An ever-growing ‘compo-culture’ in Ireland is threatening every sector of society from young drivers, business-owners and even local authorities.
That’s according to Supermac’s Managing Director, Pat McDonagh, who said that insurance premiums are rocketing across the board as a result of false and exaggerated claims.
This comes in the wake of a case heard at Galway Circuit Civil Court last week where a claimant had his case struck out by the judge as a result of CCTV footage at Supermac’s Ballinasloe.
The claimant had made assertions that he had fallen down a number of steps at the restaurant during the Horse Fair last year – resulting in a personal injury claim.
However, CCTV images showed that Supermac’s was not liable as the legitimacy of the fall was called into question.
The video footage highlighted the vigilance of staff and the attention they had given to ensure that the area was clean and free from any obstruction.
Mr McDonagh told the Connacht Tribune that “businesses are getting hit from all sides” as a result of these claims – with even the City and County Councils having to increase rates to cover the cost of litigation.
“This is not just our business – it is all businesses. Even the likes of Galway City Council have paid out millions for these claims and that is really ratepayer’s money.
“I was talking to someone in the motoring industry recently and the whole market has totally collapsed for cars over eight years old – those are the cars that used to be bought by first time drivers.
“I have even spoken to my own workers about this and they are telling me that they were going to buy cars for their children to get to college or work and the car would be about €5,000 and they would be getting an insurance quote of €3,000 or €4,000,” said Mr McDonagh.
He claimed that this was having an ongoing effect on businesses and said that if he had faced this level of litigation starting out, it is unlikely he could have grown is business.
“When I look back, and I’m nearly 40 years in business, I see how few claims we had back then – we have seen this grow in the past 20 years.
“I am spending too much time on this, if I am honest, but I have to protect the business and protect our franchisees – we can’t be seen as soft touches on this,” he said.
Businesses need to protect themselves against this type of action and not leave it in the hands of solicitors and insurance companies with vested interests, said Mr McDonagh.
“If I could give advice to businesses, I’d say you need to look after yourself because nobody else is going to help you – not the solicitors, not the claimants and not the insurance companies – the only guy losing is the insured party.
“CCTV has done more in dealing with claims than any fighting I could do – it is the silent witness,” he said.