Supermac boss Pat McDonagh slams culture of out-of-court settlement of claims as seven-year case thrown out
Supermac boss Pat McDonagh has criticized the culture of out-of-court settlements of disputed personal injury claims, citing a seven-year legal battle over an incident at his Eyre Square branch in Co. Galway.
r McDonagh said there is “something wrong with the system” when insurers and lawyers are keen to settle claims before a court hearing to avoid high legal costs or losing a case.
A personal injury claim against Supermac was dismissed by Galway Circuit Court last week after the plaintiff failed to appear.
Efforts were made to settle the case but Mr McDonagh declined as the allegations were dismissed and Supermac intended to fully defend the case.
The controversial incident happened in 2015 when the plaintiff claimed she slipped and fell on water or a “harmful substance” and suffered blunt trauma to her left knee joint and a bruise to her left shin.
She went to the emergency room at the local hospital and an x-ray showed she had no bone damage. After the incident, she claimed that the pain forced her to give up swimming and badminton, two of her favorite hobbies.
She visited her GP several times in 2015 and said she continued to have knee pain.
After reviewing CCTV of the incident and speaking to the bouncer who witnessed the incident, Supermac’s decided to defend the claim.
The fast-food chain now has its own full-time attorney handling claims on behalf of the company
The company alleged that the plaintiff acted negligently, she “didn’t watch where she was walking,” “failed to wear proper footwear,” “did not take reasonable care of her own safety,” and was “the author of her own misfortune.” “. It was also denied that the incident had occurred in the manner claimed.
While the costs were awarded in Supermac’s favor after the plaintiff failed to show up, Mr McDonagh said the defendants do not receive them in most cases, describing it as a “lose-lose situation”.
“I will never settle a claim where we believe we have evidence that there was no liability on our part,” he said Irish Independent.
“The vast majority of cases are settled before they even go to court, or on the court steps. It’s like there’s no trust in the legal system.
“Getting appraisers, clerks and lawyers and all the extras, it costs a lot of money and it adds up.”
While Supermac was self-assured that it “worked out a lot cheaper,” it was also becoming too time-consuming.
The fast-food chain now has its own full-time attorney handling claims on behalf of the company.
Mr McDonagh, who has long campaigned for reduced insurance costs, said while Supermac can afford to defend claims where liability is denied, many companies cannot and end up agreeing to avoid higher costs.
“Insurers know that when a case is settled, they have a better chance of getting their returns back from the insured party,” he said. “Even if they win the case after it goes to court, they often don’t get their money’s worth.
“Going to court is going to cost them a lot of money and they’re better off trying to settle it out of court with what they call ‘reasonable money.'”
Mr McDonagh said premiums have increased by as much as 25 per cent over the past year.
There have been major reforms in the insurance sector, notably with the introduction of the new Personal Injury Directives. The average Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) premium between January and June last year was €14,786, 38 percent less than before the guidelines were introduced.
However, some industries still struggle with astronomical insurance premiums.
Mr McDonagh believes the government still has work to do.
“These pillars of society – lawyers and insurers – use the system for their own benefit. That’s really driving up insurance premiums,” he said.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/supermacs-chief-pat-mcdonagh-criticises-culture-of-settling-injury-claims-outside-court-as-seven-year-case-thrown-out-42325666.html Supermac boss Pat McDonagh slams culture of out-of-court settlement of claims as seven-year case thrown out