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  • Writer's pictureDavid Kieran

Revealed: The county that leads the way for most personal injuries awards

Limerick has emerged as the county with the highest number of personal injuries awards per capita.

The county is top of the list by some distance, followed by Longford and then Louth.

Limerick claimants received proportionally more awards at the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) than any other county in Ireland.

The figures relate to the 10-year period from 2007 to 2016 and are based on a six-month research project by 'RTÉ Investigates'.

The statistics show that residents of Limerick got 388 injury awards from the PIAB for every 10,000 people during this period.

This is more than three times the number of the lowest county, Kilkenny, which received just 122 awards.

The average number of awards for all counties was 207.

A State body, the PIAB decides the value of a personal injury claim where liability is undisputed. The majority of claims taken to the PIAB relate to alleged road traffic collisions.

The PIAB was set up to process claims quickly and cheaply without the need for cases to be heard in the courts. It generally does not pay legal fees.

The RTÉ data shows dramatic variations across counties, suggesting that in certain counties there is a strong claims culture.

There was also a high level of awards paid out in Longford, Louth, Dublin and Tipperary.

Insurance Ireland, the representative group for insurers, said the research shows personal injury costs are becoming more expensive.

According to the research, there was a 42pc rise in the number of applications to the PIAB in the 10-year period.

The number of applications rose from just over 23,000 to more than 33,000.

Kevin Thompson, of Insurance Ireland, said that even after adjusting for population growth over that period, this was an increase of 26pc in terms of applications per capita.

He said the data shows that there was a 50pc rise in the number of personal injury cases lodged in the High Court and the Circuit Court.

"There can be no doubt now that the increasing costs of personal injury claims are having severe societal impacts including on individuals, businesses and local authorities," he said.

To address the issue, he said there was a need for the benchmarking of Irish awards with other countries by the Personal Injuries Commission, to be followed up by a decisive policy response.

He said a minor finger fracture could result in an award of only around €4,700 in the UK, but is potentially worth up to €16,600 in Ireland.

Ultimately, the growing cost of personal injury claims is not sustainable and is a major societal issue which must be addressed by Government as a matter of priority, Mr Thompson said.

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