PIAB welcomes judicial guidelines
New guidelines on personal injuries
Saturday 6 March, 2021– The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) has today welcomed the publication of the Personal Injuries Guidelines by the Judicial Council.
PIAB Chief Executive Rosalind Carroll said: “The publication of the Personal Injuries Guidelines is an important step in the plan for Insurance Reform in Ireland. The guidelines, which will be used by both PIAB and the Judiciary to assess compensation in personal injury claims, will bring greater transparency and consistency to awards, and also importantly they will reduce the overall levels of awards in Ireland which were until now significantly out of kilter with other countries.”
“Insurance is something that affects all of us whether it is through the individual policies we pay for or by virtue of ensuring we have the childcare, sports and community facilities and businesses that we require as a society. The ultimate impact that we should expect to see from the new guidelines is a reduction in the cost of insurance, and in time the consistency and transparency gained from the guidelines’ usage should attract more competition into the Irish Insurance market.”
“For PIAB, as the main body charged with implementing these guidelines, what we hope they will achieve is more claims being settled through PIAB, and less cases going into costly and lengthy litigation. The Central Bank has found that the average legal costs in 2019 of settling personal injury claims in PIAB were under €800 – this compares to legal costs of just under €16,000 where a claim is settled via litigation.”
“The guidelines should result in more predictable court awards. This will mean parties involved in claims should have increased confidence in accepting PIAB awards and there will be no incentive to go to costly, unnecessary, and lengthy litigation. In this way, the new guidelines can significantly contribute to reduced claims costs, which insurers claim have contributed to high insurance premiums,” said the PIAB Chief Executive.
“The development of the new guidelines was a key recommendation from the Personal Injuries Commission which PIAB served on. The guidelines will replace the current Book of Quantum, which was developed by PIAB first in 2004, and although reviewed since was based on prevailing court awards and settlements. The new guidelines re-set award levels for Ireland and must be used by both PIAB and the Courts. The new guidelines also have more detail with the inclusion of a broader range of injuries. This too will enhance consistency and transparency in this area.”
“The next step for PIAB will be to examine the guidelines in detail to ensure our systems and processes are ready when they become law. The Minister for Justice has said she intends that the new Personal Injuries Guidelines will come into effect as soon as possible and will apply to all cases that have not yet been assessed by PIAB, and that she will bring forward proposals to Cabinet on the implementation of the new guidelines.”
- The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) is Ireland’s independent State body which assesses personal injuries compensation claims in a quick and cost-efficient way, ensuring fair treatment for all parties. PIAB removes unnecessary delivery costs while ensuring consistency of awards. It assesses compensation for injuries suffered by people in motor accidents, work place accidents or public liability cases.
- In the period 2017 to 2019, 19,104 PIAB awards were accepted by both parties. A PIAB award accepted by both parties has similar status to a Court Order. PIAB awards are based on prevailing compensation levels, as outlined in the Book of Quantum.
- All motor, public and employer personal injuries claims must be made to PIAB in the first instance if they are not settled directly between the parties. Claims cannot proceed to court unless an application has been made to PIAB and an authorisation has been received from PIAB. Therefore, PIAB will deal with the vast majority of cases under the new guidelines.
- The Central Bank of Ireland report in November last showed the major benefits in terms of cost and time savings of PIAB vis-à-vis litigation, for the resolution of personal injury claims. The report found that award amounts from PIAB and through litigation were broadly similar. The PIAB process was far less costly in terms of legal costs and its delivery was also much quicker, the report showed – 2.9 years from accident to resolution in PIAB, compared to 4.7 years through litigation.
- Previously, PIAB had regard to the values contained in the Book of Quantum when making an assessment of compensation. From the operative date (yet to be determined), PIAB will assess cases on the same basis as the Courts which must use the judicial guidelines.