In light of the ongoing disruption to services globally as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) issued a notice on the 13th March 2020 setting out new interim arrangements for the submission of personal injuries claims.
PIAB have recognised that people making new claims in respect of personal injuries are having difficulty obtaining medical reports from their doctors as a result of nationwide restrictions on visiting doctors’ surgeries in recent weeks. Accordingly, PIAB have agreed to temporarily waive the requirement for claimants to submit a treating doctor’s medical report when submitting a claim online. As an alternative, PIAB will accept a letter confirming that a medical report has been commissioned and will be forwarded to PIAB upon receipt.
This is good news for people seeking to submit a personal injuries claim at a time when normal operations have been disrupted across the country and will be of particular benefit to those whose claims would otherwise be barred as a result of the two-year time limit imposed on personal injuries claims in the Statute of Limitations.
PIAB have confirmed that this is an interim arrangement and PIAB will revert to normal operating procedures for online applications once the current difficulties pass.
In a statement issued on the 30th March 2020, PIAB also requested that where at all possible, people deal with their PIAB claims through electronic means, such as through the PIAB Solicitors Portal, the PIAB online claim submission channel, or by email. They have also encouraged use of the PIAB web chat facility and advised that telephone support is available in a limited capacity.
Further, PIAB have announced that all independent medical panel appointments previously scheduled for the month of April have been cancelled and will be rescheduled at a later point.
PIAB’s new measures are in line with those taken by other public bodies in the Irish legal system such as the Courts Service and the Property Registration Authority. These measures are designed to minimise the impact to the provision of services while supporting the national response to COVID 19 and protecting their staff. PIAB have confirmed that they will return to normal operations as soon as they are in a position to do so.
About the author: Mark Jones, Solicitor on the Medical Negligence Team