Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Robert Troy has said that a new bill on the personal injuries system will provide guidelines, clarity and consistency and is another step towards insurance reform.
The new bill will be presented in the Dáil in the autumn and he expects that it will be enacted before the end of the year, he told RTÉ radio’s News at One.
“We want to bring down premium reductions for all our citizens and we feel that enhancing the role of PIAB is another way of doing that because we know through the most recent report of the Central Bank published in June of this year and the national claims database that on average the time to deal with a claim through PIAB was 1.8 years versus through litigation is 4.7 years and the legal fees associated with going through PIAB on average is €562 while through litigation is €18,2090.”
Mr Troy said that the Government knew it had to enhance the role of PIAB (Personal Injuries Assessment Board) and would be doing so by offering a mediation service for the first time.
“We know that works in the WRC, the PRTB and the financial ombudsman, we feel it will make a major contribution here. PIAB will, for the first time, be able to deal with claims of a wholly psychological nature, we’ll provide additional time to assess claims where an injury is yet to settle, seek proof of identity on application, the PPS number to help reduce fraud, strengthen the process by making it an offence to provide false or misleading information to PIAB and we’ll also better define the discretion available to courts in relation to where costs are awarded against.”
Mr Troy added that the general scheme proposes to better define the discretion available to the courts.
“It proposes that all or part of the respondent’s costs will be awarded against a claimant unless the court is of the opinion that to do so would give rise to an injustice and if that’s the case the decision will be required or the court will be required to include the reasons for its opinion because 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 personal injury guidelines have been implemented, they have brought clarity and they’ve brought consistency so people can have full confidence whether they go through litigation or whether they go through PIAB they will get the exact same award based on the personal injury guidelines.
“There’s no additional benefit to going to court and we know from the figures there is actually potentially additional substantial costs.
“What we’re doing here is providing a low cost, efficient way in which people who have a legitimate insurance claim to be dealt with in a timely and a cost effective manner. We’ve introduced personal injury guidelines, there’s clarity and there’s consistency so people know regardless of where you go, you’re going to get the same compensation. So why would anybody want to go, wait longer and cost more money to go to litigation?”