The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2019 comes into operation on Wednesday and the Commencement Order was signed today by Minister Heather Humphreys.
The Act strengthens the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) to facilitate fair and objective assessments of damages in personal injury cases and encourage more claims to be settled through the model.
Minister Humphreys said “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 a 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 cost savings in the claims environment. This is good for businesses and consumers alike.”
The Act provides a deterrent in any subsequent legal proceedings in relation to cases of non-co-operation with PIAB, such as non-attendance at medicals and failure to provide details of special damages or loss of earnings.
The Act also facilitates the greater use of technology as it provides for the service of documents electronically, thereby modernizing and expediating the administrative process.
Conor O’Brien, chief executive of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB), said PIAB strongly welcomes the law.
“The Act strengthens existing legislation and will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the PIAB operating model. The provisions contained in the new Act should ultimately lead to benefits for business and consumers.”
Minister Humphreys added “I believe that strengthening the PIAB model through the provisions of the Amendment Act, along with the recommendations from the two Reports of the Personal Injuries Commission, and the complementary work of the Cost of Insurance Working Group will lead to the delivery of benefits for both businesses and consumers.”
The main provisions of the amendment include:
- clarifying the documents required from a claimant before a formal notice seeking consent to an assessment will be issued to a respondent,
- ensuring early notification of incomplete claims to respondents,
- providing the Board with discretion not to make an assessment in certain situations where the resolution of the claim is being delayed while with the Board’s process,
- ensuring consistency in the application of limitation periods within the process,
- providing PIAB with the power to obtain information from any person or body to fulfil its functions,
- changes to the composition of the Board membership and tenure of members in line with Government policy that more Board positions are filled through publicjobs.ie and the Public Appointments Service process,
- providing for different levels of fees to be levied by PIAB on claimants and respondents for the submission of electronic and paper formats of documents;
- providing that the Book of Quantum will be published every three years,
- addressing issues relating to non-cooperation, such as non-attendance at medicals and failure to provide details of special damages or loss of earnings, and
- enabling PIAB to serve documents electronically or through a document exchange mail service, thus modernising and expediting the administrative process.