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Review of The Personal Injuries Resolution Board Bill 2022

Review of The Personal Injuries Resolution Board Bill 2022

The Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy, published the Personal Injuries Resolution Board Bill 2022 on the 2nd August 2022.

The publication of the Bill follows the adoption of the Personal Injuries Guidelines on the 24th April 2021 and represents another milestone in the fast evolving personal injuries landscape in Ireland.

According to Minister Troy:

“Delivering effective and impactful reform of PIAB to reduce the cost of litigation and ultimately premiums has been a priority of mine since taking office. The legislation I have published today will establish PIAB as a new and enhanced Personal Injuries Resolution Board. It delivers on an important Programme for Government commitment and represents a significant step-change in Ireland’s personal injuries framework. Once enacted the Bill will increase the number of personal injury claims settled through an enhanced Resolution Board and reduce the expense and time associated with personal injuries litigation.”

This article written by Nicola Kiely, Solicitor, CKT gives an overview of the new Bill and the main changes to be expected once enacted.

What is the purpose of the Bill?

The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) Act 2003-2019 and to increase the number of personal injury claims that may be resolved through PIAB.

What are the main changes?

PIAB will be renamed The Personal Injuries Resolution Board (PIRB).

The Bill will amend the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003-2019 to provide that:

  • PIRB will offer mediation as a means of resolving a claim.
  • PIRB will retain claims of a wholly psychological nature.
  • PIRB will have additional time to assess claims where an injury is yet to settle rather than releasing to litigation.
  • PIRB will seek proof of identity on application and disclose information to An Garda Siochana to reduce fraud.
  • PIRB will deepen its analysis and public information roles.

Costs

Minister Troy is also proposing an amendment to Section 51A of the Act with the aim of encouraging the early resolution of claims. The Bill provides that, where the claimant proceeds to litigation, an assessment that has been accepted by a respondent will have the status of an offer of tender payment, as of the date the respondent accepted the assessment.

The implications of the above proposed amendment are worth noting. If the Court award is not greater than the PIAB assessment the claimant will not recover their costs and will generally also be liable for the respondent’s costs.

Benefits of the current PIAB

The Central Bank of Ireland published a Report on Employers Liability, Public Liability and Commercial Property on 22nd June 2022. Part 4 entitled “Claim Settlements” analysed how Employer Liability and Public Liability claims were settled between 2015 and 2020.  One key finding related to the duration of a claim that settled through PIAB when compared to a claim that settled though litigation during that timeframe.

“Average duration of an injury claim from reporting quarter to settlement is 4.5 years for a claim settled through litigation, 1.7 years for a claim settling directly and 1.8 years for a claim settled through PIAB”.

The PIAB Annual Report for 2021 noted that the time to assess a claim from the date of consent to date of award was 10.5 months.

Conclusion

The latest Report from the Central Bank of Ireland together with PIAB Annual Report for 2021 confirm that the PIAB model is working. The journey for a claim through the PIAB process is faster than litigation and the legal costs lower.  The Personal Injuries Resolution Board Bill 2022 will enhance the powers of PIAB and this new legislation should be welcomed.

For more information on anything related to this article, please contact a member of our Litigation Team.



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