I wrote in more detail on this in an Articles posted to our website on the 6th November 2016, titled “The Revaluation of Injuries Compensation in Ireland”, where I summarized how the Court of Appeal in Ireland has put a brake on what were perceived to be excessive Compensations Awards made in the High Court. The Court of Appeal hears Appeals from the High Court. While I detailed a number of decisions of the Court of Appeal by way of example I propose to limit this BLOG to the principles enunciated by Ms Justice Irvine in the case of Shannon v Sullivan, where she detailed the matters which should be considered by the Court when assessing Compensation.
The yardstick by which compensation is assessed
At para 43 of her Judgment, Ms Justice Irvine summarized the issues which should be considered by the Trial Judge when assessing the severity of any given injury and the sum to be awarded by considering the answers to the following questions:
“(i) Was the incident which caused the injury traumatic, and if so, how much distress did it cause?
(ii) Did the plaintiff require hospitalisation, and if so, for how long?
(iii) What did the plaintiff suffer in terms of pain and discomfort or lack of dignity during that period?
(iv) What type and number of surgical interventions or other treatments did they require during the period of hospitalisation?
(v) Did the plaintiff need to attend a rehabilitation facility at any stage, and if so, for how long?
(vi) While recovering in their home, was the plaintiff capable of independent living? Were they, for example, able to dress, toilet themselves and otherwise cater to all of their personal needs or were they dependent in all or some respects, and if so, for how long?
(vii) If the plaintiff was dependent, why was this so? Were they, for example, wheelchair-bound, on crutches or did they have their arm in a sling? In respect of what activities were they so dependent?
(viii) What limitations had been imposed on their activities such as leisure or sporting pursuits?
(ix) For how long was the plaintiff out of work?
(x) To what extent was their relationship with their family interfered with?
(xi) Finally, what was the nature and extent of any treatment, therapy or medication required?”
When valuing injuries into the future, “the court must once again concern itself, not with the diagnoses or labels attached to a plaintiff’s injuries, but rather with the extent of the pain and suffering those conditions will generate and the likely effects which the injuries will have on the plaintiff’s future enjoyment of life”.
Medical Reports alone will not be enough
It is clear from the principles set out by Miss Justice Irvine that the Court should no longer be guided simply by the Medical Reports presented to the Court. Nor will the Medical Consultant`s stated prognosis be enough. The Court has a duty to look behind the Reports and review the claimant`s history by reference to the principles detailed above, and in particular assess what treatment, consistent with the complaints of symptoms, the Claimant has actually obtained.
This should lead to more consistency in Court Awards in the future.
Whether pursuing a Personal Injury Claim in Counties Monaghan or Cavan or anywhere else in the Republic of Ireland make sure to consult Morgan McManus Solicitors.
In contentious claims, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.