Personal Injury Legal Costs & Rising Car Insurance Premiums: 4 Myths Busted!

by | Jan 11, 2017 | Personal Injury


Only days into the New Year and once again news headlines are focused on rising insurance premium costs.

As the real causes of rising car cover costs are at last being laid at the door of the Irish insurance industry itself, it is now time to finally bust some of the myths still being put forward by their PR machine.

Myth #1: “It’s the higher legal costs in Ireland which are causing the rise in premiums”

In Court proceedings, whoever wins the case gets an award of costs in their favour. So, if you win your case, you win your legal costs (well, most of them).

In my own firm (and solicitor firms generally), it is usual practice to assess a claim at the outset and if we deem it unlikely to be successful, we advise our clients not to bring the case and we will not accept a retainer to bring a case that we believe is a clear loser.

We do not believe putting our clients at risk under any circumstances for a case that is likely to be unsuccessful and just result in a needless bill of tens of thousands of euro.

Without proper legal advice, the uninitiated need to be wary, as suing for a case, can cost you more than what the case is worth. Underlying all the advice that we give is our knowledge as to what constitutes a likely successful claim, in other instances accidents are just accidents and there may be no one to blame. (In my own firm’s case, it is knowledge gained from our experience of defending such cases that provides an added insight here).

Myth #2: “Awards for personal injuries are higher in Ireland than across Europe”

It was a perceived crisis around High Court awards of compensation that led to the establishment of the Injuries Board back in 2004. This was on the back of much published pronouncements by the Insurance sector that awards were too high as were associated legal costs. Government concerns at the time reacted by setting up the Injuries Board much to the delight of the insurance industry!

To address this the Book of Quantum was introduced and the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 required that the Court in assessing damages in a personal injuries action must have regard to same. This Book of Quantum was updated in 2016 as the same had become outdated as was frequently commented upon by the judiciary.

However, the insurance industry is still not happy! It is important to remember, that insurance companies do not exist to pay out compensation; they exist to make profits. At the same time if they were no claims there would be insurance companies.

The rise in premiums now reflects the fact that for the last many years during the recession, people could not afford insurance and stopped buying that insurance which they didn’t have to have e.g. life cover, buildings insurance, public and employers’ liability etc.

Indeed, as the report from the RSA published recently shows thousands have also stopped buying car insurance, even though it is compulsory.

In addition, the insurance companies, like the banks, kind of lost the run of themselves and entered a price war with each trying to outbid the other as to how low a premium they could offer. Two companies in particular felt the brunt of this: Setanta and Enterprise insurance went bust, leaving thousands of motorists stranded.

Myth #3: Injuries Board assessments of compensation are frequently deemed inadequate and rejected by lawyers just to increase legal costs.”

When the Injuries Board make an Assessment, both sides (the claimant and the defendant) have time allotted to either accept or reject the Assessment. From a review of the Injuries Board 2015 Annual Report, they record that of 11,734 awards made, 6716 were accepted thus being an acceptance rate of approximately 58%, i.e. 42% of Assessments are rejected.

The insurance companies can reject Assessments…and they often do!  They do not have to give reasons, in such event simply a permission issues (called an Authorisation) to allow the case proceed to Court.

Clearly in such instances this is an indicator that liability is likely to be contested if the case proceeds to Court and 9 to 18 months after the accident is very late to commence retrospectively to gather evidence in your case.

This is one of the main reasons why most claimants seek legal advice before proceeding to the Injuries Board i.e. to protect their position and in order that someone is safeguarding them while they go through what is often a lengthy and bureaucratic process.

Clearly there are cases where a claimant rejects the Assessment. This is because it is too low or because ongoing and future suffering or expense have not been considered.

It is generally upon legal advice that the Assessment might be considered too light and that a Court would award a higher amount. It could also be that a claimant’s injuries have not yet settled to the extent that a long-term prognosis as to recovery is available (in which case it would be ill-advised to conclude a case where you cannot yet assess the long-term loss sustained).

