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Important Changes to the Injuries Board

By: Eamon Harrington | Posted on: 14 Mar 2019

The recently enacted Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2019 is due to come into force shortly – probably on 25 March 2019.

The Act will strengthen PIAB to ensure greater compliance with the PIAB process and it will be of particular benefit in addressing cases of non-cooperation such as non-attendance at medicals and refusal to provide details of special damages, as Claimants can be penalised in respect of costs.

 

KEY CHANGES

COSTS PENALTIES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE

A current problem is that the Board is obliged to carry out the assessment, even where:

  • a claimant fails to supply details of his/her claim for special damages or
  • where the claimant fails to attend a medical examination arranged by PIAB, or
  • where the claimant has failed to assist/co-operate with retained experts

To deter non-compliance with these PIAB processes, the Court now has discretion to make an order on what costs, if any, it will allow the claimant. The Court can also order the claimant to pay all or a portion of the costs of the respondent.

The amendment also provides for constraints regarding legal costs for non-compliance by a respondent to a request by PIAB for information or documents or to assist/cooperate with retained experts.

This change affects all new applications and some existing applications.

[Section 8, introducing new 51C].

REQUIREMENT FOR CLAIMANT TO PRODUCE A MEDICAL REPORT

If the application is not accompanied by a medical report and/or the fee, the Board may issue a preliminary notification to the respondent that a claim has been received identifying them as the person the claimant holds responsible for their injuries. However, the respondent will not be obliged to consider the consenting to an assessment being made in the absence of a medical report and/or the fee.

 [Section 2]

EXTENSION OF BOARD’S DISCRETION NOT TO ASSESS CLAIMS

The amendment provides for additional categories of claim where the Board has discretion not to proceed with an assessment, hence avoiding delays. This, for example, will cater for more situations such as:

  • where the Board is unable to serve statutory documents
  • where the respondent has notified the Board of his/her intention to reject any assessment when made
  • where the claim falls within a claim to which Regulation (EC) No. 864/2007 of the European Parliament and the Council of 11 July 2007 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations (Rome II) applies or
  • where a settlement has been negotiated in respect of a minor or persons of unsound mind to be approved by court. 

[Section 4]

REDUCED FEES FOR ELECTRONIC FILING

Different levels of charges levied by the Board on claimants and respondents for submitting electronic and paper formats of documents to them, to incentivise electronic filing.

There is also provision for PIAB to levy staged charges on the respondent for the various stages of the claims assessment process.

[Section 5]

MORE CLARITY ON THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

The amendment provides that where subsequent respondents are added to the claim, the date that the Statute of Limitations is stopped against each respondent, is the date that individual respondent is added to the claim and ending 6 months from the date of issue of an authorisation.

This amendment rectifies any discrepancies arising from interpretations of the Renehan v T & S Taverns [2015] IESC 8 judgement.

[Section 7]

UPDATING OF BOOK OF QUANTUM

The Board shall review and update the Book of Quantum every three years, or sooner if the Board decides it is necessary.

The Board now has power to obtain information from individuals/bodies to provide data for the purpose of the Board fulfilling all of its functions in terms of preparing and publishing the Book of Quantum and, collecting and analysing data in relation to amounts awarded or agreed in settlement of civil actions for which this Act applies, and not just in relation to the Board’s function regarding the making of a cost benefit analysis.

[Sections 9 and 10]

SERVICE OF DOCUMENTS

The Board can serve a notice or document electronically where the person concerned has given consent for the notice or document to be served in this manner. The section also provides that documents can be served using a document exchange service provided the person concerned has given consent that he or she will accept service in this manner.

[Section 15]

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