Those of you who have read my Guide Do I need a Solicitor when filing a PIAB Personal Injury Claim?: (see the Link to this Guide to the end of this BLOG) will be aware of the many difficulties which can arise for victims of accidents when filing a Claim with the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB), now to be known as the Personal Injuries Resolution Board (PIRB).
The definite consensus is that you need a solicitor to assist you when filing a Claim before the PIRB (or PIAB).
Now, with the enactment of the Personal Injuries Board Resolution Act 2022 and certain provisions which are to take effect on the 4th September 2023, matters are going to become even more complicated.
The Personal Injuries Board Resolution Act 2022 amends the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Acts 2003-2019.
Amendment of section 11 of 2003 PIAB Act (the “Principal Act”)
I have quoted below verbatim the amending Sect 3 of the 2022 Act, as failure to comply in full with these provisions will render your Application invalid:
3. Section 11 of the Principal Act is amended—
(a) by the substitution of the following subsection for subsection (1):
“(1) A claimant—
(a) shall make an application under this section to the Board for an assessment to be made under section 20 of his or her relevant claim, and
(b) may apply for resolution of his or her relevant claim by way of mediation under Chapter 1A.”,
(b) in subsection (3), by the insertion of the following paragraph after paragraph (b):
“(ba) copies of any documentation concerning the identity of the claimant where such claimant does not have a personal public service (within the meaning of section 262 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 ),”,
(c) by the insertion of the following subsection after subsection (3):
“(3A) Notwithstanding subsection (2) and any rules under section 46, an application under this section made on or after the commencement of section 3 (c) of the Personal Injuries Resolution Board Act 2022 shall not be an application for the purposes of section 50, unless it is signed by the claimant and includes confirmation of each of the following:
(a) the claimant’s name, date of birth, phone number, and the address at which he or she ordinarily resides;
(b) the claimant’s personal public service number (within the meaning of section 262 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 ) or, in any case where the claimant does not have a personal public service number, such other documentation concerning his or her identity as may be specified by rules under section 46;
(c) the name and address of the person or each of the persons who the claimant alleges in the application is or are liable to him or her in respect of the accident or incident concerned;
(d) the date and time on which it is alleged that the accident or incident the subject of the application occurred;
(e) a description of how and where it is alleged that the accident or incident the subject of the application occurred;
(f) a description of the personal injuries allegedly sustained by the claimant in the accident or incident the subject of the application;
(g) that the medical report enclosed with the application describes the personal injuries allegedly sustained by the claimant in the accident or incident the subject of the application.”.
According to PIAB, there are three key changes to be aware of:
- All PIAB application forms after the commencement of the legislation in September 2023 will require the Claimant’s signature, even where the Claimant is represented.
- All Applications to PIAB must be accompanied by a Medical Report prepared by a Medical Practitioner setting out the nature of the injuries allegedly sustained.
- All Applications will require more detailed descriptions in relation to when, where, and how the accident or incident causing the injury occurred.
Concerns expressed by the Law Society
The Law Society has already stated it`s view that significant access to justice concerns arise in respect of a number of the new Act`s provisions. These include proposals that submitting a PIAB application will no longer stop the clock on the Statute of Limitations unless:
- a Medical Report (describing the injuries) is enclosed with the PIAB Application; and
- Claimants have signed the PIAB Application Form prior to its submission (up to this it was sufficient for it to be simply uploaded online).
In May 2023 the Law Society met with PIAB to outline it`s concerns on these issues and to seek clarity around the provisions, which otherwise may be open to interpretation and challenge. Following this meeting the Law Society reports that it sought and held a meeting with the Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation on 19 July 2023 to highlight those concerns.
It seems however that the Minister is determined to press ahead with the commencement of this phase of the legislation on the 4th September, regardless of concerns expressed by the Law Society.
What happens if your Application is deemed incomplete?
