People with life-changing injuries in Northern Ireland are being compensated far less than those in the rest of the UK as the wait continues for a change in how compensation is calculated, lawyers have said.
Hopes for early reform were dashed this week after the Assembly’s justice committee suggested there will be no change until the end of 2021 at the earliest.
“Compensation is calculated to meet an injured person’s needs,” said Oonagh McClure, executive committee member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). “That calculation has not been changed in Northern Ireland for many years, which means injured people here are being paid much less than injured people in England, Wales, and Scotland.
“The way the calculation is made in Northern Ireland means that catastrophically injured people have been taking, and must now continue to take bigger and bigger risks when investing their compensation to try to make the money last to meet their needs for the rest of their lives. They face losing their money, or running out of money.
“There won’t be a change anytime soon,” said Ms McClure.
“A review of the calculation is going to have to wait to be done under a new framework which could take a year at the very least to come into effect.”
“Vulnerable people with complex care needs, who have been through horrors most of us will thankfully never be able to comprehend, deserve the security and certainty which comes with full and fair compensation. They need to know they won’t face destitution if their money runs out,” Ms McClure said. “This continued delay is not justice.”