On 27 May 2015, the Department of Justice and Equality published the heads and general scheme of the Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill 2015 which will empower the Courts to award index-linked annual compensation payments (Periodic Payment Orders) to claimants in cases involving catastrophic injury. The new legislation will give the Courts a discretion, in certain circumstances, to award Periodic Payment Orders to claimants who have suffered a severe injury, involving serious impairment, and who need long term care as a result. Periodic Payment Orders may be awarded to provide for future medical treatment, care and assistance as an alternative to a lump sum payment, which is what claimants must rely on at present. Periodic Payment Orders may also include damages for future loss of earnings where the parties consent. Provision is also made for stepped payments (i.e. the amount awarded may increase or decrease on specified future dates consistent with expected changes in the claimant's life and/or needs).