Book of Quantum*
What is the Book of Quantum?
In legal terms, Quantum means the required amount that could be paid to you in compensation if you suffer an injury.
The first book of Quantum was published in 2004 when the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) was set up, and is now known as The Injuries Board.
Until this year, these figures had never been updated, but a new version of the book has been finalised and will be published in the New Year.
The PAIB assesses compensation payments based on the principles that courts have historically relied upon, with legislation ensuring that claims are assessed uniformly depending upon the type of injury.
The amounts in the book are based upon awards made by the courts or paid out by insurance companies in 2003.
How does the Book of Quantum work?
In the book, it advises that the following steps should be followed when attempting to value your claim.
Identify the category of injury.
Understand the severity of the injury.
Look up the value range.
Consider the effect of multiple injuries.
Category of injury
There are four categories of injury-
neck, back and trunk
These categories are then given levels of severity, although the book does note that similar injuries can have different effects of different people.
Severity of the injury
The levels of severity as listed in the book are-
Serious and permanent conditions
The level of severity will have an impact on the amount of compensation you receive.
If you have multiple injuries, you cannot simply add up the amounts that appear in the book for each one, and expect to receive that amount. The most severe injury will form the basis of your claim with the others causing a minor adjustment in the amount of compensation you receive.
Problems with the book
One of the main problems with the book is that it can lead to claimants having either unrealistic expectations of how much they are due, or that due to the broad range of values in each category, claimants will be unsure where they fall on the scale.
It is important to take the advice of your solicitor when it comes to the level of compensation expected, as the book can sometimes be vague and a bit misleading.
The Book of Quantum and the courts
The book is used by the courts as a guide, but they do not have to strictly abide by the amounts specified. Judges must “have regard” to the book, but the personal circumstance of the claimant can also have an effect on the amount of damages awarded. In many recent cases, Judges have disregarded the book due to it being a decade old.
In the 2014 case of Tevlin v. McArdle and MIBI, Judge Cross stated that the book is not specific enough to cover every possible type of injury, and that it cannot be used as a guide any longer because it fails to take into account inflation since 2004.
The Book of Quantum
A copy of The Book of Quantum is available at http://www.injuriesboard.ie/eng/Forms-Guidelines/Book-of-Quantum.pdf
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.