The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) now known as Injuries Board.ie is a Statutory Body set up pursuant to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act of 2003 (as amended).
With the exception of medical negligence cases, all personal injury actions in Ireland must proceed through the Injuries Board before a Plaintiff is entitled to issue legal proceedings.
The Plaintiff (claimant) through his solicitor, must submit a medical report setting out the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries, the impact that the injuries have on the plaintiff and the future prognosis in respect of recovery etc.
The plaintiff must also submit evidence of written notification to the proposed defendants indicating the plaintiff’s clear intention to seek compensation as a result of the incident complained of.
An application fee is also required, currently in the sum of €45 and an Application Form, Form A, must be completed accurately and submitted with the other documents.
Time Limits on making a claim
It is essential that the claim is submitted within two years from the date of the injury. In some cases this may be extended, but as a general rule, an application for compensation to the Injuries Board must be submitted within this time period as stipulated by Statute.
There are other time limits and it is extremely important that legal advice be obtained as soon as possible in relation to any claim for compensation as it vital to have the correct particulars, such as the correct legal identity of the proposed defendant and the correct particulars of injury etc submitted within the required period.
When an application is made to the Injuries Board, the Injuries Board check to see if all of their requirements are met and if so, acceptance of the application will be acknowledged.
Typical time length of claims process
The defendant then has three months from that date to decide whether they wish to consent to the assessment process. If they indicate that they are consenting to the process, then the Injuries Board have a period of nine months from that date to make an assessment in the case.
This period can be extended for a further period of six months in certain circumstances. Where a Defendant does not consent to the assessment, a document called an authorisation will be issued by the Injuries Board which entitles the Plaintiff to issue legal proceedings.
When the Defendant consents to an assessment and the Board decide it is appropriate to proceed to an assessment, then an assessment will be made by the Injuries Board usually after a period of about one year from the initial application to the Board.
The Plaintiff, in consultation with his solicitor, has a period of 28 days in which to indicate his acceptance or otherwise of the assessment. The Defendant has a period of 21 days in which to accept or reject the assessment.
Going to Court option
Where a Plaintiff or Defendant rejects the assessment, an Authorisation will issue from the Board which entitles the Plaintiff to proceed to prosecute his/her case through the Courts system.
Assessments made in the case of Minors (persons under 18) are subject to Court Ruling by the appropriate judge.
The Injuries Board estimate that approximately 60% of their assessments are accepted by both the Plaintiff and the Defendant, but this figure could be substantially lower as assessments are often accepted in minor cases, but this is to protect the interest of the minor and the said assessments are rejected at ruling stage.
Medical Reports and Expense Receipts
It is important to remember that an assessment is largely based upon medical reports submitted. A Plaintiff is referred by the Injuries Board following his application to the Board to a doctor or specialist for independent review and this report in addition to the plaintiff’s own medical report is used to assess the amount for general damages (pain and suffering to date and into the future) by the Board.
In addition, special damages, which are out of pocket expenses such as medical expenses, loss of earnings, travelling expenses, material damages etc are also included by the Board in arriving at an assessment. A small contribution towards legal fees is sometimes included and a contribution towards the cost of a medical report is usually included in the assessment as well.