In a Guide titled “Notification of Forthcoming Legislation Changes”, issued by PIAB, it is explained that if the Application is deemed to be incomplete, then PIAB will write to the Applicant (their Solicitor) outlining the information that is outstanding and request that the missing information be returned to PIAB within 28 days. The Guide then states that if at the end of the 28 days the Application remains “in an incomplete state”, the Application Fee will be returned to the Solicitor/Claimant and PIAB will close its file. PIAB explains that the effective Section 50 date (i.e, the date when the Statute of Limitations will stop running) will be the date when the “last piece of missing information is provided to PIAB”.
Claimants who commence their Claim late?
What if the Claimant is from outside Ireland and does not have a Personal Public Service number (an Irish PPS number is required) and, not being aware of the restricted 2 year compensation . It is usually three years for personal injury cases in Northern Ireland and two years for personal injury cases in the Republic of Ireland and six years for other claims. After this time, you are very unlikely to be able to make a claim, although there are exceptions to this. Your solicitor will advise you about the limitation period that applies in your particular case. This is a good reason for seeing a solicitor as soon as you think you may have a claim for compensation.</p> ">limitation period Statute of Limitations – Morgan McManus Solicitors, Monaghan, Ireland in Ireland (where the UK limitation period is 3 years) only consults his solicitor or tries to file his own Claim 4 weeks before the 2 year Limitation Period expires? In the normal course, the Claimant would be required to apply to the Department of Social Protection for the issue of a PPS number, but what if he cannot get that PPS number in time, so that his Application would be deemed to be “complete” by PIAB?
But what if you can`t get a Medical Report from your Medical Practitioner?
Where one has up to 2 years to file the PIAB Claim from the date of the accident, you might be forgiven for thinking that this is sufficient time within which to get a Medical Report. What however PIAB and the Minister appear to have overlooked the fact that many accident victims do not instruct a Solicitor immediately after their accident. A lot of this is largely due to the fact that many accident victims want to wait to see how their injuries resolve. Some might even not contemplate issuing a Claim, where they believe that their injuries will resolve within a short period of time. In many instances, it can be over a year before an accident victim will consider instructing their Solicitor. It is only at that point in time then that the Solicitor can write for a Medical Report.
We have many cases in our office where it has taken months to get a Medical Report from a Medical Practitioner. In one ongoing case we sought the Medical Report on the 7th September 2022 and, after many reminder letters and phone calls, we finally received the Report 10 months later, only to find that the Medical Practitioner had given the wrong history for the accident and it has been necessary to return the Report to the Medical Practitioner for amendment.
In another case, we wrote to the Medical Consultant in September 2021 and, having finally obtained an appointment for January 2022 for the client to be examined, we were forced to issue many letters of reminder, emails and phone calls to the Consultant’s secretary seeking the Report, only to receive the Report subsequently in January 2023. In that case the 2 year Limitation Period had actually expired, but we managed to get PIAB to accept the Application without the Report under Section 50 of the Act, and thus stop the Statute of Limitations running. That will no longer however be possible under the new Legislation.
It appears that every year the Minister continues to devise more stumbling blocks to put in front of accident victims, seeking ways in which to prevent them from issuing Claims, despite the many instances in which victims are genuinely injured in accidents. Yes, there have been instances where Claimants (a very small minority) have abused the system and have issued fraudulent claims. Must the genuine victim however suffer for this?
For further information on Accident / Personal Injury Claims you should contact:
Morgan McManus Solicitors
Have you read our Guides:
- The 7 immediate Steps I must take if I`m involved in a Road Traffic Accident: Morgan-McManus-7-Steps-To-Take-After-a-Car-Accident.pdf (morganmcmanus.com)
- The 7 immediate Steps I must take if I have been involved in a Workplace Accident: 7-Steps-to-Take-After-a-Workplace-Accident.pdf (morganmcmanus.com)
- Do I need a Solicitor when filing a PIAB Personal Injury Claim?: Do-I-need-a-Solicitor-when-filing-a-PIAB-Personal-Injury-Claim-FINAL.pdf (morganmcmanus.com)
*In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.