A TOTAL of 94 compensation claims have been taken against Limerick County Council over the past five years by people who had trips and falls on public footpaths.
The number of claims increased from 12 in 2008 to 32 last year.
While the amount paid out in compensation decreased from just over€456,000 in 2008 to a little more than €189,000 last year, this is due to the fact that many claims taken last year have yet to finalised and settled.
Details were given at yesterday’s meeting of Limerick County Council by the authority’s insurers, IPB Insurances.Paul Crowe, director of transport services, said: “A lot of claims take a number of years to go through the process, particularly if they are contested. By the time the settlement is paid and all the legal costs discharged, that can take a number of years so that is why you can see a decrease in amounts paid out as you come closer to the current year.”
Mr Crowe said he could not comment on why the number of claims had risen since 2008.
“I have no reason to believe that the infrastructure is deteriorating at such an alarming rate, bearing in mind that these claims relate to slips, trips and falls, which are largely on footpaths, rather than on roads.”
Mr Crowe said he had no reason to believe that claims in Co Limerick were any higher than those in other local authorities.
Cllr Stephen Keary said it would appear from the figures that claims are being more scrutinised now with money becoming scarce. He said he was concerned that insurance cover will spiral if the council was seen as a ‘soft touch’ by people embarking on civil claims.