News | Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Injury compensation draining millions out of insurance companies

Karl Stagno-Navarra

Insurance companies are feeling the pinch as thousands of euros in damages are being awarded to victims of accidents and their heirs.
Almost €500,000 in damages have been awarded by the courts to separate individuals between Monday and yesterday, triggering pressures on insurance companies who have to fork out the money.
While the heirs of an 18-year-old man who died in a traffic accident in 2002 which was caused by a drunk driver were awarded €55,000, another court ruling ordered government to pay up almost €100,000 in damages to an employee who lost an eye while at work in 1996.
Yesterday, a court presided by Mr Justice Giannino Caruana Demajo awarded €323,405 in compensation to a man who was disabled while at work at a tyre servicing company.
But insurers were also in for another shock yesterday as figures released by the NSO revealed less traffic accidents but more fatalities during the first quarter of this year when compared to the same period last year.
With a decrease of 379 cases, traffic accidents reached 3,419 while nine people have lost their lives in accidents.
Five drivers, three passengers and a pedestrian were killed in traffic accidents, with six of the fatalities happening during the third quarter of the year.
During this period, 29 other persons (13 passengers and 16 pedestrians) suffered grievous injuries, while 92 (73 passengers and 19 pedestrians) were slightly injured.
The majority of casualties were in the 25-39 age group. 73.7 per cent of casualties were caused by passenger cars, while 16.0 per cent were caused by motorcycles.
All cases carry with them a claim for damages, which when quantified may reach millions of euros in value.
A senior insurer who spoke to this paper expressed his concern at the growing rate of traffic accidents and accidents at work places, not to mention also the fatalities.
He stressed that legislation for more road responsibility is urgently needed, while tough laws regulating health and safety at work are called for.
Insurance companies are refusing certain risks given track-records of clients, often resulting in a reality where many flout the law and drive uninsured and unlicensed.
In Parliament last Monday, Home Affairs Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici said that almost 7,000 individuals have not had their road licenses renewed given pending fines that had to be paid.



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28 October 2009


Malta Today


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