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£1.3m cost of personal injury claims paid by Northern Ireland councils since 2015

Personal injury claims against councils in Northern Ireland have cost at least £1.3m since 2015, new figures reveal. (stock photo)
Personal injury claims against councils in Northern Ireland have cost at least £1.3m since 2015, new figures reveal. (stock photo)
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Personal injury claims against councils in Northern Ireland have cost at least £1.3m since 2015, new figures reveal.

Industrial deafness, falls and cycling accidents were among some of the highest costing claims.

A Freedom of Information request by the Belfast Telegraph asked all 11 councils how much they had paid out in personal injury claims since they were established in April 2015.

Six councils disclosed figures amounting to £1,350,497 with the rest claiming they did not hold the information as it was subrogated to insurers.

The payment methods vary, with some councils paying out directly and others via insurers.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council had the highest cost, directly funding payouts of £432,813.85, with 19 out of 116 claims being successful.

The council declined to disclose what the largest claims were - saying it risked identifying individuals.

A spokesperson said the council "must pay the compensation figure determined by either its insurer or a court. We have successfully defended over 75% of the claims made against us".

Harry Fone, grassroots campaign manager at the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "This amount of ratepayers' hard-earned tax should not be going on compensation claims.

"Present practices mean councils cannot avoid some claims, but they should realise it is taxpayer money being dished out and work to minimise pay-outs."

Belfast City Council recorded the second-highest payout at £383,730.

In 2015/16, this included payouts for lacerations caused by a fall from play apparatus (£20,000) and a locking mechanism (£17,500) as well as £20,000 for a head injury caused by being struck by a cable.

In 2016/17, the largest payment was £15,000 caused by fracture to fingers caused by a moving object. Industrial deafness resulted in a payout of £7,066 in 2017/18, with two other payments of £7,500 caused by laceration by moving object and a road traffic collision (RTC).

Road traffic collisions resulted in at least three payouts of in 2018/19, with two payouts of £1,500 and one of £1,250.

A total of 82 out of 441 claims were successful.

Derry and Strabane District Council paid out £124,900 in the same period, including £25,000 for a cyclist accident on a cycle track. The council operates a self-insurance programme for its liability risks.

Newry and Mourne and Down District Council said £123,451.84 was paid for personal injury claims. The council uses an insurer, with the figure representing all damages under the excess level and £10,000 for any damages above the excess.

Ards and North Down Borough Council said it directly paid out £81,450. The largest payments were £25,000 and £10,000, both of which were made for "trip/fall" incidents.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council said it paid out £80,700, including sums of £12,500 and £9,000 for trips resulting in injury.

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