Pat McDonagh, who owns the 108 Supermac's fast food outlets around the country, including Offaly premises in the likes of Edenderry, Tullamore and Moneygall, has warned of a new rise in faked or staged accidents, aimed at getting money from companies.
The Irish Independent has reported that the founder of Supermacs is concerned that Ireland's 'compo culture' has re-emerged in recent years, adding that this could result in many individuals and businesses being unable to afford insurance.
"Of course you're going to have accidents in business. That is just a fact of life," he said. He went on to express concern at the number of claims his business gets that are fraudulent - fake accidents where chancers are trying to get a pay-out.
He said that 12 to 14 years ago he was getting many claims for personal injuries, but now in 2017, the compo culture is again rearing it's ugly head. This is due to several factors, including increased pay-outs in the courts.
The Independent said that McDonagh claimed some lawyers coach clients to make questionable cases more presentable. In 2004, the Civil Liability and Courts Act came into force, containing a radical provision in Section 26 whereby a fraudulent claim could be dismissed outright.
Mr McDonagh believes this regulation is no longer fit for purpose. "The Act was intended to reduce the legal cost involved with a claim, gearing the parties involved in a genuine claim case towards settlement," he said.
"But then the legal professionals advised their clients that they could get more for them in court rather than settling so this was no longer effective."
The fast-food boss went on to suggest this culture has now led to an increase in legal costs, and pushed more cases into the High Court because the award and the claim has become higher and more serious.
"Because the costs have gone up so much in the courts, this has encouraged insurance companies to try to settle cases," said Mr McDonagh. All of this has contributed to the compo culture today where claimants are exaggerating their claims by as much as 50%.
"What that leads to is people not willing to get or unable to afford insurance. This kind of claim culture doesn't happen to this extent in the UK or on the continent," he concluded.
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