Myth #4: “There’s no penalty to not accepting an Award made by the Injuries Board.”

Oh but no, there is! Only yesterday, I heard this mentioned on the radio as an explanation as to why solicitors zealously advise clients to reject an Assessment from the Injuries Board.

However, the improper rejection of an Injuries Board Award is not without risk of serious penalty.

Section 51A of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2007, provides that where an Assessment is rejected by a claimant (having been accepted by a defendant), and the amount of the Assessment is not exceeded in Court proceedings or an agreed settlement then;

  • – No award of costs may be made to the claimant
  • – The Court may exercise its discretion to award costs against the claimant (i.e. that the Claimant pays the defendants legal costs as well as their own), a very hefty penalty indeed.

In summation, insurance companies won’t admit that the rising premium is caused by their flawed business model. It’s much easier to blame you! For more information and help get in touch with our personal injury solicitors here.


Sergey Sk
Sergey Sk
I was looking for a family law consultation and asked Carmody Moran for one. Unfortunately, they didn't have the capacity, but at least they were nice enough to call me back and reply by email.So the very least you can expect from these specialists is the right attitude (unlike from many others out there on the market), but likely a lot more!
Madeleine N
Madeleine N
We recently engaged Carmody Moran Solicitors for the purchase of our home, on receiving a recommendation for Caila Ryan specifically. Caila and the team were a pleasure to deal with. Caila was incredibly responsive, efficient and diligent throughout the process. As first time buyers, Caila explained all steps clearly and concisely to us, which eased our stress. Caila and the team went above and beyond for us - and accommodated ad hoc meetings when required. We highly recommend Caila and the team at Carmody Moran.
Aditya Labhe
Aditya Labhe
Caila was nothing but helpful throughout the process of me buying a new apartment. She is diligent, helpful and has great attention to detail. She was patient with me with all the questions and ensured the process was as through as possible from all the legalities stand point. A true champion for her clients. I have no hesitation recommending her.
Jodie Osullivan
Jodie Osullivan
I had an absolutely fantastic experience with my solicitor! Their hard work and dedication were truly impressive. They went above and beyond to help me with my legal matters. I couldn't have asked for a better advocate. Highly recommended!
Very professional experienced solicitors and legal team in Blanchardstown Dublin 15. Anthony Carmody and Niamh Moran run a friendly and efficient practice, supported by a great legal practice team. From commercial to property law, both residential or commercial Conveyancing in Dublin to Estate Planning or Litigation and Family Law, this legal firm ranks as one of the best legal firms in the area. I found Anthony to be very astute and knowledgeable in our discussions about Litigation. His legal advice made me rethink my actions and helped me settle an issue without any unnecessary actions or outlays.
I recently engaged with Carmody Moran Solicitors for the purchase of my new home. Caila and team were incredibly helpful throughout the whole process, ensuring I was kept up to date and promptly responded to any queries I had raised. I was particularly impressed at how diligent and efficient Caila was in ensuring the purchase went as smooth as possible. Would highly recommend them for their Legal services.
Aedamar O'Toole
Aedamar O'Toole
Carmody Moran Solicitors exceeded all expectations as a Solicitor. Caila was an absolute pleasure to deal with from start to finish. She is exceptionally professional, organised and responsive. We needed her service in buying a house. She made sure that we were in the best position to make the transaction and was extremely thorough and intelligent in her work. She helped us secure the house before another interest rate hike. She went above and beyond as a solicitor and I couldn’t recommend her enough!
Louise O'Dwyer
Louise O'Dwyer
I recently had the pleasure of engaging Carmody Moran Solicitors for the purchase of my new home. I found Caila and the team to be extremely professional, efficient and they kept the whole process moving along smoothly at all times. Everything was explained to me at each stage in the process in a clear and concise manner. I would highly recommend Carmody Moran Solicitors to anyone for quality legal services.
Luke Ivers
Luke Ivers
