How much compensation for amputations should accident victims get? I looked up the Book of Quantum after losing a hand in a work accident and it says “up to 142,000 Euros”. I am 25 years old and that amount of compensation for amputations would not cover my salary for six years. Is this right?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

How much compensation for amputations should accident victims get? I looked up the Book of Quantum after losing a hand in a work accident and it says “up to 142,000 Euros”. I am 25 years old and that amount of compensation for amputations would not cover my salary for six years. Is this right?

Answer:

Any reference to compensation for amputations in the Book of Quantum relates only to the pain and suffering you experienced at the time of the car crash in relation to the nature and severity of the injury you sustain. The introduction to the Book of Quantum states that “A claimant may also be entitled to claim under other headings for actual financial losses” and in addition to this, you should also be able to claim compensation for amputations in respect of the deterioration in your quality of life you experience due to the loss of a hand.

Consequently, if you are aged 25 and are unable to find employment because of the loss of a hand, you should include with your application for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland proof of past earnings and complete the “Special Damages” section of the application where it asks you how much compensation for amputations you are claiming in respect of loss of wages.

You will need to have this figure calculated by an accountant and justified, or else the Injuries Board Ireland´s assessment of your amputation compensation claim may be rejected by the respondent and you will have to go to court to obtain an adequate settlement. Settlements of compensations for amputations are not subject to tax – so you should enter your net loss of earnings, rather than your pre-tax salary – but they do take into account any injury benefit or disablement benefit you receive from the Department of Social Protection.

When you complete the application for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland, you also need to explain how the loss of a hand has affected your quality of life and your lack of ability to perform day-to-day tasks. There is very little space given on the application form (either the paper or online format) to claiming for your obvious “loss of amenity” and it is advisable to seek professional legal advice on how to account for the deterioration in your quality of life when making a claim for compensation for amputations.

Ideally you should seek professional legal advice on completion of all the application for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland considering the gravity of your injury and the substantial compensation settlement that may result. To make an error on the application could result in a significant reduction in compensation for amputations and once you have accepted the Injuries Board Ireland´s assessment, you cannot go back and ask for more should it prove to be inadequate.