LIMERICK is the compensation capital of Ireland according to the latest figures released by the Injuries Board which reveal that Limerick had the largest number of compensation awards per capita in the country last year.
The Injuries Board deals with injuries arising out of workplace, public liability and car accidents, and not for the first time, Limerick topped the list after 586 claimants were awarded €12.3 million between them in 2010.
Limerick City Council “had no material contribution to the figure”, according to Joe Coughlan, administrative officer with the Risk Management Department at City Hall, who said the local authority is not paying out vast sums of money in compensation to people claiming to have been injured on public property in the city.
“Limerick City Council would have had at most five to six cases with the Injuries Board last year and we only accepted two of their judgements,” he explained. This coincides with the Injury Board figures which show that the vast majority of claims, more than 70 per cent, related to road traffic accidents.
The Limerick Leader asked a spokesperson for the Injuries Board if the figures imply that Limerick people are more ‘accident prone’. She said the range and the nature of the injuries are so broad “that we can’t gleen anything from it except to say that we suggest that it is higher than expected per capita”.
“This is one that is quite difficult to answer,” the spokesperson said. “There are so many factors that go towards an accident happening. For motor liability accidents it could be everything from the state of the roads; the state of a car; was somebody obeying the rules of the road etc. For an employer liability accident, we see such a variety of accidents happening in the work place from a slip, trip and fall over carpet in an office or a manufacturing accident etc. The range and the nature of the injuries that happen, and the range and the nature of the causes of the injuries is so broad that we can’t gleen anything from it except to say that we suggest that it is higher than expected per capita.”
Limerick claims the unsavourary title of compensation capital on an almost yearly basis, and the spokesperson for the Injuries Board agreed that the annual claims from Limerick are more than expected per capita. “Yes, that would be correct,” she said.
In 2010, Limerick shared the dubious title with Longford for the largest number of awards as a proportion of population while Kilkenny had the lowest number. The majority of the awards were for less than 20,000 euro and were for injuries resulting out of road traffic accidents.
On a national level, preliminary year-end data from InjuriesBoard.ie shows that compensation totalling €187 million was awarded in 2010 in respect of 8,381 personal injury claimants. The numbers show a €30m reduction in the value of awards since 2008 despite claims volumes increasing to 26,964 over the same period.