The High Court has made a very important decision clarifying how the Courts should approach the assessment of compensation awards.
In the Judgement delivered by the High Court on the 24th June 2016, Judge Cross, who is the Judge in charge of the personal injury division of The High Court, explained how the Courts should approach the assessment of damages in personal injury cases.
In delivering his judgement in the case of Donna Woods V Joseph Tyrell Junior the Judge in finding fully for Ms Woods awarded her a sum of general damages for pain to date at €80,000.00 with general damages of €40,000.00 for pain and suffering into the future. To that he added a sum of €14,000.00 for medication and medical expenses making a total award of €134,000.00.
Ms Woods was injured when she was struck with the mirror of a van while out jogging with a friend.
Judge Cross summarised a number of recent decisions made by The Court of Appeal relating to personal injury awards. He again confirmed that there were a number of relevant factors that a Judge should consider when assessing the level of general damages to be awarded to a successful Plaintiff :
- The award of damages must be proportionate,
- It must be fair to a Plaintiff and to a Defendant,
- It should be proportionate to social conditions bearing in mind the common good,
- It should be proportionate with the legal scheme of awards made for other personal injuries.
The Judge commented that in a number of recent decisions the Irish Court of Appeal had emphasised that modest claims should get modest damages, moderate claims should get moderate damages and serious injuries should get serious damages.
Commenting on this important decision, Liam Moloney, Personal Injury Solicitor, said today “this is a very helpful decision by the lead Personal Injury Judge in the Irish High Court. The Judge took considerable time to review the law both from the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal relating to the assessment of damages in personal injury claims. This decision will more than likely be followed by Judge’s in The High Court and Supreme Court and probably Court of Appeal when considering the level of damages to be awarded in future cases”.