COVID 19 and the impact it will have on Personal Injury claims
By Aisling Breen and Louise Smith
27 March 2020
Due to the ongoing global pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus, the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) has recently introduced new measures when submitting personal injury applications.
The usual protocol is for the applicant's solicitor to submit the application form together with their clients treating doctors medical report along with the requisite fee in order for PIAB to assess the compensation which they feel is adequate to the seeking party.
With the ongoing constraints caused by Covid-19, PIAB has acknowledged that there may be certain difficulties for solicitors trying to obtain medical reports from treating doctors. PIAB are willing to waive this requirement and instead have requested that a letter in lieu of the medical report should be provided confirming that a medical report has been commissioned and will in turn be provided to PIAB once in receipt.
This is an interim measure which will be in place until these uncertain times pass.
In order to delay the spread of the Covid-19 virus, many solicitors are now working remotely and as such do not have access to resources causing difficulty to submit applications by Post. The PIAB is encouraging solicitors to use the PIAB Solicitors’ Portal in order to submit these applications online. Many practices across the country are registered to use the PIAB Solicitors’ Portal. One major benefit of submitting the application online is the cost element. The cost to submit an application online is €45 versus €90 to submit a new claim application to the PIAB via Post.
The law governing the amount of time that a person has to bring a personal injuries claim is provided under the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004. A personal injury claim must be brought within two years from the date of the accident. Once the application is submitted to the PIAB the clock stops running. Another advantage to using the PIAB Solicitors’ Portal is that upon submission of the application the PIAB will issue an acknowledgement on the Solicitors Portal advising that the Statute has stopped.
Due to these uncertain times and with the Insurance claim industry thriving, one can only anticipate that there will be a backlog of claims which were already in the process along with a flow of new applications. One can only assume that these testing times will have a knock on effect later on down the line.
As the PIAB has now waived the requirement for a medical report to be submitted with new claim applications, this could cause potential difficulties for Insurance companies/Respondent when later responding to the assessment of compensation as the nature and severity of the claims being brought will be difficult to determine from a medical report completed some time after the alleged incident occurs.
For more information on the content of this Insight, please contact:
Louise Smith, Partner | E: firstname.lastname@example.org | T: +353 21 4802710