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Report No. 85

Personal injury Boards in Sweden.- A special feature of the Swedish law governing tort compensation for death and personal injury is that the assessing of the awards is very much centralized. The insurance companies are obliged to consult central "personal injury boards" (there are separate boards for traffic insurance cases and other liability insurance cases), before settling with the injured party1. The statutory Traffic Board in Sweden settles all disputed claims involving disability of 10 per cent. or more, and fatal accident claims. The Board makes recommendations, which are not of binding effect, but they are normally followed by the insurers. In most cases, courts accept the figure suggested by the Board.

The Swedish Traffic Board is composed of four lawyers who are judges or former judges by profession (herein called the "judicial members"), and 16 insurance company officials, mostly lawyers (herein called the "insurance members"). The chairman, who must be one of the judicial members, is appointed by the Government, and the other members by the Swedish Association of Traffic Insurance Companies, subject to approval by the Insurance Inspectorate. When the Board deals with particular claims, it sits in panels of only four persons (two judicial members and two insurance members); if the voting is even, the vote of the chairman is decisive. The Liability Board is composed of two judicial members and eight insurance members, all of whom are appointed by the Association of Swedish Insurance Companies; a quorum requires one judicial member and three insurance members2.

Each of the boards has a full-time working secretary (in the Traffic Board, a lawyer). The annual costs for the whole activity of the Traffic Board (including salaries to three other employees) amount to less than 300,000 Sw. kroner (about $ 60,000); the yearly expenses of the Liability Board can be calculated at about half this amount. In view of these rather modest resources, the yearly results of the board's activities are impressive. The Traffic Board deals nowadays with more than 1800 claims a year (1871 in 1967, 1885 in 1968); the Liability Board with 300400 (372 opinions 1967, 300 in 1968)3.

1. Selmer Personal Injury Law in Nordic Countries, (1970) 18 AJCL 54, 56.

2. Bengtsson Personal Injury Boards in Sweden, (1970) 18 AJCI. 108, 110.

3. Bengtsson Personal Injury Boards in Sweden, (1970) 18 AJCL 108, 111.

Claims for Compensation under Chapter 8 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 Back

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