This edition was issued on 23 August 2022
Welcome to the latest edition of the Personal Injury Commission News.
This edition focuses on in-person medical assessments and our efforts to regularise the medical assessment list and get it back to a business-as-usual mode of operations.
I also look at the need to support the Commission’s front-end loaded system.
Following this is an update on the Commission’s single digital platform and a reminder about changes to the Stood Over List, due to take effect from 1 September 2022.
I will be in touch with another edition of Personal Injury Commission News soon.
Judge Gerard Phillips
In-Person Medical Assessments
Personal Injury Commission News editions 33 and 34 provided a great deal of information about the Commission’s medical assessment list and the challenges that the list has faced due to the pandemic, the bad flu season, floods and various strikes. As Personal Injury Commission News 34 detailed, we are planning to conduct a large number of appointments in September. Thus far over 460 medical appointments have been scheduled. We are looking to schedule more over and above this figure.
It is of the utmost importance that claimants who have an appointment scheduled by the Commission attend that appointment (unless there is good reason not to). If for whatever good reason an individual cannot attend a medical appointment, please let our Medical Services team know so that the appointment can be offered to another claimant.
As I have said in previous editions of Personal Injury Commission News, not only do we have the pandemic inspired backlog, we have continued to receive new applications involving applications for medical assessments being made at a very healthy rate.
With our joint efforts, sustained into next year, we will be able to regularise the medical assessment list and get it back to a much more business as usual mode of operations. We are a long way off that. This joint enterprise though is simply made much harder if claimants fail to attend examinations and don’t give the Commission the opportunity to reallocate that appointment.
Compliance program: Supporting the Commission’s front-end loaded system
This Personal Injury Commission News reinforces the Commission’s position that practitioners must comply with the Commission’s front-end loaded system by ensuring that matters are not lodged until they are ready to run. Practitioners must be familiar with, and comply with, the rules and procedural directions that support our front-end loaded system. The Commission will shortly deliver a focused compliance program but first, it wants to provide you with the details and operate a ‘grace period’ before it implements its more robust approach to compliance.
The Past - The Commission’s legacy organisations offered some scope to “to strap up the claim once it had been lodged” which is the anthesis of a front- end loaded system.
The Future - Since the Commission’s commencement on 1 March 2021, we have flagged that the “opportunity to strap up a claim” after lodgement was decreasing and would soon disappear. The Commission now wants to unambiguously signal that it will shortly commence its more robust enforcement of the rules and procedural directions that support its front-end loaded system. While practitioners must comply with all of the Commission’s rules and procedural directions, the Commission will deliver focused compliance campaigns over the next few months.
Compliance Campaign Number 1 - The first campaign commences today and is focused on improving compliance with procedural directions PIC 7 and PIC 6. In summary, after a short grace period, the Commission will rigorously pursue compliance with its requirements around indexing and paginating documents, as well as the requirement to produce sufficient evidence in support of applications for the assessment of a permanent injury dispute or a minor injury dispute.
Delivering Compliance Campaign Number 1 - PIC 7 and PIC 6
- Compliance with PIC 7 - The grace period starts today and will end on 30 October 2022; that is, rigorous enforcement will commence on 1 November 2022.
- Applications and replies will be rejected under Rule 17(2) of the Rules, if they are not filed with an indexed, paginated bundle of the documents that the applicant intends to rely upon (Rejection Mechanism).
- The Rejection Mechanism is supported by an updated PIC 7 which expressly states that non-compliant applications and replies will be rejected in most cases and further, that if non-compliant applications and replies are inadvertently accepted, Delegates of the President (DotP) will issue a direction that the application will not proceed until the application or reply is compliant with PIC 7 (Back-up Mechanism).
- In the unlikely event that non-compliant applications are not picked up by the Rejection and Back-up Mechanisms, Review and Appeal Panels will be encouraged to issue a time bound direction under Rule 128 and note that if:
- the applicant fails to comply with the direction, the matter may be referred for dismissal under section 54 of the Personal Injury Commission Act 2020 (PIC Act); and
- the respondent fails to comply with the direction and the respondent is an insurer, the Commission will (in addition to point i above, report the insurer to SIRA for failure to comply with their license conditions (i.e., compliance with PIC directions etc).
- Compliance with PIC 6 – The grace period starts today and will end on 30 October 2022; that is, rigorous enforcement will commence on 1 November 2022.
- Applications for assessments of a permanent injury dispute or a minor injury dispute. will be rejected if they are accompanied by “insufficient evidence in support” (Refusal Mechanism).
- PIC 6 has been amended to state that the relevant applications will be rejected if they do not fit a specified criteria or are otherwise accompanied by “insufficient evidence in support”.
- The Refusal Mechanism is supported by an updated PIC 6 that expressly provides that non-compliant applications will be rejected in most cases.
Single Digital Platform
I am very pleased to provide an update on the development of the Commission’s single digital platform. Development work with our service provider, SBC, continues to proceed. After delays earlier in the year occasioned by COVID (a number of team members either acquired the illness or were close contacts) the project has had in the recent past a period free of such interruptions and great progress has been made.
Currently, we are on track to make the system operational around April or May next year in the Motor Accidents Division, and two to three months later in the Workers Compensation Division. We will be consulting with a number of stakeholders in the near future regarding the design and development of the platform and we are currently planning the training and instruction which will take place in 2023 prior to each launch. This is a significant development for the Commission’s operations, and you will be kept informed as we reach various landmark events in the development of the platform.
In terms of the current platforms, given that they are both going to be decommissioned in 2023, we are simply maintaining their operations and are not undertaking any further development work. I note that there are still some problems experienced with the functionality of the motor accidents system. The fix to this problem is the commissioning of the new single platform.
Action Required by Motor Accidents Portal Users – Please Delete or Submit Draft Applications
The Commission is currently working on initial migration of data from the Motor Accidents Legal, Insurer and Claimant Portals in preparation for the move to the single digital platform. We have identified a high volume of draft applications in these current Portals. These drafts are holding up the first phase of data migration and will need to be deleted before we can progress this initiative.
The Commission asks that Portal users take action to delete any abandoned drafts or more importantly, submit any in-progress drafts, as this will enable only relevant data to be migrated.
Please delete or submit drafts by 5:00pm on 5 September 2022. Any drafts in ‘unsubmitted’ status after that date will be deleted. We will provide further information closer to the date. Thank you for your assistance.
If you have any questions regarding this please contact the support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Changes to the Stood Over List
As previously notified in PIC News 33 dated 26 July 2022, parties are reminded that from 1 September 2022 the Commission will no longer be sending reminders to parties of the upcoming Stood Over List expiry date. However, reminders will still be sent to self-represented claimants whose matters are on the Stood Over List. Practitioners should diarise the expiry date and contact the Commission to request that the matter is either restored or the time extended in the Stood Over List prior to the expiry date. Please note if the Commission does not hear from the parties before the expiry date, the matter may be dismissed.
In addition, those claims assessment matters that are currently before a Member and have been impacted by the current delays in medical assessments at the Commission for six months or more, may be referred by the Member to the Stood Over List. Once the medical proceedings have been finalised, the matters will be restored and referred back to the original Member for assessment.
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