State facing compensation claims for €440m

THE State is facing claims for almost €440 million in compensation from members of the public.

The State Claims Agency, which manages legal actions involving personal injuries, property damage and clinical negligence cases against the State, said there was a slight increase in the number of outstanding claims in 2007 to 3,970 from 3,900 in 2006.

Around three-quarters of claims by value are in relation to clinical negligence actions which could cost the State 323m in damages and compensation. The SCA is currently managing 1,500 clinical negligence cases. During 2007 it received 473 claims of negligence and resolved 279.

It is also handling all obstetric-related claims again the Mount Carmel Hospital in Dublin and the Bon Secours in Cork.

The SCA said the size of potential damages related to the “high reserve levels associated with cerebral injury/palsy and other significant injury cases”.

The SCA is also dealing with 2,470 employer liability/public liability/property damage claims, which could cost the State €115m. Half of the claims relate to public liability.

The number of public liability and employer liability claims have fallen substantially in the past five years — by 91% and 46% respectively.

But the overall number of active claims being managed by the SCA has increase as a result of its being delegated to handle cases passed to it by other government agencies.

The SCA said it has received 450 child sexual abuse claims, of which 124 were resolved. It is also dealing with 224 active army deafness cases.

The agency has resolved 172 claims by people seeking damages due to alleged exposure to asbestos. The cases were resolved without payment of compensation.

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