From 14th December, the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) will be formally known as the Injuries Resolution Board.
The change marks the evolution of the board, who now have expanded its services to include mediation.
Simon Coveney, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, has signed a commencement order to implement the appropriate sections of the Personal Injuries Resolution Board Act 2022.
One of the key changes is the mediation service, which will be available from 14th December for employer liability cases. In 2024, this will be expanded to motor and public liability claims.
It is hoped that mediation will enable more personal injuries claims to be resolved in cost and time efficient ways.
The current application requirements remain the same. Most importantly, the mandatory nature of reporting personal injuries (except for medical negligence) must be reported to PIAB, if they are not settled in advance. As part of the application, if someone chooses mediation, it will be used as a first option and as an incentive, there’ll be no additional cost for mediation.
For employers, the formal notice from PIAB will now ask them whether they consent to:
- Mediation only
- Assessment only
- Both mediation and assessment
- Decline assessment to both mediation and assessment
Similarly, if an employer does not respond within 90 days, they will be deemed to have accepted to assessment. There is no implicit acceptance of mediation, as express consent from an employer will be required. However, the Injuries Resolution Board encourages employers to respond to the formal notice.
If both parties consent to mediation, the Injuries Resolution Board will arrange an appointment. Of note is that the mediation will be by phone calls, rather than meeting in person. Once consent is received from both parties, mediation will be scheduled quickly. A confidentiality agreement will have to be signed by both parties.
If mediation talks are successful, the mediator drafts a written version of the oral agreements. Both parties then sign and return. There are 10 days for either party to call off and change their mind. After 10 days, the parties are legally bound to the agreement and an Order to Pay will be issued.
If mediation talks are unsuccessful, the case will progress to assessment if the employer has consented to assessment. This will then act as a second, separate leg to the mediation process.
If mediation talks are unsuccessful, and there is no consent to assessment, an Authorisation will be issued and court proceedings can be issued, as normal.
It is hoped that mediation will take 3 months or less, but that if it goes to assessment that it takes 9 months.