The government has approved a plan that will see personal injuries awards reviewed as part of an 18-month plan.
To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this. Yes, insurance premiums are a big problem for businesses but members of the public who have been injured are presented with a big problem too!
At present, personal injury awards are decided by reference to the Book of Quantum which enables solicitors to consider payments that have been made in the past for injuries similar to those suffered by their clients. As such, it’s a very useful resource and provides an opportunity to take an overall view on injuries – so if someone breaks a leg and suffers soft tissue injuries then a decision can be made based on the likely sum to be awarded for both injuries.
Part of the government’s plan involves replacing the Book of Quantum with guidelines that will assess the “appropriate” level of personal injury awards. So we’ll have to wait and see what changes these guidelines will bring.
One of the biggest problems with this whole area is the widespread belief that personal injury awards have spiraled out of control. While this may have been the case in the past, the use of the Book of Quantum has really helped to bring some clarity to the area.
There are also plans to put perjury on a statutory footing by increasing the powers of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. This is intended to make it easier to prosecute, although whether this aim actually comes to pass remains to be seen.
We’re told that the government will consider future their plan over the next few months. During that time they’ll have to take into account the needs of genuine claimants, many of whom will be left with permanent scars from their injuries – whether physical or psychological.
Everyone wants a balance, but it’s important to keep things in perspective and protect the rights of claimants while also acknowledging the need to keep insurance premiums at a manageable level.
Want to read more about the Book of Quantum? You can access the Book on the PIAB website here.