The chief executive of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board has said that a new set of guidelines should see the level of damages awarded in personal injury cases reduce by 40% to 50%.

Rosalind Carroll said the new guidelines will impact personal injury awards made through both the PIAB and the courts and it is hoped people will avoid litigation and access compensation through PIAB.

Yesterday, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said the Personal Injuries Guidelines will come into effect on 24 April, and will set out the level of damages that may be awarded or assessed in terms of personal injuries.

She said this should reduce costs and in time boost competition in the Irish insurance market.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ms Carroll said it is intended the new system will lower the cost of insurance premiums by removing the additional costs that are incurred when a litigant takes a case to court.

She said the new awards will set out the level of award for soft injuries, fractures and other injuries, replacing the previous Book of Quantum.

Ms Caroll said "Ireland was way out of kilter with other countries", with whiplash awards 4.4 times higher here than in the UK.

She said the Judicial Council has set out "re-calibrated award levels" based on award sizes in Ireland and in the UK, which has reduced awards in cases other than those incurring significant or catastrophic injuries.

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Ms Carroll said people coming to PIAB have a choice of accepting an award or entering into litigation and many think they will get a higher award in the courts, but this should change that.

On Monday, Insurance Ireland CEO Moyagh Murdock said she would be "optimistic" that consumers will start to see a reduction in their motor insurance premiums "in the near future".

She said premiums have been coming down for the past 18 months to two years, with a reduction of 9% on premiums up to the year ending 2019 and in 2020 there was a further reduction of 6.5%, which she said is continuing this year.

When there is certainty on the quantum of award that an injury will attract, this "should reduce the need for litigation," she added.