Rise in personal injury claims

Personal injuries claimants in Galway received a total of €2.5 million last year – the fourth highest total in the country.

The average award made in respect of 86 public liability claims was €28,515 – only the ninth highest average in the country, according to figures just revealed by the Injuries Board.

Nationally, the Injuries Board made 2,151 PL awards last year with corresponding compensation totalling €53m, compared to €44m in 2013 in respect of 1,768 awards.

Exactly half of public liability awards were for amounts under €20,000 with just ten awards related to high value claims in excess of €100,000.

The average public liability award decreased slightly to €24,677 last year, compared to €25,120 in 2013.

The figures reveal that the summer months are the most dangerous period for public place accidents that result in a personal injury claim.

Last year, July was the month that recorded the highest frequency of accidents resulting in compensation awards, while Saturday proved to be the most dangerous day of the week for public place personal injury accidents.

Figures over the last three years have consistently shown that women are far more likely than men to suffer an accident in a public place resulting in a public liability award. This gap narrowed slightly in 2014, with women now accounting for almost seven out of ten of all public liability awards, compared to 31.1% for men. The average award for men was €24,275 while women were awarded average compensation of €24,859.

Continuing the trend of recent years, slips, trips and falls were by far the main cause of public liability accidents, accounting for 70% of all PL awards. Uneven or broken pavements/footpaths, and wet or slippery floors/surfaces are the most common causes of slips, trips and falls.

The majority of such claims involved predominantly soft tissue injuries and minor fractures.

The analysis of public liability awards also indicated that shops, supermarkets and shopping centres are the top business premises for accidents that result in a public liability claim. Smaller numbers of accidents occur in nightclubs, bars, fast food outlets and restaurants.

The Injuries Board is the independent state body that makes statutory personal injury (PI) awards in respect of motor, employer and public liability accidents.

Personal injury claims are required to be submitted to the Board unless settled directly between parties. Public liability (PL) awards are made in respect of injuries suffered as a result of an accident in a public place.