Personal Injuries Resolution Board Act 2022- Changes to PIAB Process and Expansion of Remit
Thu Jan 26 2023
The Personal Injuries Resolution Board Act 2022 was enacted on 13 December 2022 and awaits commencement. This is an important step in the reform of personal injuries law and procedure in Ireland. A copy of the Act may be downloaded here:
Brokers should be aware that it reforms the PIAB process and expands PIAB’s remit.
Expanded Remit – Mediation, Psychological Injuries, Costs Implications, Anti-Fraud Measures
The Act renames the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB), as the Personal Injuries Resolution Board (“Board”) to reflect an expansion of its remit.
The Board now has the power to offer mediation as a means of resolving a personal injuries claim. Where previously PIAB dealt with physical claims, the new Board also has the power to consider purely psychological claims as well as long term injury claims where a prognosis may not be available within the 9-month statutory timeframe. A new two year period is provided in the Act for long term prognosis to be available. If the Board has the consent of the parties it may continue to deal with the claim after this period.
Costs Implications for Claimants
There are also new provisions in relation to costs, which importantly, put costs implications on claimants who fail to accept awards from the Board. If a Claimant then issues proceedings, in circumstances where the Respondent has accepted the Board’s assessment, a Claimant who fails to recover a higher award in Court is now on risk. The new rules deem the Respondent to have made a tender offer of an amount equal to the Board’s assessment and this puts that Claimant on risk of being fixed with a portion of the costs of the action.
The nature of mediation is that it is a voluntary process, where participants may withdraw at any time prior to conclusion of the mediation. The process the Board will be using will be modelled on the Mediation Act 2017. Cases will still require to be resolved within the 9-month statutory timeframe notwithstanding mediation.
After mediation, the mediator (whether a Board member or external appointee) will prepare a report. If the parties have reached an agreement at mediation, they still have the option of withdrawing from that agreement, within ten days of the mediation. If they do not withdraw within ten days, an order will be issued for payment of the sum agreed. Where mediation has not resolved the claim, the Board will move to assessment unless the respondent has already indicated that they do not intend to accept an assessment. The nature of mediation is that it and all documents and communications exchanged in its course will be confidential and will not form part of the court proceedings. Evidence that would be discoverable in later proceedings will not be confidential.
The Act makes it an offence for a person knowingly or recklessly to provide false or misleading material information in relation to an application to the Board. Whereas there is a general prohibition on the Board disclosing confidential information, this will not now prevent the Board informing Gardai if it believes there to be information relating to committing an offence.