People making claims through the Personal Injuries Board (PIAB) process will have no choice but to attend a medical under new laws currently being drafted by government.
PIAB is Ireland’s independent (allegedly) state body, which assesses personal injury compensation for those that been injured in most accidents. It was established so people could avoid the costly courts system where possible, the often costly adversarial approach of the Courts system.
It has assessed more than 100,000 cases since it was set up in 2004.
Under the current model, PIAB does not appear to accept the medical evidence of the claimant’s doctors, even in the simplest of cases. It insists on sending the claimant to PIAB’s doctors ( many of whom previously were insurance company doctors with a bias against claimants !) following a claim.
However, if the claimant decides not to engage with this process and does not undergo this assessment, it is claimed that PIAB cannot make an informed decision.
The government’s new Bill aims to strengthen compliance with the board’s process, by ensuring claimant’s attend at medicals and provide all available information to ensure accurate assessments can be made.
The Department of Business hopes to have the drafting of the Bill completed this month and the minister will bring it to government for approval and publication.
However, Fianna Fáil are one step ahead of the government in terms of legislation having this week introduced its own Personal Injuries Board (Amendment) Bill 2018 in the Dáil.
The party’s finance spokesperson Michael McGrath’s Bill also aims to tackle this issue.
“Our bill provides that if a claimant fails to provide information or documents requested by the board or fails to attend a medical examination as requested by the board and if he or she subsequently brings legal proceedings, the court shall have regard to the failure to comply with the requests from the board,” he said
McGrath said his Bill will allow the judge’s discretion to rule that certain evidence (including medical evidence) is not admissible in court.
“Additionally, the court has discretion to determine that no award of costs may be made in favour of the claimant under these circumstances,” he said.