The Personal Injury Commission Act 2020 (“the Act”) commences on 1 March 2021 and will create a single Tribunal for the resolution of workers compensation and motor accidents compensation personal injury disputes called the Personal Injury Commission.
The Personal Injury Commission will incorporate the current functions of the Workers Compensation Commission under a Workers Compensation Division and will have a separate Motor Accidents Division to handle motor accident compensation claims. The current SIRA functions of DRS, CARS and MAS will be transferred to the new Commission.
The Act also creates a new agency called the Independent Review Office (“IRO”) which will include the previous functions of the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (“WIRO”) but also allow those injuries in motor vehicle accidents who have complaints about the CTP insurer to seek assistance from the IRO to dealing with those complaints.
Despite these changes we fear the IRO, like WIRO will not have a great deal of power when it comes to resolving disputes with insurers. Whilst WIRO under the current system can make recommendations to an insurer they have no power to enforce those recommendations or punish an insurer who is in default. More often than not, the insurer acknowledges the recommendation but makes no change, resulting in the matter being filed in the Workers Compensation Commission or the soon to exist Personal Injury Commission, unnecessarily wasting taxpayer funds.
We anticipate the Act may eventually be relied on to establish a system of legal assistance funding to those injured in a motor vehicle accident, like that which is currently available to NSW Workers under WIRO.
If you would like to know more about your rights regarding compensation, we would be pleased to speak with you to advise you about your options. You can either book an appointment online or call us on (02) 4050 0330 for an obligation-free consultation.