The average payout for victims of whiplash in Ireland over the first six months of 2018 was just over €20,000, according to new data released by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board.
The release of the data follows a recommendation made by the Personal Injuries Commission, which had found that compensation payments for whiplash in Ireland averaged 4.4 times more than similar injury claims in England and Wales.
The PIAB study considered 4,500 cases from Irish courts from January to June in which whiplash, defined as a soft-tissue injury to the upper back or neck caused by road traffic accidents, was involved in the claim. Among the findings to emerge from the study was that women are awarded slightly more on average in compensation for whiplash. Female claimants received an average of €20,472 and male claimants €19,586. The figures took into account both general damages (pain and suffering) and special damages, i.e. medical expenses and loss of earnings.
According to the study, whiplash was a factor in over 70 per cent of personal motor cases brought before Irish courts in the first six months of the year. Over 75 per cent of drivers who brought claims forward complained of suffering whiplash, while the figure for passengers was 69 per cent. The study found that personal injury claims which did not include whiplash were likely to receive higher compensation, with such cases being paid out €27,386 on average. The PIAB noted that this was likely because non-whiplash injuries are more likely to include fractures or other serious injuries.
The average figure for all personal injury motor cases considered in the study was €22,798, of which €20,472 was in general damages and €2,326 in special damages.
Ireland’s personal injury pay-out rates are considered among the most generous in Europe and have been criticised as being at a high risk of abuse because the risk of prosecution for fraudulent claims is practically non-existent. The PIAB regularly publishes data on personal injuries compensation cases but it does not have access to out-of-court settlements between claimants and insurance companies and has called for more such data to be made publicly available.