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Saturday 3 December 2016

Never mind the common good, let's all lodge a compo claim

Published 01/05/2016 | 02:30

"There is no consistency in the awards made in courts for personal injuries claims."

The other night, when going up the stairs to bed, I fell. I banged my chin on one of the steps. It was cut and bruised.

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There is only one thing for it - I am going to take a personal injuries case.

Never mind that it was my fault I fell up the stairs, that I had a few glasses of wine on board, or that I was in my own house. There must be someone to blame, and there usually is.

Ah yes, the stairs manufacturer.

Why was there was no warning attached to the stairs to caution me that I might slip and fall? And the maker of the stairs has not contacted me, ever, to inform me that the stairs might be unsafe.

I know one of those solicitors being investigated by the Law Society over suspicions of bulk-buying personal-injuries actions from claims-harvesting websites. This solicitor will no doubt find me a doctor who will give me the required medical report outlining the full extent of my injuries, and more.

The solicitor - it would be unfair to call him an ambulance chaser - will know the trick about getting the case out of the hands of the Injuries Board, as that State body does not pay lawyer fees and has not upped the compensation it pays in years.

The trick is to claim psychological damage, which the Injuries Board can't deal with. This will get the case released to the courts where a lottery-style win is more likely.

No doubt the solicitor will turn cartwheels to ensure that I get a soft judge - one of those who does not expect claimants to exercise any personal responsibility.

Instead, I expect the beak to disregard the common good and give me a big award, as so often is the case lately. Sure 'tis free money they are giving out - and some insurance company with deep pockets will pay.

No, no, no. Big compensation pay-outs do not end up pushing up premiums, and do not foster a "compo culture". That is just a myth put out by insurance companies to explain their losses.

Insurers got involved in an unsustainable price war, failed to put enough reserves aside, so it is a bit much for them to be lamenting a "compo culture".

It's all their own fault.

I have a fair chance of success in my personal injuries claim - even though I did not miss work, did not have to seek medical attention for the "injuries", and the accident was entirely my fault.

There is no consistency in the awards made in courts for personal injuries claims.

Sure I might even get €80,000! Once my lawyer gets his share, then I will be rolling in it.

We dodgy claimants can only be thankful that judges are so naïve and generous in this State.

What a great little country.

Sunday Indo Business

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