The Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy has today published the Personal Injuries Resolution Board Bill 2022.
The Publication of the Bill is a milestone in the Action Plan for Insurance Reform and in delivering a Programme for Government commitment to enhance and reform the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB).
Announcing the publication of the Bill, the Minister said:
"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.”
The Bill will amend the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003-2019 to provide that the:
- 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 Síochána to reduce fraud
- PIRB will deepen its analysis and public information roles
The Minister is also proposing to amend section 51A of the Act to encourage early resolution of claims and minimise costs. 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. Where the court award is not greater than the PIAB assessment the claimant will not recover their costs and will generally be liable for the respondent’s costs as well.
The Minister continued:
“Increasing the statutory functions of the Board has been a priority for me and the Bill will enable it to undertake its work in an enhanced manner. The new PIRB will enable more claimants and respondents to avail of an enhanced personal injuries resolution board but crucially to have their claims resolved through mediation also, thereby reducing the need to go to court.
“As part of the Bill I have also decided to include a new provision to strengthen the process by making it an offence to provide false or misleading information to the PIRB. This should increase confidence in, and strengthen the PIAB process, which relies upon accurate and truthful information for its just and proper operation. I wish to thank Senator Rónán Mullen for his contribution to this part of the Bill.”
The Minister concluded by saying:
“This Bill together with implementation of the Action Plan for Insurance Reform will help reduce the costs of personal injury claims and facilitate reductions in insurance premiums. This is a significant piece of legislation, and it is in the interests of all that it is enacted as soon as possible. I look forward to working with Oireachtas colleagues in the coming weeks to enact the Bill at the earliest opportunity.”
Personal Injuries Resolution Board Bill 2022
The Programme for Government contains commitments which together clearly demonstrate the government’s ambitions for real reform of insurance to deliver an insurance system which is both affordable and reliable and one which underpins a vibrant economy.
The Sub-Group on Insurance Reform under the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Investment, chaired by the Tánaiste, with membership from Ministers and Ministers of State, is tasked with driving insurance reform on a cross-governmental approach.
The ‘Action Plan for Insurance Reform’ was launched on the December 8, 2020. The Action Plan sets out 66 actions for reform to bring down the costs for consumers and business and to introduce more competition into the market.
In line with Action 19 of the Action Plan for Insurance Reform, the Minister has considered legislative proposals to enhance and reform PIAB and government has approved the text of the Personal Injuries Resolution Board Bill 2022.
PIAB was established in April 2004 to fairly, promptly, and transparently compensate the victims of accidents involving personal injuries in a cost-effective manner.
PIAB independently assesses claims for compensation arising from personal injuries sustained as a result of a motor, workplace, or public liability incident. Under the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Acts 2003-2019, all personal injury claims, with certain exceptions, such as medical negligence cases, must be submitted to PIAB unless they are settled by the parties involved at an early stage.