Author:Ms Lea Devitt
Profession:Dillon Eustace

1. Introduction

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board ("PIAB") is

a statutory body, which came into force under the Personal

Injuries Assessment Board Act, 2003, ("PIAB Act").

The PIAB Act has commenced in its entirety since the 22nd July

2004. PIAB, together with the Civil Liability and Courts Act,

2004, (the "2004 Act") which was brought into effect

on the 20th September 2004, have changed practice and procedure

in civil actions in Ireland.

PIAB's function is to assess compensation to be paid to

individuals for pain and suffering in respect of personal

injury where legal issues are not in dispute. Claimants are

also entitled to claim for financial loss arising as a result

of personal injury.

The establishment of PIAB was motivated by lobbying on

behalf of the business and insurance industries. The insurance

industry blamed the high cost of insurance on the legal costs

associated with litigation. The government's ambition was

to put in place an organisation to assess the amount of damages

a person should receive in respect of injuries, without the

necessity of bringing legal proceedings.

Since the establishment of PIAB, Claimants are not entitled

to issue court proceedings in civil actions but must apply

firstly to PIAB to have their claim assessed. Exceptions to

this rule are:-

(a) claims arising out of a medical or surgical procedure

(medical negligence);

(b) claims where aswell as damages for personal injuries

there is a bona fide intention to pursue damages in respect

of other causes of action (such as for example slander);

(c) Garda compensation claims made under the Garda

Siochana Compensation Acts, 1941-1945;

(d) claims where it is alleged that there has been a

breach of a provision of the Constitution;

(e) claims pursued under Section 3 of the European

Convention on Human Rights Act, 2003;

(f) claims which involve the Motor Insurers' Bureau of

Ireland as a Respondent/Defendant, does not appear to be

covered by the PIAB Act which specifically only applies to a

civil action by a person against another person arising out

of that others ownership, driving or use of a mechanically

propelled vehicle.

2. Discretion not to arrange an Assessment

Under Section 17 of the PIAB Act, PIAB can exercise its

discretion not to arrange an assessment and this may occur


(a) there is no case law or a sufficient number of

settlements in relation to a particular type of personal

injury to which the claim relates;

(b) the medical issues in the claim are particularly

complex involving the interaction between a number of

different injuries including pre-existing conditions;

(c) the injuries consist wholly of one part of

psychological damage, the nature and extent of which it would

be difficult to determine in an assessment;

(d) there is a bona fide claim for aggravated or exemplary


(e) the claim arises out of a trespass to the person;

(f) the gravity of the injury is such that there is a real

danger that the Claimant might die and an early trial would

be ordered;

(g) the period of time for making the assessment would

have to be deferred beyond nine months (in order that a long

term prognosis in respect of the injury can be made);

(h) the person purporting to act as Next Friend or

Guardian or Respondent has a conflict of interest;

(i) the claim is of a type which PIAB has the consent of

the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform declared

that there are good and substantial grounds for its not

arranging an assessment.

3. The PIAB Application

An application can be made to PIAB in accordance with

Section 46 of the PIAB Act. The application is made by way of a

Form A, which is available to download from the PIAB website.

The form must be returned to PIAB with a fee of 50.00

imposed on the Claimant by PIAB. The Application Form must be

accompanied by a Letter of Claim (as specified under Section 8

of the 2004 Act); copies of correspondence relating to the

claim; a medical report; and any documentation which PIAB

considers relevant.

The official date of the making of an application under

Section 11 of the PIAB Act (which is the date on which the

clock stops for the Statute of Limitations) is the date on

which the fully completed Form A and the information required

by PIAB under Section 11 of the Act, is acknowledged in writing

as having been received by PIAB.

4. The Letter of Claim to be Submitted with the PIAB


There is interplay between the PIAB Act and the 2004 Act.

Under Section 8 of the 2004 Act, a Plaintiff is required in a

personal injuries action to serve a notice in writing to the

alleged wrongdoer, before the expiration of two months from the

date of the cause of action, setting out the nature of the

wrong alleged to have been committed by him. If a Plaintiff

fails to do this, the court can award cost penalties against

the Plaintiff at the...

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