Personal Injuries Assessment Board – Tips and Traps

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As I deal mainly with personal injury compensation claims I am often asked to explain the workings of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board PIAB. Mary Harney introducted PIAB in 2003 as she was under pressure from Insurance Companies to reduce compensation claims.
How it works
All injury claims, such as car accidents, accidents at work and trip/fall must be submitted in the first instance to PIAB. Medical or surgical procedures or claims involving psychological damage are excluded.
PIAB will not advise the injured person as to who to claim against. If the wrong person is named it will cause delay and may even lead to the claim being statute barred.
Claims must be accepted by PIAB within two years of the accident. A sneaky provision, however, (and little known generally) is under a 2004 Act where, a notice in writing of an intention to claim compensation must be sent within two months of the date of the accident. If not done there can be implications later in Court with regard to costs.

Assessments
PIAB assesses claims on the basis of medical reports and does not concern itself with the question of liability i.e. who is responsible for the accident.

When an assessment is made both the injured party and the person claimed against (usually the insurance company) can accept or reject the assessment. Only if both sides accept the assessment does it become payable. If either side rejects the assessment PIAB issues an “Authorisation” allowing proper Court proceedings to be taken.
In the assessment, PIAB factors in the Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme where Social Welfare payments are taken into account in the assessment setting out what payments are recoverable by the Department of Social Protection.
Legal Advice
The Injuries Board does not allow for legal fees. This is a major fault in the system. Without proper legal advice an injured party has to jump the legal hurdles, firstly in getting the claim right and then in making an informed decision whether to accept or reject the assessment. Legal advice is essential. There are certain implications later if Court proceedings are taken and these need to be clearly understood.
Injured persons should seek proper legal advice at the earliest opportunity. It is often said that “the layman who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client”! could be more true in dealing with claims with PIAB
When in doubt seek advice