Damages for pain and suffering in personal injury claims have been cut by up to 50% in a number of recent Court of Appeal decisions.
The Court of Appeal decision in Payne v Nugent, delivered in November 2015, signalled the first indication of a new trend in the level of personal injuries awards in modest injury cases. The case concerned a plaintiff who suffered moderate shoulder, neck and back injuries in a road traffic accident. The Court reduced the High Court award for general damages (damages for pain and suffering) by 46%, from €65,000 to €35,000.
General damages were again reduced by 46%, from €120,000 to €65,000 in Nolan v Wirenski. This case also concerned a road traffic accident in which the plaintiff suffered modest injuries to her shoulder, thumb and hand.
In a third road traffic accident case, Shannon v O’Sullivan, a couple who suffered modest injuries to their necks and adverse psychological effects, saw their High Court award halved, from €130,000 to €65,000.