PRESS RELEASE: PERSONAL INJURIES BOARD (PIB) REPORT
Tue Sep 25 2018
‘WORKABILITY OF PERSONAL INJURIES COMMISSION IS WORRYING’ STATE BROKERS IRELAND
In this week’s second and final report of the Personal Injuries Commission chaired by former High Court judge, Nicholas Kearns, a lot of attention has been paid to the new statutory Judicial Council to provide guidance on award levels, but given the questions raised by Mr Kearns himself on the workability of the recommendation it could be some considerable time before we see an impact on what he himself has described as Ireland’s “runaway claims culture”, Brokers Ireland has said.
Rachel McGovern, Director of Financial Services at the organisation which represents 1,250 broker firms said: “Mr Kearns has acknowledged that if judicial guidelines don’t work politicians will need to enact legislation to cap damages. While the Law Reform Commission is looking at this issue Mr Kearns predicts there could be difficulties around the issue of separation of powers between the legislature and the judiciary.
“Therefore we’re at the stage of hoping that the Judicial Council recommendation in this week’s excellent and frank report from Mr Kearns and his team will actually work in practice,” she said.
Ms McGovern said given the questions hanging over the likely effectiveness of the judicial guidelines there needs to be a strong focus meanwhile on the Commission’s other recommendations, such as that in cases where an insurer deals directly with a claimant, no offer in settlement or payment of a personal injury claim should be made unless and until a medical report has been obtained.
“And the establishment of an Irish Garda Fraud Investigation Bureau along the lines of the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) in the UK, needs to be done, as Mr Kearns recommends, without further delay.
“A radical improvement is needed to address the situation where consumers and businesses are paying exorbitant rates for insurance cover, and in some cases are unable to get cover, and others are getting away with fraudulent and exaggerated claims.”
She said the deployment of suitable strategies, including technological strategies, to prevent and detect fraudulent and exaggerated claims will be important but may take time.
“The high cost of motor insurance is having a negative impact on consumers, on businesses, on community activities and economically. It is in all our interests, except those with dishonourable intent, that the Commission’s recommendations work,” she said. “Under the current system genuinely injured claimants are being made to feel like they are engaging in fraudulent activity by claiming what is rightfully theirs and that is unfair.”
To view the full PIB Report: Download Here
Main Report Recommendations:
- The PIC recommends that the Judicial Council should, when established, be requested by the Minister for Justice and Equality to compile guidelines for appropriate general damages for various types of personal injury. As a consequence of this recommendation, subsequent legislative amendments to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003 will be required in relation to the removal of PIAB’s statutory responsibilty to compile the Book of Quantum and provision in the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 should be amended.
- The PIC recommends that the Judicial Council Bill 2017, establishing the Judicial Council, be progressed through the Houses of the Oireachtas as a matter of urgency.
- The PIC is satisfied that a ‘care not cash’ system of compensation for soft tissue injuries is incompatible with EU Law. The PIC recommends that any person who sustains a soft tissue injury receive timely, appropriate and effective treatment as part of a standardised treatment plan.
- Timely and effective treatment will improve patient outcomes and lead to downward pressure on costs associated with soft tissue injuries.
- In furtherance of this aim, the PIC recommends the development and roll out, in all relevant locations, of best practice ‘standard treatment plans’ that focus on recovery, alongside awareness and promotion of best treatment practices.
- The PIC recommends that in cases where an insurer deals directly with a claimant, no off er in settlement or payment of a personal injury claim should be made unless and until a medical report has been obtained
- Claimants, for their part, must give prompt notification of any potential injury claim so that a proper investigation of the accident circumstances may be undertaken by a defendant.
- The PIC believes the issue of exaggerated and fraudulent claims needs to be addressed by the development and deployment of suitable strategies, including technological strategies, to prevent and detect such activity. Fraudulent activities currently carry a low risk of detection and an even lower risk of prosecution and these are factors which tend to foster and encourage the continuance of the problem.
- The PIC recommends the establishment of an Irish Garda Fraud Investigation Bureau along the lines of the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) in the UK, without further delay.
- The PIC recommends that insurers step up their anti-fraud capacity through the recruitment of suitably trained personnel and the development of various technological means of combating fraud.
- The PIC recommends that insurers and other relevant parties consider adopting the same internationally recognised injury coding system.
- The PIC recommends that the insurance industry establish a national medical research study on the prevention and management of soft-tissue (‘whiplash’) injuries.