It was envisaged by InjuriesBoard.ie that the Book of Quantum would become the definitive statement of damages in personal injuries claims. It is advertised on their website, as a tool to enable people without the aid of a personal injury solicitor, to assess the value of their claim. What InjuriesBoard.ie does not do is highlight the dangers of proceeding without legal representation and the inadequacies of the Book of Quantum. For example a soft tissue injury to the wrist can range between €15,500-€70,100 as per the Book of Quantum. So just how is the injured person, without years of legal knowledge and personal injury cases experience, supposed to know what is adequate settlement for their injury?
The InjuriesBoard.ie falls short warning of the dangers of not obtaining solicitor’s advice. For example, the information provided to lodge the application is often used by Insurance Companies in Court Proceedings against the injured party. The Insurers may suggest that the victims were trying to mislead the court, by not providing certain details in the Injuries Board application. Often, the details in question are not even required in the application process but regardless the Insurers will try impress upon the court that the victim was trying to mislead the court- this is a common ploy of the insurers. Despite this, InjuriesBoard.ie does not advise the injured party that advice from a solicitor is in their best interests. Why would they, when they can strike a better deal with the victim, who is not represented and inexperienced in personal injury law?
Injuries Board.ie is essentially a tool of the Insurance companies, although it is a government body. Insurance companies will have solicitors, the people injured in accidents should also have the same representation. It seems most unjust that while the InjuriesBoard.ie is allowed advertise that victims should proceed without legal representation, the legal profession is not allowed advertise the pitfalls of proceeding without legal representation.
The Book of Quantum has been criticised heavily by Judges in Ireland. Budd J. in McFadden v Wier said he had “considerable reservations about the usefulness of the Book of Quantum as so much depends on one’s assessment of the personality of the individual Plaintiff and how devastating the effect of the particular injuries has been on such person with the relevant particular circumstances and character”. This is knowledge that is acquired by Solicitors over several years in practice as well as several years in training. Yet why do the Injuries Board insist that people are in a position to adequately advise themselves. It is clear that the Injuries Board does not have the interest of the injured party in mind- the whole system is rigged in favour of the insurer.
As David Nolan, Senior Counsel, said in July 2009, The Book of Quantum is “a book of lies and is a tragedy to the legal profession.”