The Irish Independent recently reported an increase in claims of 5% since last year and an increase of 25% since 2007. The Injuries Board revealed almost 29,000 people made a claim last year.
Chief Executive Officer of the Board, Patricia Byron, took to the airways to inform the public of these facts. She has painted the increase in compensation claims in as negative a light as possible instead of accepting that in the vast majority of cases it is simply a case of injured persons being awarded what they are entitled to.
She trots out the pro insurance mantra of a “claims culture” which is costing us money.
The Injuries Board was set up in 2004 by the Government as an independent neutral body to assess claims for compensation for anyone who has been in an accident and suffered an injury.
The main concern in setting up the Board was to reduce the need for litigation and keep cases out of the courts system and thereby reduce costs.
As I understood it, the idea in establishing the Board was to help to streamline the claims process making compensation more accessible for those who have been injured.
One of the hallmarks of the system should be that the Board is independent and should do its job without taking sides.
The two sides have differing interests – the claimant to maximise the claim and the insurer to minimise the claim.
How can the Board be independent by discouraging people from making lawful claims or suggesting that those who do make claims are creating a “claims culture”?
This latest publicity from the Injuries Board is patently one sided and obviously aimed at discouraging claims.
The Injuries Board prides itself on the fact that in the majority of cases it deals with it is not necessary to instruct a solicitor to pursue a personal injury claim and claimants can deal directly with the Board.
I would not be comfortable dealing with an independent body that was so blatantly one sided in its publicity and which viewed my claim as in some way undeserving.
This type of one sided approach makes it all the more important for people to have independent advice which is outside the Injuries Board.
We would strongly recommend that any person proposing to make any application to the Injuries Board firstly seek legal advice.