Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
A not-for-profit organisation representing injured people

Change ‘desperately needed’ for injured people

22 Jun 2020
APIL news

Lawyers are calling on the justice minister to ensure proper compensation for people who suffer severe, life-changing injuries in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Justice has launched a consultation on how large personal injury compensation payments should be calculated for people who have life-long care and support needs.

“It is absolutely critical that the Department of Justice gets this right,” said Belfast-based lawyer Oonagh McClure from not-for-profit campaign group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). “Otherwise the impact on people who have been injured through no fault of their own could be catastrophic.”

“Compensation is calculated to take into account the returns injured people might get when they invest their money, and to ensure they receive the right amount of compensation – no more, no less,” Ms McClure explained

“A deduction is applied, called the ‘discount rate’, to make sure people don’t make too much money on their investment. But when the discount rate is too high, as it is currently, the consequences for people with severe injuries can be dire,” she said. “People face running out of money. They must take bigger and bigger risks when investing their compensation to try to make the money last for the rest of their lives.

“These are people who perhaps cannot walk anymore, or babies with brain damage suffered at birth, or people who need help with basic daily tasks.”

“In its new consultation paper, the Department of Justice considers that injured people should take bigger risks when investing their compensation,” explained Ms McClure.

“This is wholly unfair. Compensation is the only lifeline for people who rely on it to pay for their care for life. Most of them will never again be able to work to earn more money. The compensation is all they will ever have. They don’t want to take risks, and should not be forced to do so,” said Ms McClure.

“Northern Ireland is already lagging behind the rest of the UK, with a rate which hasn’t changed for nearly 20 years and is far too high. Injured people are being undercompensated. The need for the minister to get this right is desperate and urgent,” she added.

-ends-

Notes to editors:

  • Find the DoJNI consultation paper the personal injury discount rate: How should it be set? here.
  • APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) is a not-for-profit organisation whose members are dedicated to campaigning for improvements in the law to help people who are injured or become ill through no fault of their own.
  • For more information contact APIL's communications manager Jane Hartwell on t: 0115 943 5416, e: jane.hartwell@apil.org.uk, or press and communications officer Lizzy Freeman t: 0115 943 5431, e: lizzy.freeman@apil.org.uk.
  • Visit the association's website at www.apil.org.uk.
  • Follow @APIL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APIL.

Past press releases

Public wants ban on injury compensation calls and texts , 08 Sep 2021
Action needed now to stop the misery of needless injuries, 04 Aug 2021
Injury Prevention Week: it’s common sense!, 02 Aug 2021
Principle of openness 'undermined' by plans for patient safety probes, 14 Jul 2021
Seriously injured people are “not canny investors” hears justice committee, 10 Jun 2021
Whiplash injury compensation slashed, 03 Jun 2021
Government must act now on bereavement damages law, 14 May 2021
New leader calls for fairness for injured people , 14 May 2021

More past press releases

Head of Public Affairs
Lorraine Gwinnutt
0115 943 5400
lorraine.gwinnutt@apil.org.uk

Communications Manager
Jane Hartwell
0115 943 5416
jane.hartwell@apil.org.uk

Press & Communications Officer
Iman Anthony
0115 943 5431
iman.anthony@apil.org.uk