by Richard Hogan April-17-2019 in Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Background

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2019 (the “2019 Act”) was signed into law on 25 February 2019 and commenced on 3 April 2019.

The 2019 Act is the result of recommendations made in two separate reports on the rising cost of motor insurance. The first report was by the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, (October 2016) and the second report was by the Cost of Insurance Working Group on the Cost of Motor Insurance (January 2017).  The purpose of the 2019 Act is to ensure greater compliance with the PIAB process and to encourage more claims to be settled through the PIAB assessment model.

 

Key Changes

The 2019 Act makes four key changes to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (“PIAB”) process:


1.  Notice of Claim

Formal notice of a claim will only issue to a respondent once PIAB has received the claimant’s application for assessment, medical report and fee. A preliminary notice may issue to a respondent notifying them of a claim, but a preliminary notice will not commence the 90 day period a respondent has to consent to assessment. An application made without a medical report will stop the Statute of Limitations clock.

 

2.  Statute of Limitations

The Statute of Limitations period against a respondent will stop running on the date an application is made for assessment against that respondent and will commence again six months after authorisation is granted. Therefore, an application for assessment against one respondent will no longer stop the Statute of Limitations clock running as against all other possible respondents who may be joined at a later date. This clarifies case law discrepancies on this issue which have arisen.

 

3.  Non Co-Operation

If a claimant fails to cooperate with PIAB, this may have cost implications if authorisation issues and the matter progresses to hearing. In such circumstances, a court will have discretion to make several possible costs orders against the claimant to include not awarding the claimant their costs, awarding reduced costs, or awarding costs against the claimant. The 2019 Act describes acts of non-cooperation by a claimant as failing to attend a medical appointment; failing to provide details of special damages; and failing to co-operate with an expert. Similarly, if a respondent fails to comply with certain requests made by PIAB this may have cost implication if authorisations issue and the matter progresses to hearing.

 

4.  Book of Quantum

The Book of Quantum is to be reviewed and updated at least every three years.           

 

Along with the above changes, the 2019 Act also increases the grounds upon which PIAB can exercise its discretion to refuse to make an assessment and will allow for reduced fees for electronic submissions. The above changes will apply to all new claims notified to PIAB following the commencement of the 2019 Act on 3 April 2019 and with regards to matters of non-cooperation to certain claims already notified to PIAB.

Along with recent amendments to section 8 and section 14 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 the 2019 Act is another step towards cutting cost, shortening delays, and streamlining the personal injury litigation process. However, we will have to wait and see if the 2019 Act will encourage more claims to be settled by the PIAB model.


For further information, please contact Richard Hogan rhogan@hayes-solicitors.ie at Hayes solicitors.

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