Friday 22 March 2019

99m euro paid out in 2017 over medical negligence

The Courts Service also revealed in its annual report that there has been a huge rise in defamation cases.

Negligence payouts were up by six million euro, figures showed (Peter Byrne/PA)
Negligence payouts were up by six million euro, figures showed (Peter Byrne/PA)

By Aoife Moore, Press Association

Medical institutions in Ireland paid out more than 99 million euro last year for negligence, according to the Courts Service.

The Courts Service Annual Report reveals there were 50 cases of medical negligence in 2017.

The lowest amount awarded was 17,500 euro, while the highest payout totalled 15 million euro, an increase of six million euro from 2016.

Overall, of the 206 million euro awarded for all personal injury claims, medical negligence accounts for almost half the total payout.

The report shows that of the 665,000 new matters before the courts, there have been huge increases in defamation cases – up almost 85% – while European Arrest Warrants have jumped by 42% to 344 from 243 in 2016.

There has also been an increase in drug-related cases, from 20,000 to 23,000.

Continuing the trend from the last four years, women are more likely to apply for a divorce than men.

The rate of divorce has decreased slightly. However, domestic violence incidents before the courts have risen by 5%, with 6,368 applications for safety orders submitted.

There has been a 25% increase in criminal appeals in all courts, from 15,000 up to 20,000, and despite utilising all available resources, appeals lodged in the Court of Appeal exceeded the number that were disposed of.

The Chief Justice Frank Clark pointed out: “Increases and decreases might well reflect changes in the law, or in the environment in which we conduct commerce or organise society.”

Medical negligence cases were on the rise, according to the report (Peter Byrne/PA)

Mr Clark went on to issue a plea to the Government to be clearer in the wording of new and changing legislation in terms of how it will be implemented in the courts, making waiting times and proceedings unduly longer due to confusion or requests for clarification.

“We must always be aware that not all legislation is clear, with a road map to the resolution of disputes, or to a clear understanding of the intent of the law makers.

“It is a reality that legislators, both in Europe and in Leinster House, sometimes produce unclear or unduly complex legislation and there will undoubtedly be arguments that take a lot of effort to resolve.

“As long as this remains the case – especially in the area of environmental and planning laws – then projects are going to be held up.

“The solution lies in the hands of legislators in producing greater clarity,” he said.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said on Thursday he agreed that issues needed to be addressed in regards to language of new laws.

“I think the Lord Chief Justice is right in so far as any legislation should be clear to understand, legislation is complex and I believe its important that legislation is couched in plain English, so people can understand it.

“I’m keen to ensure that court personnel of the highest level, in the form of judges, are available to deal with the many cases of huge diversity that come before the courts on a daily basis,” he said.

Press Association

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