The Personal Injuries Assessment Board says that it awarded €181m to 8,208 claimants last year. The value of awards was up 57%, while the number of awards was 47% higher from the previous year.

Unveiling its annual report today, the PIAB said that claims were assessed four times faster last year, with an average of two years being knocked off the average assessment time.

The average award the PIAB gave out was €22,057, while the award range was from €1,000 to €620,383. 91% of awards were below €38,000, which the PIAB said reflected the fact that most personal injury claims are of low to medium severity. This excludes medical negligence cases.

The PIAB was set up in 2004 with the aim of allowing certain classes of personal injury claim to be settled without the need for the costs associated with the courts.

During the year, 30,000 personal injury claims arose, according to the PIAB. 7,000 were of a non-complex nature and resolved between the parties, while 23,000 were formally registered with the board. Another 7,000 of these were found to be outside the board's remit.

Of the 16,000 cases left, 81% were resolved within the board's process, through either settlement or by securing formal awards within nine months or less.

'30,000 victims of personal injury accidents no longer have to be subjected to years of unnecessary litigation, and the exorbitant associated costs to simply access their right to compensation,' commented the board's CEO Patricia Byron.

'Vigilance is required to ensure there is no slippage as the country endeavours to remain competitive and face other economic challenges over the year ahead,' she added.