Caila at carmody Moran is an absolute pleasure to deal with. Always attentive and always keeping you update. Caila took a lot of the stress out of the leg work having everything ready and constantly in contact with us. Would recommend Carmody Moran to anyone. They're all lovely to deal with and so helpful.
John Corr
John Corr
We recently engaged with Carmody Moran Solicitors for a property purchase. From start to finish I found their service to be highly efficient and accommodating at all times . Caila in their office was very pleasant to deal with . I would highly recommend them to anyone in the future.
Laura Butler
Laura Butler
Absolutely fantastic, I would highly recommend. Prompt responses, clear and helpful communication, very diligent, and absolutely lovely to deal with. Caila is a star. Even my estate agent was full of praise!
Aileen Power
Aileen Power
Carmody Moran recently helped me with the sale of my home. Niamh, Caila and all the team were fantastic to deal with from start to finish. They explained everything so clearly, were extremely professional, efficient and always responded promptly. On top of that they were just such a friendly group of people to deal with. I would highly recommend them.
The client service was really great. Understanding, easy to deal with and reactive
Joe Marsh
Joe Marsh
We recently closed on a first time house purchase and we were very pleased with how the whole process was handled at Carmody Moran. They always responded clearly and promptly to the many queries I had along the way and were on the ball with following up issues with the sellers solicitors to keep the process moving.The reason I went with them originally over other options was because they gave a very clear breakdown for the charges and the quoted price we were given was transparent and easy to understand compared to other quotes I received.I will definitely use them again if the need arises and recommend them to my friends and family.
Kenneth Ohaa
Kenneth Ohaa
I got the keys to my new house a few weeks back. I cannot recommend Carmody Moran Solicitors highly enough. It was a bit lengthy as I was buying and selling at the same time. In such cases you need experienced and competent solicitors such as Carmody Moran Solicitors.Stephanie and Helen were a pleasure to work with. Very transparent and communicative. Also occasionally dealt with Lucy and Caila. They were brilliant as well.I would like to say Thank you to the entire Carmody Moran team.Kenneth
Salt Almighty
Salt Almighty
I needed a solicitor to arrange a mortgage, and they went above and beyond to help me !I would advise them to anyone
Andrew Grime
Andrew Grime
My partner and I recently made the acquisition of our first home and it was a lengthy and difficult process, due to the fact we were buying from a receiver.In such difficult cases, you will need a legal representation as competent and professional as Carmody Moran Solicitors on your side.We were primarily dealing with Stephanie who gave us regular updates, helped us understand what is happening and what to do. We felt our interest always came first which made every appointment with her something we looked forward to.We were also occasionally in contact with Lucy, Niamh and other brilliant members of the firm, all of whom provided an excellent level of support and knowledge in Stephanie's absence.I couldn't recommend Carmody Moran enough. I would like to give a heartfelt thank-you on behalf of myself and my partner to every one involved at the firm who helped us make our dream a reality. We will not hesitate to call upon your services again should the occasion arise.Andrew.
I would highly recommend Carmody Moran Solicitors. Niamh Moran and her team helped and supported me through the sale of my home. The transaction was dealt with efficiently and quickly. Every step was clearly explained from the Sale Questionnaire, Contract for Sale to Completion.
We just got the keys to our dream home 🏡 special thanks to Stephanie,Helen,Caila and Carmody Moran team.All the girls are very friendly and helpful.Stephanie was a pleasure to have you as our solicitor.Highly recommend!
We've just got the keys to our dream home and Carmody Moran has helped us with all the legal work. We've been dealing with Stephanie and Helen and they both have been great: friendly, professional and communicative. The whole process can be intimidating at times, but they've made sure to make it as easy as possible for us. They've represented us well. Highly recommended.
ciara daly
ciara daly
Anthony and his team went above and beyond for me, everything was always looked after and I was constantly kept in the loop for my RTA case. From phone calls to emails to dealing with insurers. Gave me great peace of mind that I chose the right solicitor and Anthony himself is a gentleman. I would highly recommend Carmody Moran Solicitors.
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