Challenge of new injury award policy dismissed

The High Court has dismissed a test challenge aimed at overturning personal injury award guidelines.

The guidelines have reduced payouts for such claims by up to 40 percent.

Judge Charles Meenan yesterday dismissed all grounds for challenge, including claims that the new guidelines are unconstitutional and an interference with the independence of the judiciary.

The ruling has significant implications for the assessment of personal injury claims.

Many similar lawsuits were also filed against the guidelines, and these lawsuits had been awaiting the outcome of the test case.

Test action was taken by Bridget Delaney of Dungarvan in Co Waterford against the State and the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB).

At the heart of the case was a March 2021 vote by the Judiciary Council, the body made up of all the state’s judges, to approve the new guidelines.

PIAB, the government agency that awards personal injuries, and the state had opposed the lawsuit.

In her judicial review process, Ms. Delaney had sought orders overturning the PIAB’s assessment of her claim and the March 2020 decision of the Judiciary Council to enact the new Personal Injury Guidelines.

Mr Judge Meenan dismissed Ms Delaney’s claims that her rights had been violated and he also found that PIAB had acted under the relevant provisions of the PIAB Act 2003 when assessing her claim for personal injury.

He said Ms Delaney’s constitutional rights to property and physical integrity and equality “do not include a right to a specified amount of damages, but rather a right to have her damages assessed in accordance with established principles of law.”

Applying these principles means that the amount of damage varies over time, he added.

He said there are clear and established principles for awarding general damages.

Robert Troy, Junior Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation and responsible for the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, welcomed the ruling.

Mr Troy said the guidelines had brought much-needed coherence and transparency to personal injury awards.

The Alliance for Insurance Reform said it is now up to lawyers, plaintiffs, insurers and the judiciary to respect court guidelines. Challenge of new injury award policy dismissed

Fry Electronics Team

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