Sunday 20th November was World Day of Remembrance for the victims of road traffic accidents. I felt a significant frustration for the families of victims and those injured in accidents. Currently Insurance Companies are raising insurance premiums and they are trying to blame high awards given to victims and their legal costs. The reality is that in the current low interest rate and low bond yield environment, insurers can’t get enough of a return on their investments to generate huge profits so they penalise their customers by raising premiums.
Compensation is not enough
What is often lost in the media spin is the suffering (both physical and mental) that victims of accidents have to endure. The time off work without earnings, trying to pay a mortgage, going to doctors and physiotherapists over the next number of months/years has to be experienced to be believed. In recent years our office has taken several cases for victims who have achieved settlements or Court Judgments in excess of one million euro. In 2016 the highest award achieved by one of our clients was in excess of five million euro. Every one of these victims would rather, if given the chance, have their full health and enjoyment of life back over the compensation. Unfortunately this can’t happen. The money has to provide from their future care and loss of earnings.
The people who I empathise most with are the families of people killed in accidents. The insurance lobby have managed to keep in place a law that restricts the compensation for the emotional distress for family members to thirty five thousand euro. As a Solicitor it is very distressing to explain to parents of a deceased child that this is all the law allows for their suffering. In summary I believe people should have an open mind and accept that no one wants to be in an accident. When they are they should be justly compensated.