On 30th June 2017 the General Scheme of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Bill 2017 was published.
The Bill addresses the recommendations made by the Cost of Insurance Working Group in January 2017 which hoped to maximise the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) model and ensure that more claims are settled without recourse to litigation, thereby reducing costs.
The main features of the Bill are as follows:-
- It aims to strengthen compliance with elements of the PIAB process, such as attendance at medical examinations and requests for evidence of special damages, to allow PIAB to make more accurate assessments of claims.
- It proposes an amendment to clarify the application of the Statute of Limitations to the PIAB process, while continuing to leave the question of whether a claim is statute barred to be dealt with by the Courts.
- PIAB’s powers to issue an authorisation without making any assessment are extended.
- It requires that the Book of Quantum be reviewed and updated every 3 years, or sooner if PIAB deems necessary.
- It allows service of documents electronically or by DX.
The General Scheme of the Bill has now been sent to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for drafting and also to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation for pre-legislative scrutiny.
While the Bill will resolve some practical issues which should assist PIAB in its day to day functions, the effects of these amendments on the cost of claims may not be as dramatic as is envisaged by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. We will await the final draft Bill and its passage through the Houses of the Oireachtas with interest.