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Minister Humphreys welcomes the publication of the First Report of the Personal Injuries Commission

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, today (Thursday) welcomed the publication of the First Report of the Personal Injuries Commission, which was established on foot of a recommendation of the Cost of Insurance Working Group.

Minister Humphreys TD, said “I believe that implementation of the actions in the Report of the Personal Injuries Commission will help to bring more consistency to medical reporting and diagnosis of personal injuries, leading to a better functioning personal injuries environment in the future.”

“This is an important and complex area which affects many individuals and virtually all sectors of society both in terms of the impact of accidents on injured parties and the cost of insurance premiums which policyholders pay.”

“I would like to pay tribute to Justice Nicholas Kearns, Chairperson, and to the members of the Personal Injuries Commission, for their ongoing commitment to this important work which, together with the work of Government’s Cost of Insurance Working Group, aims to deliver benefits for both businesses and consumers.”

Justice Nicholas Kearns, Chairperson added: “The key findings of the Report suggest that adopting a standardised and internationally recognised approach to the diagnosis, treatment and reporting of soft tissue injuries, by practitioners who are appropriately trained in the completion of personal injury medical reports, will improve the personal injuries environment in Ireland by promoting an objective standard for assessing such injuries.

The Commission is recommending that the Quebec Task Force (QTF) Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD) grading scale should be used going forward by all medical professionals reporting on relevant injuries. These are internationally recognised scales based on severity of symptoms and associated physical signs. Training and accreditation in soft tissue reporting is agreed as being a best practice requirement for those wishing to complete relevant reports.”

Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance and Chairperson of the Cost of Insurance Working Group, Michael D’Arcy TD, concluded: “I welcome the first Report of the Personal Injuries Commission and its recommendations. I believe that the ongoing work of the Personal Injuries Commission and the complementary work of the Cost of Insurance Working Group will contribute to a better functioning personal injury litigation system and will also help to deliver reduced premiums for businesses and consumers.”

ENDS

For further information contact Press Office, D/Business, Enterprise and Innovation ph. 6312200 or press.office@dbei.gov.ie

Notes for Editors

First Report of the Personal Injuries Commission

The establishment of the Personal Injuries Commission was one of the key recommendations from the Report of the Cost of Insurance Working Group on the Cost of Motor Insurance approved by Government and published in January 2017. The Personal Injuries Commission is chaired by Justice Nicholas Kearns.

The Cost of Insurance Working Group Report identified measures that could be introduced to help reduce the cost of motor insurance for consumers and businesses. In relation to personal injury claims the Report concluded that:

  • Awards for Personal Injury claims represent a significant component of an insurance company’s pricing model;
  • Soft tissue claims represent a significant component of personal injury (PI) claims;
  • Severity in soft tissue claims can be difficult to diagnose; and
  • Approaches that link diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and awards of damages should be examined.

The Personal Injuries Commission was established in January 2017, by the then Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, to investigate some of these issues further. The terms of reference for the Personal Injuries Commission are set out in the Cost of Insurance Working Group Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance. The Report is the first phase of an eighteen month work programme.

Since its establishment, the Personal Injuries Commission has been actively engaged in delivering in accordance with the terms of reference of its work. A considerable amount of research into approaches in other jurisdictions has been carried out along with a consultation exercise with the medical community and key stakeholder groups. 

This research and consultation has informed the key findings of the Commission’s First Report which suggest that adopting a standardised and internationally recognised approach to the diagnosis, treatment and reporting of soft tissue injuries will improve the personal injuries environment in Ireland. The Quebec Task Force (QFT) Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD) grading (0-IV) should be used going forward by all medical professionals reporting on relevant injuries. This is an objective scale based on severity of symptoms and associated physical signs used.

The use of a standardised medical reporting template, using internationally recognised scales, will bring more consistency to medical reporting and diagnosis.  A medical report template is provided in the Report.

The Commission are also recommending that training and accreditation of Medical Professionals who complete personal injury medical reports should be promoted. This should become ‘Best Practice’ and training should be at CPD level.

The Commission recommends the linking of future publications of the Book of Quantum to the newly standardised examination and reporting injury categories. The Book of Quantum which is published by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, provides information on prevailing personal injury award levels.

Finally, the Commission is recommending that relevant injury data should be collated and published by appropriate bodies.

The Personal Injuries Commission is chaired by Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns and comprises of representatives from stakeholders that include the Bar Council, the Law Society, Insurance Ireland, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association as well as the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Justice and Equality, the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, the State Claims Agency and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

 

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