The SIRA Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) is adapting to COVID-19 with new procedures for medical disputes. These procedures are consistent with the requirements of the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 (1999 scheme), the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 (2017 scheme) and relevant guidelines.
New procedures for medical disputes
DRS will contact the parties involved to identify an appropriate pathway for resolution of medical disputes on a case-by-case basis. We will consider the following factors:
- the urgency of the matter
- the potential impact of delay on the injured person
- any COVID-19 wellbeing risks for the injured person or the assessor
- options for other modes of medical assessment to enable dispute resolution, and
- the feasibility of safe face-to-face consultation where required.
DRS will consider an appropriate pathway for the dispute; this may include:
- urgent matters that may proceed in-person - this will be only under exceptional circumstances, and with the approval of the Executive Director, DRS
- matters that may proceed via video conference or teleconference, such as a psychological examination
- matters that are suitable to be determined on the papers (or by any other means) in accordance with the relevant legislation and guidelines
- deferral of any disputes to a pending medical list.
Parties may apply to restore a matter from the pending medical list at any time in accordance with these procedures.
DRS apologises for the impact that deferral may have on individuals seeking resolution in their dispute and any disruption or inconvenience to medical assessors.
We will work to contact all parties to confirm how matters will proceed. We ask both insurers and legal representatives to identify any injured people with exceptional circumstances who may need special consideration due to the consequences of having their decision delayed.
Please contact DRS on 1800 34 77 88 to raise any concerns.
Dispute Resolution Service is open during COVID-19
DRS continues to provide essential services and is operating both remotely and with a small team in the Oxford Street office.
We will continue to accept and manage applications for disputes. We will progress all matters as far as possible within the COVID-19 restrictions and approach described above.
We are expediting our digital capability and asks stakeholders to submit documents by email to email@example.com to support this endeavour. This will enable a greater number of matters to proceed during this time.
We will continue to consider the way assessments and conferences are conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic and deliver alternatives as soon as possible.