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29 June 2010 Publishes Research on Public Liability Awards publishes research on Public Liability Awards

  • 1443 pl awards total €33million in 2009
  • Females account for 7 of every 10 pl awards in ireland
  • Slips, trips and falls cause most pl accidents

The total value of public liability [‘PL’] Awards made by in 2009 was €33m.  Females accounted for 72% of the 1443 PL awards during this period – over twice as many (2.5 times) as males.   This is a direct reversal of data for workplace accidents where females account for just over a quarter (26%) of awards (Table 1)

Just over half (51%) of the accidents under review took place in privately owned establishments (Table 2) – with one in four (25%) occurring in a retail/shopping outlet, one in five (19%) in a hotel/pub/nightclub or restaurant and 7% in leisure facilities like sports clubs/gyms and cinemas. Almost a quarter of PL awards (24%) were made against Local Authorities and a further 8% involved transport and utility services.

This is the second comprehensive Review of accidents occurring in public places published by the Board and the findings for 2009 are consistent with the trends identified in 2007 and 2008.

Commenting, Patricia Byron, Chief Executive, said: “These Reviews provide a significant insight into the causes of accidents and the sectors or locations which pose the greatest risk.  The findings are especially valuable to Health and Safety professionals in their risk assessments and enable scarce resources to be focused on the most critical areas.  Even during difficult economic times, investing in accident prevention can save money for organisations that enjoy a significant public footfall on their property. Of course, consumers must also take responsibility for accident prevention and be vigilant to the risks they face” Ms Byron said.

In summary, the research indicates:

  • Causes:Slips, trips and falls account for two thirds (65%) of personal injuries in a public place.   Other causes included being struck by a falling or flying object (9%), being injured by machinery (4%), burns/scalding (3%) and food poisoning (1%).  (Table 3)
  • Award Value: The total value of PL Awards made by in 2009 was €33m.  The average PL award in the period was €23,143.  This was just marginally up (1%) on the average awards over 2007/8 of €22,865.  Over half the awards (57%) were for amounts of less than €20,000 - typically sprains, bruises, fractures and lacerations.  (Table 7)
  • Injury type: A review of the types of injuries sustained indicates that many accident victims sustain at least two injuries.  Sprains (42%) are the most common injury, followed by fractures (33%), bruising (32%) and lacerations (20%).  (Table 4)
  • Age:People of all ages can be the victim of an accident (Table 5), but in general, as people get older the risk rises.  Just under half of all awards went to persons over 45, even though they account for just one third of the population.
  • Region:The geographic spread of claimants across the country (Table 6) shows that the highest percentage of awards went to Dublin and Munster, both getting 34%, followed by the Rest of Leinster at 22% and Connaught/Ulster at 10%.   On a per head of population basis residents in Dublin and Munster are 22% and 21% more likely to receive an award than in other regions.
  • Administration:One in six (17%) of all awards made by related to Public Liability.  The average processing time of 7 months was four times faster than the prior adversarial system, with a substantially lower administration cost. Since 2004, all personal injury claims in Ireland (excluding medical negligence) must be processed through

Concluding her remarks, Ms Byron said: “ is delivering €100m in savings each year, compared with the prior adversarial system.  We believe that improved accident prevention measures can deliver substantial additional savings as well as facilitating lower insurance premia for consumers and for business”.