Lawyers share ‘grave concerns’ over personal injury report recommendations

Jody Cantillon

Jody Cantillon

Lawyers specialising in personal injury cases have voiced “grave concern” over the Personal Injuries Commission’s first recommendations to the Government.

A report presented to Cabinet yesterday recommends a standardised approach to the diagnosis, treatment and reporting of soft tissue injuries, the Irish Independent reports.

The commission, chaired by Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, also recommends that awards for injuries like whiplash should be linked to the severity of the injury, and doctors completing injury reports should be trained and accredited.

Jody Cantillon, associate solicitor at Cantillons Solicitors, told Irish Legal News: “Firstly, the basis for the Personal Injuries Commission seems to us to be flawed in that the rise in insurance premiums has nothing at all to do with personal injuries litigation.

“The rise in premiums relates to mismanagement by the insurers of their funds, or the lack of competition in the market, which allows insures to increase premiums.

“Secondly, the number of personal injuries cases commencing in the High Court seems to be falling, as opposed to rising.”

“We believe that such a Commission should be focusing on investigating ways to stop innocent people suffering injuries as a result of others’ negligence.”

Jody Cantillon

As for the report itself, Mr Cantillon said: “We are surprised at the Commission’s ‘recommendation’ that the sums awarded in whiplash claims should be linked to the severity of the condition. This is already the case, so there is nothing new there.

“We would have grave concerns about a standardised approach to the diagnosis, treatment and reporting of soft tissue injuries. No one person or injury is the same. The impact that a back injury might have on a new mother is different to the impact such an injury might have on a young man. A standardised approach would not take sufficient consideration of the individuals circumstances.

“The reason for the standardised approach is that it will, allegedly, improve the personal injuries environment here. What about the patient/victim? What about what is best for their treatment and care. There is too much emphasis on what is best for the insurance industry, all of whom all highly profitable companies.

“We believe that such a Commission should be focusing on investigating ways to stop innocent people suffering injuries as a result of others’ negligence.”