A Government initiative to increase the number of personal injury claims settled through mediation came into force in February 2023.The Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy published the Personal Injuries Resolution Board Bill 2022 in August 2022. The Publication of the Bill was a milestone in the Action Plan for Insurance Reform and in delivering a Programme for Government commitment to enhance and reform the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB). The Government steered this legislation through the Oireachtas with the stated aim of reducing the expense and time associated with personal injuries litigation.

Announcing the publication of the Bill, the Minister said, “Delivering effective and impactful reform of PIAB to reduce the cost of litigation and ultimately premiums has been a priority of mine since taking office.

“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 new law aims to reduce the number and costs of personal injuries claims. Minister of State Dara Calleary, announcing the commencement order last month, said the impact of insurance reform “is beginning to be seen in motor insurance prices”, and he urged that the benefits should also be realised in employer and public liability business lines.

He said the new law will encourage more claimants and respondents to avail of an enhanced personal injuries resolution service, reducing the need to go to court and reducing the cost of personal injury claims.

Under the new measures claimants who proceed with a court action after rejecting an assessment by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) of the value of their claim will not recover their legal costs and may face paying the other side’s costs if the court ultimately awards them a lower amount than the PIAB assessment.

PIAB will have more time to assess claims where an injury has yet to settle and will also assess claims of a wholly psychological nature. It will be an offence to supply false information to PIAB, and the legislation empowers PIAB to disclose information to an Garda Síochána.

Further provisions due to be commenced in the coming months will allow an enhanced resolution board to offer mediation as a means of resolving a claim. All personal injury claims, with certain exceptions such as medical negligence cases, must be submitted to PIAB unless they are settled by the parties involved at an early stage.

Minister Calleary said he will seek to ensure the remaining provisions of the new Act are introduced at the earliest opportunity.

NB – This is a guide for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have an issue requiring legal advice, please contact any of the team at Nolan Farrell & Goff LLP, whose numbers can be found on our website www.nfg.ie, or email info@nfg.ie.