Monday 24 October 2016

Council hit with 1,000 claims due to 'slips and trips'

Councillor Mannix Flynn
Councillor Mannix Flynn

More than 1,000 people are suing Dublin City Council (DCC) for personal injury claims, the Herald can reveal.

DCC is being sued in relation to "slips, trips and falls, employer liability claims and property damage cases", reported the council's legal department

Last year, the council paid out some €8m in compensation to members of the public and staff who lodged personal injury claims.

The payments were in relation to 1,200 claims - and with 1,095 claims made so far, the numbers are likely to be on par or even higher this year.


Injury claims make up more than a quarter of the 4,113 cases before the court involving the council.

The council also revealed that 137 insurance claims have been made this year over injuries caused by broken and defective city footpaths.

Now independent councillor Mannix Flynn wants council management to provide more information on the city's legal dealings.

The information provided does not paint a complete picture for public representatives, he said. "We need more transparency in relation to the number of cases Dublin City Council are involved in, in the form of a quarterly report.

"The council does not have a huge maintenance budget. With the reductions in staff, it can often take a long time for things like footpaths to be repaired, so I can only imagine that the number of claims is going to grow," he added.

"I would be interested to see how many claims in the past were later deemed to be fraudulent.

"If the insurance industry is ringing alarm bells about fraud then we at least need to be vigilant," he said.

Sinn Fein councillor Chris Andrews has requested details of claims in relation to defective footpaths, and he believes the number of injuries caused by poor footpaths could be much higher.

"A lot of people I've spoken to who have tripped and fell don't want the hassle of making a claim," he said.

"If everyone who fell made a claim it would be well beyond the figures that they are engaged with at the minute."

Mr Andrews said that many of the problems relating to broken pavements were caused by trees that were not being maintained.

It was a problem raised by many residents, particularly elderly people, he said.


The council is also involved in legal proceedings where DCC is taking the legal action or acting as a prosecutor in relation to planning breaches.

Among those cases there are 757 "housing ejectment" or eviction proceedings. These include cases involving illegal occupants and anti-social behaviour.

More than 107 cases of planning breaches are also being pursued.

DCC could not offer a total cost for legal and related fees as the bill has not yet been calculated.

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