Government urged to act fast on fraudulent claims legislation
THE Government has been called on to quickly enact new legislation that will require the automatic referral of fraudulent and exaggerated injury claimants for prosecution.
It comes after a private members’ bill on false claims passed through the second stage in the Dáil.
The Civil Liability and Courts (Amendment) Bill, sponsored by Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher, was unopposed by the Government and received widespread support.
The Alliance for Insurance Reform welcomed the passing of the bill in the Dáil.
It said that the current situation sees fraudulent cases dismissed, but the claimants walk away sanction-free. This is despite provisions in other pieces of legislation that allow gardaí to prosecute those who make false claims.
Insurance Ireland said recently its members had handed over 167 files on fraud- ulent cases to gardaí in 2016. It was not clear if there have been prosecutions.
There was a need for the new legislation, Eoin McCambridge of the Alliance said.
“There is no reason why this short, practical bill cannot be enacted quickly. We call on the Government and the Oireachtas Justice Committee to insure this happens,” he said.
If passed, the bill would direct a court to refer a fraudulent or exaggerated claim to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Former High Court president Nicholas Kearns said recently the risk of prosecution for fraudulent claims is “virtually zero”. He was speaking after presenting the final report of the Personal Injuries Commission.
TD Mr Kelleher said despite the high level of cases and the costs involved, there is no “mandatory” law ensuring people wrongly making the claims face legal action. He said we cannot have a society where the cheat is the one who wins.