This edition was issued on 18 May 2022
Welcome to the latest edition of Personal Injury Commission News.
This edition provides updates on the Commission’s progress in opening up for onsite business following the renovation of its premises, including the ramp up of dispute resolution events being held in person and the imminent launch of our onsite Medical Suites.
I also provide updates on vaccination requirements for in-person medical assessments, future treatment disputes pursuant to the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017, progress on development of the Commission’s new Single Digital Platform and notification of a change to the Application to Admit Late Documents Form in the Motor Accidents Division.
I will be in touch with another edition of Personal Injury Commission News soon.
Judge Gerard Phillips
Volume of In-Person Dispute Resolution Events Increasing
Following the opening of the Commission’s brand-new President’s Court on Level 21 at 1 Oxford Street in mid-April, in-person conferences, hearings and mediations are now occurring onsite for the first time in two years.
As we continue opening up the Commission for onsite business, we plan to open our three new hearing rooms on Level 20 for dispute resolution events soon.
The volume of events being held in person will continue building gradually over the coming months as further hearing rooms that are being refurbished become available.
A comprehensive suite of safety measures has been implemented to ensure these events can proceed safely while pandemic conditions continue.
Online events, that the Commission successfully pivoted to in response to the pandemic, will also remain a key aspect of the Commission’s service offering ongoing to leverage the efficiency and accessibility benefits they afford.
Procedural Direction PIC 10 has been updated to reflect the Commission’s return to more business-as-usual operations. It reflects the Commission’s ongoing venue options that include in-person, audio-visual link, audio link or a combination of these. Please familiarise yourself with the updated Procedural Direction.
Medical Suites Set to Open on 1 June 2022
The Commission’s onsite Medical Suites on Level 8 at 1 Oxford Street are on track to open on 1 June 2022. The suites are an exciting development for the Commission as they will allow us to offer in-person medical assessments on the Commission premises for the first time.
Designed according to the Australasian Health Facilities Guidelines, the seven suites will support the Commission’s management of the medical assessment backlog and will be focused on providing the most in-demand assessments.
A comprehensive risk assessment has been conducted that will inform the operational measures the Commission will employ to keep everyone working in and attending the suites safe during the pandemic. These measures will be published in advance of opening.
The Commission is thankful to the Medical Assessors who have embraced this new way that Commission services will be offered and signed on to use the facility on a regular basis.
We are currently putting the finishing touches to the suites, arranging the last of the equipment and supplies for the rooms and finalising the resourcing, processes and protocols for running them.
The Commission looks forward to welcoming injured people to the suites from 1 June for their scheduled in-person medical assessments.
Medical Suites at the Commission
Changes to Protocols for In-Person Medical Assessments from 1 June 2022
From 1 June 2022, the Commission will allow people with medical exemptions evidenced by an Australian Immunisation Register form to attend in-person medical assessments, with appropriate controls to keep everyone involved safe. This change will improve access to medical assessments for unvaccinated claimants and workers who have been unable to attend assessments during the height of the pandemic.
The Protocols and Procedural Directions related to medical assessments will be updated and published in advance of the change.
Future treatment disputes pursuant to the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017
The Commission has received a number of enquiries from practitioners as a result of the issues dealt with in Obeid v AAI Ltd t/as AAMI  NSWPICMP 76 (5 April 2022). This decision found that there was no jurisdiction for the Commission to entertain a claim for future medical treatment expenses under the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 (MAIA).
Claims for future treatment can arise in a number of circumstances. It can be the single claim being advanced by a claimant in the Commission, it can be part of a claim for both future and past or incurred treatment expenses, or it can be a part of a claim for medical expenses (either past, future or both) which is within an application for a claims assessment. Clearly depending upon the circumstance in which the claim for future treatment arises, there may or may not be any need for there to be any change or modification to existing listing arrangements, for example dates for examination before a Commission Medical Assessor. All that would happen as things stand is that the Medical Assessor would not assess the claim for future medical treatment as there is no power to do so.
The Commission is currently reviewing MAIA claims for future treatment in order to ascertain the various classes of claims and how they need to be dealt with.
To be clear however, the Commission will not deal with matters where it has no power or jurisdiction to do so.
Development of the Commission’s New Dispute Management System Underway
The Commission has commenced the technical development of its new Single Digital Platform, that will eventually replace the two legacy dispute management systems the Commission inherited at its establishment.
The Commission is committed to delivering a platform for dispute resolution that is informed by the needs of users and provides an enhanced user experience for all of its stakeholder cohorts. The Commission will soon engage representatives of each cohort to participate in a series of software showcases to be held in the second half of 2022. At these showcases, the Commission will demonstrate how the system functionality will work and invite feedback for consideration.
We will keep you updated on the progress of the system development via Personal Injury Commission News over the coming months.
Application to Admit Late Documents Form – Motor Accidents Division
The Application to Admit Late Documents Form in the Motor Accidents Division has been updated.
The Form has been updated to address recent amendments to the Personal Injury Commission Rules 2021 (the Rules). In particular, the Form has been updated to remove reference to recently repealed rule 67(5) of the Rules.
The Form can be downloaded in the Motor Accidents Division Portal under the “Communications” tab. The Form must be read with rule 67 of the Rules and Procedural Direction PIC3 – Documents and late documents.
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