FOR the fifth year in a row Limerick has had the highest number of personal injury awards per capita in the State.
The latest annual report, for 2014, by Injuries Board Ireland, shows that based on population the figures give Limerick the dubious distinction of leading the country in claims.
There were 953 awards made in Limerick last year, the third highest in the country after Dublin, which recorded 3,909 awards, and Cork, which had 1,233 awards.
The board’s annual report showed that 50 awards per 10,000 people were made in Limerick last year, 24 above the state average. The gap has widened between Limerick and all other counties over the past five years.
In terms of the percentage of awards made nationally, Dublin claimed 32.1%, Cork accounted for 10.2%, and thirdly Limerick at 7.9%.
Last year the board made 12,420 awards for compensation to the value of €281.21 million, a 16% increase on 2013. The average sum awarded was €22,642.
The increase was attributed to increased volumes of claims made in 2013 which were assessed during 2014, “significant productivity improvements year on year and increased use of the board’s model by respondents/insurers, whereby respondents/insurers are consenting in greater numbers to the assessment of cases by the Board.”
Last year, 75% (9,328) of the number of all awards were in respect of motor cases, while eight per cent (941) related to employer’s liability and 17% (2,151) related to public liability. This split remained unchanged from 2013.
Kilkenny had the lowest awards rate over the same period, while Longford had the largest rise in awards rate over a single year.
Awards in Kilkenny were just 50 per cent of the national average for 2014, with a rate of 13 per 10,000 people. In Longford which had the largest single year increase, the number of awards jumped by 44 per cent last year.
The board stated that it has faced a significant number of challenges since its establishment, including some 31 judicial reviews over their first 10 years in existence. The board has made over 80,000 awards since 2005 with a value exceeding €1.8 billion to date.