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Key Updates For Personal Injury Claims in Northern Ireland: The Sixth Edition of the Green Book

Senior Associate Hannah Simpson unpacks the pivotal updates introduced in the sixth edition of the Green Book, released in April 2024. 

The Green Book is an essential reference for assessing personal injury claims in Northern Ireland. The first edition was launched in 1996, and ever since, it has acted as a guideline for judges and legal professionals for the range of compensation offered in personal injury cases such as car accidents, work injuries or incidents like dog attacks causing any type of scarring.

What’s New in the Sixth Edition of the Green Book?

The latest edition offers clearer guidelines on everything from road accidents to work injuries. The notable differences include more transparent recovery timelines for ‘whiplash’ and psychiatric injuries whilst raising compensation for hearing loss and providing clearer guidance for general damages for to assist with valuing injuries. There has also been a general range of updates to injury categories. 

Why Are These Changes Important?

These refinements aim to enhance the accuracy and transparency of valuing claims. The updates align more closely with practitioners’ expectations to ensure that assessments are more consistent, fair, and reflective of the complexities of personal injury cases. 

These updates help us assess your claim and provide greater clarity and confidence about what compensation you may be able to receive.

Here, we delve into some of the updates for each category and their potential impact.

Scarring Compensation: A Fairer Approach

Compensation for scarring has seen a notable rise in the latest edition of the Green Book. Removing gender-based categories promotes a more cohesive and impartial approach to compensation. Awards for significant scarring now range from £45,000 to £110,000, reflecting a median increase of approximately 25%. The guidance now states that any distinction based on gender should not be of any particular significance. This category now provides awards up to £45,000 for lesser scarring.

‘Whiplash’ Injuries: Clarity on Recovery Timelines

The new edition clarifies recovery periods for ‘whiplash’ injuries. Minor neck injuries now command a 30% increase in compensation, with a full recovery within six months being granted up to £5,000. Back injuries have also been reassessed, reaching up to £37,500 for a full recovery over two to five years, reflecting a 20-25% increase.

Shoulder Injury Updates: Increased Compensation

Despite the brackets remaining unchanged, shoulder injury compensation has surged by a minimum of 25%. Awards for minor injuries have been uplifted to £17,500, while severe cases, like frozen shoulder, are now eligible for up to £40,000 in compensation.

Psychiatric Injury Updates: Reflecting Legal Landmarks

Following the landmark Leonard v Theedom case in 2020, psychiatric injury compensation has grown significantly. Awards for severe psychiatric damage have increased by 19%, with awards ranging from £100,000 to £250,000. Notably, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) awards have seen a drastic increase, with severe injuries now valued at £100,000 – £250,000, reflecting a 108% increase.

Hand Injuries: New Categories and Increased Awards

Hand injuries, common in employer and public liability claims, now feature updated brackets and increased awards. A new category for total or partial loss of the index finger attracts damages of £40,000 to £62,500. Another new bracket, ‘Minor Finger and Thumb injuries’, look at claims of up to £10,000. Minor injuries not recovered by six months may fall into the general catch-all bracket for ‘Minor Hand Injuries’, which are listed as up to £22,000.

Head Injuries: Detail on Post-Concussional Syndrome

The guidance on serious head injury and established epilepsy remains largely unchanged. However, there’s now a focus on Post-Concussional Syndrome (PCS) within minor to moderate head injuries, which could impact compensation amounts.

Hearing Loss & Tinnitus: New Categories and Increased Awards

The latest edition distinguishes between hearing loss and tinnitus, assigning each its own compensation category, meaning that compensation can be awarded for these conditions separately. Severe hearing loss awards have significantly increased, ranging from £60,000 to £200,000. Moderate hearing loss now provides for awards from £20,000 to £60,000, while moderate tinnitus remains unchanged, ranging from £20,000 to £40,000.

What Do These Updates Mean?

These updates aim to provide clearer guidelines across diverse injury categories. As always, it’s crucial to remember that these figures serve only as guidance and are subject to judicial interpretation in each individual case.

Navigating the legal landscape of personal injury claims requires up-to-date knowledge and expert guidance. The sixth edition of the Green Book brings significant changes that could impact the valuation and categorisation of your claim. 

If you’ve sustained an injury and are contemplating a claim, it’s imperative to seek advice from an expert solicitor to fully grasp your entitlements and potential compensation.

Free Review of Your Case

At Wilson Nesbitt, we offer a complimentary initial case review. Our expert solicitors will assess your situation and advise on the best course of action.

We provide transparent information about the process, timelines, and payment options.

Get help with your personal injury case in Northern Ireland 

If you’ve suffered from an injury or incident that was not your fault in the last three years, contact Senior Solicitor Hannah Simpson & our expert team. We will guide you towards the best result.

Your first consultation is free of charge, confidential and without obligation– and we’ll tell you straight away if you have a strong case worth pursuing.
0800 840 9289 |  make an email enquiry here.

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