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Isme slams 'scandal' of settlements for injuries


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BUSINESS lobby group Isme has heavily criticised a number of personal injuries court judgements and settlements, claiming that high payouts are a scandal.

The group also said it was concerned that a four-year probe by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) into anti-competitive practices in the insurance industry has yet to be completed.

Isme questioned how the justice system handles personal injury cases. Insurers blame high and frequent injury awards for the high cost of insurance.

The business group singled out a number of High Court and Circuit Court judgments and settlements it said it was concerned about.

Isme chief executive Neil McDonnell took issue with the comments of a judge who threw out a "crash" claim for €60,000 at a car wash. The judge said she saw "little point" in referring the case to the DPP as "it has enough to deal with and none of these referrals is pursued".

Isme also questioned why a High Court judge approved a settlement of €50,000 for a boy who hurt his finger at a party in a leisure centre, despite CCTV showing that the child was injured by a member of the public. Legal experts said the insurer made the offer and a judge cannot throw a case out when this happens.

Mr McDonnell claimed Gardaí have yet to mount a single prosecution under Section 14 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004, despite lots of falsely sworn affidavits being available to investigate.

He said the insurance environment has not only failed to improve, it has worsened.

The Isme boss said motorists, business and premises owners see the courts straining laws on occupiers' liability to the limit to relieve plaintiffs of all personal responsibility for their actions.

Irish Independent