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Published 20 April 2023
The Personal Injuries Resolution Board Bill was signed by President Michael D. Higgins on the 13th of December 2022 and was enacted into Law. The Legislation as enacted amends and extends the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003 – 2019.
The key changes that the legislation has brought are;
The Personal Injuries Assessment Board is to be renamed “The Personal Injuries Resolution Board” or “The PIRB”.
The purpose of the name change is to reflect the fact that the Board will now offer mediation as a means of resolving claims.
The Legislation states that “The objective of mediation…is to have the claim resolved by agreement reached by the parties...”
The Legislation allows for Claimants to make an application to the PIRB for resolution of their claim by way of; mediation, assessment or both. However all parties must consent to mediation and if the parties agree to mediate, a mediator will be appointed from a panel of mediators employer by the PIRB or a person appointed by the board.
Interesting, section 9 allows for the PIRB in circumstances where it considers it “appropriate” to “invite the parties to consider mediation…”
The Legislation confirms that no application to the PIRB will be deemed accepted unless it is accompanied with the Claimants PPS number. In cases where the Claimant does not have a PPS number, the Legislation provides that in such circumstances, the PRIB will seek proof of the applicants identity by way of “copies of any documentation concerning the identity of the claimant.”
The Legislation confirms that failing to provide the Board with this required information, will result in the Statute of limitation continuing to run while the claim is with the PIRB.
Section 22 provides that it is an offence to “knowingly, or recklessly”, provide the Board with information that is “false or misleading”. While S20 provides that the Board may report suspected offences to An Garda Síochána.
Under the Legislation the PIRB will now assess claims which are wholly psychological in nature. This is a change from the previous position whereby PIAB had the discretion not to assess such claims. The Legislation also provides amendments to the procedures in which the Board deals with the assessment of claims where a long term prognosis is awaited. The Legislation allows the Board to retain claims (with the consent of both the Claimant and Respondent) for up to 2 additional years on top of the 9 months, in circumstances where it has been provided with a medical report which confirms that a long-term prognosis will not be available within 9 months.
The Legislation offers a means of costs protection to Respondents, in the form of treating declined assessments as a tender payment. Under the Legislation, assessments which are accepted by Respondents, but declined by Claimants will be treated as of an offer of tender payment. This means that where a Claimant proceeds by way of litigation and if the court’s award is not greater than the PIAB assessment, the claimant will not recover their costs and will be liable for the respondent’s costs as well.
The Legislation also provides that where a respondent has failed to pay the relevant fee to the Board in the required timeframe, the Board can apply an additional administrative charge. The Bill goes even further and provides that the respondent is liable to the Board ”for and all charges incurred by the Board in respect of the respondent in relation to the relevant claim concerned...”
Keep an eye out for further updates, to see what impact the legislation will have on Personal Injuries claims.
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