor Pope-the Irish Independent correspondent responsible for the story-has written that the overall number of claims for compensation has actually decreased from the 2013 numbers this year, and he speculates that this is due to the economic recovery of the country. The report also states that the average value of compensation in Ireland is €22,000. Claims involving motor accidents account for 75 percent of the total amount of claims received. 

The Irish Times have released a similar report which analysed the increase in compensation awards in Ireland, and where they came from. Their reporter-Brian Byrne-identified a year-on-year increase in public liability claims of 30 percent, motor liability claims of 24 percent and employer liability claims of 10 percent.

Brian Byrne also reported that approximately 40 percent of personal injury claims which are settled directly between claimants and insurers. He reported that insurance companies should make public compensation awards in Ireland that are settled "behind closed doors" in order that there is visibility on competitiveness, premiums and on false or exaggerated claims.

Both reports fail to express concerns about "third party capture", in which insurance companies try to lowball accident victims with inappropriate settlements of compensation before the victim even has the chance of speaking with a solicitor. Negotiations "on the steps of the High Court" have also become increasingly common, particularly with claims against the HSE. 

A solution for the lack of visibility of compensation awards has been suggested. If there were a register base on the government's new "Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme"-launched in August-insurance companies would have to obtain a certificate of benefits from the Department of Social Protection before settling any injury compensation claims. It would not be difficult for the department to then compile data regarding the actual value of compensation awards in Ireland.