What is PIAB and do you have to engage with them?
In 2003, the government introduced the Personal Injuries Assessment Board with the intention of increased efficiency and reduced costs for those who have been injured.
If you instruct a law firm about a personal injury, it is obligatory for a solicitor to apply to PIAB. This is a necessary step before bringing a trial to Court, and it is hoped that there will be no need to go if PIAB offers a substantive agreement.
To apply to PIAB, a solicitor must have a medico-legal report. The client will get this from their GP.
In circumstances where there is a psychological injury or the case is too complex, PIAB will not assess it but will issue an Authorisation, which is permission for you to go to Court.
Once we apply to PIAB, they get in touch with the party you are attempting to sue – known as the Respondent – and look for their consent. They have 90 days to respond. If they consent, PIAB will then begin to assess the claim. If they do not reply, that is deemed to be consent. If they do not consent, Authorisation will be issued to go to Court.
Once consent is received, a PIAB assessor will assess the case and suggest an appropriate award. This award is then offered to both sides, who can either accept it or reject it. This must be done within 21 days. If both accept it, it is seen as a Court order and legally binding. If either side rejects the award, then an authorisation will be issued to go to Court.
Image by Claim Accident Services from Pixabay
* In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.