An Introduction to the new Personal Injury Commission
For anyone who has ever been hurt at work or in a motor vehicle accident claim you would know that the claims process is not always straightforward. Particularly when the insurer handling the claim disputes the claim or part of the claim.
Previously, depending on the type of claim, the dispute with the insurer could have been handled by one of many bodies including the Workers Compensation Commission (WCC), Dispute Resolution Service (DRS), Claims and Resolution Service (CARS) and the Medical Assessment Service (MAS).
However, on 1 March 2021, these dispute bodies merged as one to form the Personal Injury Commission (‘PIC’).
This is a significant event in the judicial system, that will hopefully simplify the dispute resolution process and allow individuals to have their cases heard fairly, quickly and in a cost-efficient way.
The purpose behind the PIC is to provide a “one stop shop” for anyone who is injured at work or in a motor vehicle accident. The new Commission will consist of two specialist divisions, one for workers compensation and one for motor accidents, which will be overseen by an independent judicial president, Judge Gerrard Phillips.
Judge Philips' intentions in the design of PIC was to provide an accessible, professional, and transparent tribunal for all and to encourage early dispute resolution that deals with the “real issues” in each individual matter.
The PIC will resolve claims in a less formal way than court proceedings, which means proceedings may be heard by way of telephone or video, rather than a formal hearing.
The PIC will not change the benefits and entitlements of an injured person. This ensures that there is minimal impact on the legislation, schemes and guidelines currently governing the workers compensation and motor accident schemes.
This new tribunal hopes to assist and dispense justice to injured persons and insurers in a fair, efficient, and timely fashion.
It is important to know that the PIC allows injured persons and insurers to be represented by a lawyer or an agent (such as a union representative) to ensure fairness and professionalism is provided to all, in the event a claim revolves into a dispute.
If you are injured at work or in a motor accident you should contact our office to speak to one of our Accredited Specialists in Personal Injury law. We can provide you with immediate advice in relation to the benefits available to you under both schemes and then assist you with resolving any dispute with the insurer.