This edition was issued on 5 December 2022
Welcome to the latest edition of the Personal Injury Commission News.
This edition reflects on the success of our recent inaugural Medical Assessor Forum, the appointment of Michael Perry as an Acting Deputy President of the Personal Injury Commission’s Workers Compensation Division, requirements around resolved disputes, the recent amendments to the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017, and a reminder about our Christmas shutdown period.
I will be in touch with another edition of Personal Injury Commission News soon.
Inaugural Medical Assessor Forum
On Saturday 5 November the Commission’s inaugural Medical Assessor Forum was held. This was the first time since the Commission was established that we’ve been able to get our Medical Assessors together in-person, owing to the circumstances dictated by the pandemic.
I was delighted to finally be able to thank them face-to-face, all together, for their incredible efforts and dedication to the Commission over the past couple of years.
We enjoyed a packed agenda, hearing from guest speakers on a range of topics relevant to the work of our Assessors and facilitating robust and interesting panel discussions. We received incredibly positive feedback from attendees, and I very much look forward to next year’s event.
Appointment of Michael Perry as an Acting Deputy President
Michael Perry has been appointed as an Acting Deputy President of the Personal Injury Commission’s Workers Compensation Division, as of 22 November 2022.
Michael is a highly regarded member of the Bar, who has been practising since 1989, specialising in the areas of personal injury, public liability, employment and industrial law, and judicial review.
Michael is an experienced decision maker, having previously sat as an arbitrator in the Local Court of NSW, an arbitrator in the Workers Compensation Commission and also a non-presidential Sessional Member of the Personal Injury Commission.
Michael’s legal knowledge, integrity and professionalism is highly regarded, and I am confident that Michael’s skills and experience will be an asset to the Commission in the determination of Presidential appeals.
Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 Amendments
The Motor Accident Injuries Amendment Act 2022, which makes a number of changes to the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017, was given assent on 28 November 2022. While most of the amendments commence on 1 April 2023, some took effect from the date of assent.
Of those effective as of 28 November, the most relevant to the PIC include:
- Section 7.19 has been amended to exclude the requirement for an internal review in medical disputes concerning whole person impairment. Internal reviews remain as a requirement in all other medical disputes. Any decision made by the insurer in relation to whole person impairment after 28 November does not require an internal review before an application can be made at the Commission.
PIC Rule 105 and Procedural Direction MA6 will soon be amended to reflect this change.
- Section 6.14(1) has been omitted, removing the requirement that 20 months had to elapse before a damages claim could be made on the insurer. Section 6.14(2) remains, and claims must still be made on the insurer within three years of the date of accident.
- Section 7.33, has been omitted, removing the requirement that a claim must be referred for assessment within three years of the date of accident, unless a full and satisfactory explanation for the delay was provided to the Commission, and the Commission grants leave. Claims can now be referred for assessment to the Commission at any time, and the Commission no longer needs to grant leave in circumstances where the application referring the claim was, at the time, made late.
PIC Rule 94 and Procedural Direction MA7 will soon be amended to reflect this change.
- Section 6.23(1) has been omitted, and claimants who have less than 10% whole person impairment are no longer prevented from settling a claim within two years of a motor accident. A claim can now be settled at any time.
PIC Rule 95(2) and Procedural Direction MA3 will soon be amended to reflect this change.
Most other changes take effect on 1 April, including:
- Minor injury
- The term “minor injury” has now been omitted and will be known as “threshold injury”.
- The definition remains the same, in that it still refers to a soft tissue injury, or a psychological or psychiatric injury that is not a recognised psychiatric illness.
- Statutory benefits weekly payments
- Payments of weekly benefits are to increase from the current 26 weeks to 52 weeks for those injured who are at fault or who have minor injuries.
- Dispute types
- A number of amendments to dispute types in Schedule 2, including removal of two merit review matters (1)(l) and (m) and changes to medical assessment matters and claims assessment matters.
New Notice of Discontinuance Form for Resolved Disputes – Motor Accidents Division
Where parties to proceedings resolve the dispute(s) that are the subject of the proceedings, the proceedings must be formally finalised. This can be done in a number of ways under the Personal Injury Commission Rules 2021 (Rules). For example, the Rules allow for a dispute to be determined by consent order, as provided for in rule 71.
Alternatively, the proceedings can be discontinued under rule 76. If the proceedings are to be discontinued, the party who commenced the proceedings should lodge a Notice of Discontinuance with the Commission. The Notice will be sealed and a sealed copy provided to the parties. The Notice of Discontinuance can be found on the Commission website via Lodge a Dispute.
Christmas / New Year Shutdown
Our operations will completely shut down from Monday, 26 December 2022 to Friday, 6 January 2023.
A reminder of the key points to note:
- The last official sitting day of the Commission will be Friday, 16 December 2022 however, matters may be listed by exception during the week of 19 December 2022;
- There will be no medical assessments conducted between Friday, 23 December 2022 and Friday, 6 January 2023;
- There will be no certificates issued between 23 December 2022 and 6 January 2023;
- Preliminary conferences and medical assessments will recommence on Monday, 9 January 2023; and
- Conciliation/arbitrations, assessment conferences, and mediations will recommence on Monday, 16 January 2023.
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