Law approved to stop bypassing of injuries board
The Cabinet has approved new legislation to stop claimants deliberately bypassing the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) in a bid to have their cases heard in court.
Claimants, particularly those who exaggerate or make false claims, are often eager to have their cases heard in court - where awards tend to be higher and legal costs are paid.
The PIAB was set up as the independent State body that assesses injury compensation, and it generally does not pay legal fees.
Cases settled in courts add up to 40pc to the amount awarded.
All personal injuries claims, with the exception of medical negligence cases, have to initially go through the PIAB.
A case can only be released to go forward to court if a PIAB settlement award is rejected by either side, or if the PIAB is not furnished with medical reports or information on loss of earnings.
Business Minister Heather Humphreys received Cabinet approval this week to stop people deliberately failing to co-operate with the PIAB to force their case into court.
The Personal Injuries Assessment (Amendment) Bill will give the PIAB discretion to make no award assessment if a claimant fails to turn up at a medical or fails to provide details of special damages or loss of earnings.
The bill will also make it cheaper to make a claim to the PIAB electronically.
If a claimant fails to co-operate with PIAB, that will have to be notified to the judge if the claim ends up in court. The court shall have regard for the failure to co-operate with the PIAB, and the judge would have discretion to throw out the case.
Ms Humphreys said: "This is an important bill as PIAB facilitates the objective assessment of damages at a much lower delivery cost and in a far shorter timeframe than through litigation."
She said the Government's Cost of Insurance Working Group report, published last year, found that the delivery costs for cases settled outside PIAB is more than 40pc of compensation awards.
"Therefore, encouraging more claimants to finalise their cases through the PIAB model rather than resorting to litigation should lead to cost savings in the claims environment." The bill follows recommendations made in the Cost of Insurance Working Group report.