A bill to enhance and reform the Personal Injuries Assessment Board in a bid to encourage more claimants and respondents to use it has been published today.

The new bill, which could become law by December, hopes to introduce a new mediation system to help reduce court case costs, allow claims for psychological distress, and extend the amount of time injuries are examined.

The Personal Injuries Resolution Board Bill 2022 has been published by Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy.

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"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 amount paid out in personal injuries awards in the past two years fell by €118 million, according to PIAB's annual report published last week. Changes to overall damages that should be awarded, outlined in the new Personal Injuries Guidelines, were highlighted as one of the reasons why the amount had fallen.

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 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."

The amount paid out in personal injuries awards in the past two years fell by €118 million, according to PIAB's annual report published last week. Changes to overall damages that should be awarded, outlined in the new Personal Injuries Guidelines, were highlighted as one of the reasons why the amount had fallen.

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 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."