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Periodic Payment Orders Update

16 January 2013
Category: Legal Updates

 The Government’s approval meets a commitment to reform the law in this area as outlined in the Programme for Government.

The Minister noted that "there has been much debate in recent years as to the appropriateness and adequacy of lump sum awards in cases of catastrophic injury. Assessing damages in such cases is difficult given the uncertainties affecting assumptions made as to the person’s future circumstances and issues such as investment returns and inflation rates.

The danger with the lump sum approach, which is the current method of assessing damages in such cases, is that it can lead to situations where a person is over-compensated or under-compensated. Under the lump sum approach there is no recourse for a plaintiff who may exhaust his fund by exceeding his life expectancy perhaps owing to advances in medical science. Similarly, there is no recourse to a defendant where the plaintiff dies before the time originally projected and the remainder of the lump sum becomes, in effect, a windfall for his or her family.

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