Some changes have been made to the way in which personal injury claims are to be pursued in Ireland; some of the changes commenced in January 2019, others from April 2019.
Let’s take a look.
Section 8 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 provides that a letter of claim must be served within 2 months of the date of the cause of action. From January 2019 this has been reduced to 1 month.
The amended section 8 also states that the court hearing the action shall draw such inferences as appear proper from the failure to serve the letter; it was the case that the court “may” draw such inferences.
Here is the amended section 8:
Letter of claim.
8.—(1) Where a plaintiff in a personal injuries action fails, without reasonable cause, to serve a notice in writing, before the expiration of F1 [ one month from the date of the cause of action, ] on the wrongdoer or alleged wrongdoer stating the nature of the wrong alleged to have been committed by him or her, F1 [ the court hearing the action shall ]—
( a) draw such inferences from the failure as appear proper, and
( b) where the interests of justice so require—
(i) make no order as to the payment of costs to the plaintiff, or
(ii) deduct such amount from the costs that would, but for this section, be payable to the plaintiff as it considers appropriate.
(2) In this section “date of the cause of action” means—
( a) the date of accrual of the cause of action, or
( b) the date of knowledge, as respects the cause of action concerned, of the person against whom the wrong was committed or alleged to have been committed, whichever occurs later.
Section 14 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 provides for a verifying affidavit. This section is changed as follows:
(4A) Where there is a failure to comply with subsection (4) , the court hearing the personal injuries action concerned shall—
(a) draw such inferences from the failure as appear proper, and
(b) where the interests of justice so require —
(i) make no order as to the payment of costs to the party responsible for the failure, or
(ii) deduct such amount from the costs that would, but for this subsection, be payable to the party responsible for the failure as it considers appropriate. ]
These changes came into effect from 28th January 2019.
Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2019
This act commenced on 3rd April 2019. Some of the “highlights” include:
- Section 51C provides that the Court may penalise claimants and respondents as to costs where they have not complied with a request made by the PIAB assessors for additional information or documents; to provide assistance to experts retained by the PIAB or furnish information or documents or co-operate with those experts; or for the claimant to submit himself or herself to a medical examination.
- A medical report is not now necessary with the application to the Injuries Board to stop the clock from running for the Statute of Limitations; submitting form A is sufficient and PIAB will serve a preliminary notice on the respondent but will not serve the formal section 13 notice and commence the 90 day period until a medical report is received.
Here is the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2019 in full.