In March 2012, RTE headlined personal injury claim awards by the Injuries Board for 2011 totalling €210 million.
In September 2012, RTE headlined the Injuries Board have received over 14,600 claims for the first 6 months of 2012. This amounts to a staggering 81 claims per day……………. every day………………. including weekends………….in just six months.
Very little is known about the make-up of the Injuries Board, they are a faceless organisation hidden away, only available on the telephone.
Their pioneer Dorothea Dowling promised a “lawyer free” zone and a “paper only system” for the processing of claims. Speed and efficiency were also promised (7 months to process a claim!) along with significant savings for the vested interests of the Insurance Industry.
These promises are hard to reconcile with the figures and reports now available. Notably the AA has reported a 3% rise in motor insurance premiums from January 2011 to February 2012. The cost of increasing claims caused by flooding and flood damage have yet to be factored in and will undoubtedly give rise to a further increase in premiums.
Equally these promises have certainly not been our experience for the last 8 years since the Injuries Board came into effect and which other articles on this web-site deal with.
The recent claim by Ms. Byron Chief Executive of the Injuries Board that it takes a mere 7 months to process a claim is grossly misleading for members of the public. According to the legislation which set up the Injuries Board, a respondent (i.e. the party at fault) has three months to answer a claim. Most take considerably longer. After this the Injuries Board can take up to at least 9 months to assess a claim and make an Assessment of Compensation. In our experience, submitting claims to the Injuries Board and receiving a “Notice of an Assessment” can take up to 18 months to two years.
Let’s take a closer look at the recent statements and figures which have been publicised by the Injuries Board and in particular the biased and unprofessional comments of Patricia Byron, Chief Executive where she indirectly accuses members of the public and the legal profession of “ambulance chasing” and “claims farming”.
Ms. Byron appears to be suggesting that it is the recession which has caused the rise in awards by the Injuries Board yet she claims there has not been “a matching increase in accidents”. These comments by Ms Byron simply do not add up. We would really like to know where she is getting her information from to make such a fundamentally broad statement?
What Ms. Byron fails to acknowledge is the fact that the Injuries Board is one of the biggest advertisers on-line for those seeking to pursue personal injury compensation claims. Their home page itself encourages members of the public to make personal injury claims. It invites members of the public to “Estimate Your Compensation” with a very elaborate diagram of a human skeleton!!
Significantly however, the Injuries Board home-page does not inform the public that only certain types of compensation claims will be dealt with. This means that members of the public will automatically submit all types of claims to the Injuries Board and they are actively encouraged to do so without the benefit of legal advice.
It is telling Ms. Byron has not put into the public domain the number of claims that have been rejected by the Injuries Board and more importantly the reasons why?????? Of the 14,600 claims submitted by members of the public to the Board in the first 6 months of 2012 it would be very interesting to know the experiences of these people, particularly those who are vulnerable and at the mercy of aggressive Insurance Company “Claims Handlers” who make uninvited house calls??? Are these vulnerable people being cheated out of fair and proper compensation?
We would like to know what the Injuries Board has done with the application fees submitted for the Thalidomide victims? Have they been reimbursed?
We would also like to know how the Injuries Board intends to deal with the 605 “De Puy hip replacement claims” which have been submitted and which clearly involve medical negligence issues which the Board are prohibited by law from dealing with?
So, PLEASE make up your mind Ms. Byron and PLEASE STOP misleading members of the public as to what the Injuries Board is really about, what it does and who it represents. It is after all a state body, set up at the behest of the Insurance Industry and Government funded.
At C. M. Haughey Solicitors we deal with all types of personal injury accident claims and employment law issues. Our service is confidential, specialist and we have a policy of no obligation. We advocate that anyone who has suffered a personal injury or has been subjected to unfair employment conditions and believes they may have an entitlement to compensation should have the benefit of independent expert legal advice.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article, please contact our principal solicitor Ms. Caoimhe Haughey who will be happy to answer any queries. We would also encourage you to view the other articles on our web-site that show our areas of experience and expertise.
Caoimhe Haughey 4th October 2012