Court of Appeal Reduces Damages Award For Not Considering PI Guidelines

COLLINS -V- PARM & ORS | 2022 2006 P

The Court of Appeal has reduced a damages award, finding it “so disproportionate as to amount to an error of law.” Mr. Justice Seamus Noonan criticized the High Court judge for not considering the Personal Injury Guidelines, introduced in 2019 to standardize injury awards.

The High Court judge identified that her dominant injury was psychiatric and that her post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had upended almost every aspect of her life for many months, although the position has improved. He awarded €55,000 general damages for this and an “uplift” of €40,000 for her other injuries. The Defendants, insured by AXA Insurance, admitted partial liability but argued contributory negligence since Collins was not wearing a seatbelt. The High Court Judge found her 15% responsible for her injuries.

The Defendants appealed the High Court award, arguing it was excessive, inadequately explained and a departure from the 2019 Guidelines.

The original award of €99,162 was cut to €59,162 by the Appeal Court, with a further 15% reduction for contributory negligence, resulting in a final award of €50,287 to Courtney Collins. The Appeal Court noted that the Defendants had not referenced the Guidelines or comparative cases themselves.

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