12 July 2017
By Elaine Murphy
Tougher New Rules Introduced for Personal Injury Claims
The government is aiming to drive more personal injury claims through the state’s Personal Injury Assessment Board, with the aim of reducing the cost of motor insurance, including here in Cork.
All personal injury claims must go through the Injuries Board, but not all do, as some are diverted to court.
There has been a substantial rise in the cost of insurance in recent times. Car insurance in particular has shot up in recent years and many people are now struggling to pay the rising costs. Many people are being hit with hikes in their premiums of between 30% and 40% – hefty increases that are forcing some to drive without insurance and risk the stiff penalties that come with it. Others are being forced off the road altogether, as the costs of insurance have become too high.
Amending the Law
The Injuries Board will gain new powers under legislative changes now in the works. The body was established in 2004 as a way for the public to make claims for compensation if they were involved in an accident and were injured as a result, and to do so at a low cost. It does not, however, deal with medical negligence cases.
The amendments to the law will also see changes to the compensation guide known as the Book of Quantum. When the revised law takes effect, it will be subject to review every three years, so that compensation figures will better reflect the types of accidents and injuries people are claiming for.
Enterprise Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that overall, the new rules would mean the Injuries Board would be bolstered operationally and that the public would benefit as a result.
“The objective of this Bill is to further strengthen the low-cost claims settlement model which the Personal Injuries Assessment Board provides. By encouraging more claims to be settled at an earlier stage, we can take many costs out of the settlement process,” she said. “These savings should ultimately benefit the consumer through lower insurance costs.”
Looking for Solicitors in Cork
People in Cork who have been injured in an accident that they did not cause can apply directly to the Injuries Board to get a claim started. Many will do so with the assistance of a solicitor experienced in handling personal injury claims. This is so their case will receive maximum attention and stand the best chance of being successful and therefore result in a financial award.
Experienced solicitors in Cork are able to fully represent their personal injury clients’ best interests, instead of leaving it all to the internal workings of the Injuries Board and hoping for the best. It may happen that the Injuries Board awards a financial payment to a Cork victim but the claimant may think it is too low and then take their case further, to court. That presents a long and potentially expensive course of action that could have been prevented if a solicitor was dealing with the Injuries Board on a victim’s behalf.
Under the new rules, it will no longer be possible for those making claims to the Injuries Board to avoid submitting a medical report. This is something that has been common up to now and that has allowed people to avoid using the Injuries Board and go to court in the hope of getting higher compensation. For its part, the insurance sector has welcomed the amendments, but said more stringent measures are still needed.