Injuries BoardThe Injuries Board website is the website of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board ,the government body set up under the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Acts 2003 and Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2007 . This is probably one of the first online resources used by victims of accidents  who intend bringing an action (or claim) to recover compensation for the wrong done to them. The rationale for setting up this board was to:

  • reduce costs associated with personal injuries litigation,
  • reduce the time for claims,
  • lower the cost of insurance.

To achieve these aims the system operated by the board is purposely designed to exclude the need for legal representation. This so-called   “Lawyer Free Zone” will be the foundation of a streamlined, simplified and cost-effective ( substitute: cheap, inexpensive, costing peanuts, for a song!)  process.

The promoters of the board made no bones about this at the time of its establishment. The preamble to the Act says “ An Act to enable, in certain situations, the making of assessments, without the need for legal proceedings ….”

PIAB  publishes in its statistics & annual reports cost savings they claim to have achieved. The board also boasts that it has reduced the time taken to deal with injury claims. This of course only applies to claims which are in fact finalised on completion of the board’s assessment. The reality of course is quite different.

A recent study which compared the Board’s statistics and those of the Courts Service (which records cases going through the courts) the conclusion was that parties were again turning to the courts to resolve their claims. In 2005 the Board reported in its annual report a 30% rejection rate of assessments and this has subsequently risen to 44%. Injured parties are influenced by higher awards achieved in court. Allied to this court awards will also carry an order for costs. The Injuries Board only awards costs in exceptional circumstances, and their average costs award is a miserly €390.

The Myth of the Lawyer Free Zone.

Sean O’Riordan is a partner at FitzGerald Solicitors Cork and specialising in Personal Injury Litigation.


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