THE Government is seeking to have more cases dealt with by the State body set up to award people who have been injured.
The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) was put in place to settle claims without the need to incur legal costs.
But large numbers of cases still end up being litigated, adding thousands of euro in legal expenses to the cost of settling them.
The legal costs in personal injuries claims that end up in court are nearly 20 times higher than those for cases dealt with by PIAB, Central Bank research has found.
The research also found that on average the legal costs associated with settling claims through litigation were 67pc of the actual compensation amount.
The research found that PIAB delivers roughly the same level of compensation on minor injuries as litigation, but takes two years less on average to do so, and its legal costs are tiny.
Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy has now launched a public consultation on reforming the remit of PIAB to ensures it deals with more personal injuries cases.
Just 17pc of motoring personal injuries cases are settled through PIAB, with 33pc litigated and 50pc settled directly by insurers.
The Government wants to reduce the number of cases that progress to litigation.
Mr Troy said: “Encouraging more claimants and respondents to avail of the PIAB model should lead to cost savings in the claims environment and should ultimately lead to reductions in insurance premiums.”
The Alliance for Insurance Reform said there was an urgent need to enhance the role of PIAB.
“PIAB works very efficiently in delivering more or less the same level of compensation on minor injuries as litigation, but taking two years less on average to do so,” it said.
“But over the years, PIAB has been undermined to the extent that is in danger of being side-lined altogether and the only winners in this process have been the lawyers who extract an estimated €350m a year in legal fees from personal injury claims which are in essence a straight tax on policyholders and the State.”
PIAB started operating in 2004, with the aim of an independent assessment of personal injury claims for compensation following road traffic, workplace or public liability accidents.
It was initially credited with shaking up a claims culture and providing an alternative to the courts system.
However, the number of cases taken through the PIAB process has fallen in recent years.
The review of PIAB comes after voted to reduce damages awards for personal injuries.
The guidelines will replace the Book of Quantum, which outlined a range of suggested awards for specific types of injuries.
The deadline for submissions or comments as part of the PIAB consultation process is April 17.