Changes to the processing of Claims through the PIAB
The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2019 (the ‘2019 Act’) came into effect on 3 April 2019.
The following are some of the key new provisions that have been introduced concerning the processing of claims through the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (the ‘Injuries Board’).
- Section 2 of the 2019 Act amends Section 13, in that it is no longer essential for a party to lodge a medical report with an application form in order to stop time from running for the purpose of the Statute of Limitations. Submitting a Form A is now sufficient for that purpose but in those circumstances the Injuries Board will serve a “preliminary notice” on the Respondent and the formal Section 13 Notice, which sets the 90 day period in motion, will not be served until a medical report is provided and the Injuries Board fee is paid.
- Section 7 of the 2019 Act amends Section 50 and addresses an anomaly that arose in the case of Renehan v T&S Taverns (2015) IESC 8 and provides that, where a further Respondent or Respondents are added to an application that is already with the Injuries Board, the statutory limitation period for the claim against that additional Respondent/Respondents stops on the date of such addition, as opposed to the date of the original application.
- The 2019 Act introduces a significant new provision under Section 51 (c). This provides that a Court may penalise Claimants and Respondents in respect of costs where they have not complied with a request made by the Injuries Board assessors for additional information or documents, or where they have not provided assistance to experts retained by the Injuries Board or furnished information or documents to cooperate with those experts, or where a Claimant fails to submit himself or herself to a medical examination. Where a claim subsequently comes before the Court, the Judge may take such failures into account and has discretion to deny a defaulting party of an award of costs or order that the defaulting party pay all or a portion of the party’s costs in circumstances where the Court is satisfied that such failure has arisen. Section 51 (c) applies to all applications made to the Injuries Board under Section 11 after 3rd April, 2019 and to all applications made before that date, where the Injuries Board has not previously made such requests. The addition of this particular provision is clearly aimed at cutting costs and shortening the delays that can arise in personal injury litigation. It will also assist with identifying false claims which have been on the increase over the last number of years.
- Section 9 of the 2019 Act amends Section 54 and provides that the book of quantum be reviewed from time to time, and revised at least every three years.
- Section 14 of the 2019 Act amends Section 79 and provides that the Injuries Board can now serve or issue documents electronically or by document exchange service, where consent to such service or issue is given.
When enacting this new piece of legislation into law, the Minster for Business, Enterprise and Innovations stated the following; “This is an important piece of legislation because enhancing the role of the PIAB will not only benefit users of the service but also society more generally. Many commentators have suggested that the cost of personal injury claims is a contributing factor to the high cost of insurance premiums and as Minister for Business Enterprise and Innovation I am acutely aware of the serious impacts of this on businesses. The PIAB model is a good one because it deals with cases in far shorter timeframe than is possible through litigation, which often takes several years and has a higher delivery cost. Ultimately it delivers compensation more quickly and less expensively. As a result, by encouraging more Claimants to finalise their cases through the PIAB model, this should lead to costs savings in the claims environment. This is good for business and consumers alike”.