Sweeping new legislation will shortly come into force which will significantly increase the powers of the Injuries Board (PIAB) which make it much more difficult for people to make fraudulent Personal Injury claims such as Whiplash claims.The target of this new legislation is to reduce the high number of personal injury claims, such as Whiplash which are causing a significant overloading of our courts and which increase the cost of insurance for hard pressed motorists and business owners. Courts will soon be able to stop a personal injury claim if the Personal Injury claimant has failed to co-operate with the Injuries Board (PIAB) charged with assessing their claim.
The Injuries Board claims both that it can process a personal injury claims faster than the courts can, and that they will cost the Personal Injury claimant much less than going to court. But, a significant number of Personal injury cases, such as whiplash claims, avoid dealing with the Injuries Board in the hope of securing a bigger award of damages from the courts. Statistics have proved that many have benefited from doing just that. It is hoped that the Injuries Board’s new system will discourage claimants from ignoring the agency and that Courts will start issuing awards that reflect the PIAB Assessments.
In the new system, Personal Injury claimants will be penalised for failing to attend the Injuries Boards medical examinations. There will also be significant penalties arising for those who refused to provide the Injuries Board with details of their alleged loss of earnings as a result of the Personal injury they are making. The Injuries Board will be able to make no award to Personal Injury claimants who do not comply with their procedures. When the Personal Injury claimant subsequently brings their case to the courts, the Injuries Board will notify the court that the person did not follow the system.
The court will then have the option to deny the Personal Injury claim on that basis. Figures released by the Injuries Board recently showed that the average award for a whiplash claim in Ireland was just short of €20,000. That is an alarming four times higher figure than the payouts for similar Whiplash claims in the UK. The Injuries Board study of the amounts it awarded found that around 70% of all road traffic accident claims relate to whiplash injuries The Injuries Board currently claims it processes Personal Injury claims on average within seven months, compared to court cases which can take several years.
It is claimed that by strengthening the Injuries Board model, coupled with the work of the Personal Injuries Commission and the complementary work of the Cost of Insurance Working Group will lead to the delivery of benefits, both for businesses and consumers. However, whatever the strengthening of the model, there are still significant flaws in the Injuries Boards’ workings. The Injuries Board still do not have a “Duty of Care” to people who avail of their service and until that is corrected significant problems will continue.
Also Read: How Much Do you Get for Whiplash in Ireland?