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Injured Workmen (Damages)

Volume 466: debated on Tuesday 28 June 1949

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93.

asked the Attorney-General if he is aware that in cases where injured workmen accept National Health Insurance benefit pending a settlement of a claim for damages against an employer it is the practice of insurance companies to deduct 100 per cent. of the amount paid from the damages agreed upon; and whether he will introduce legislation to end this practice.

Under the Law Reform (Personal Injuries) Act, 1948, if an injured person brings an action for damages, the court is required to deduct one half of the amount of any industrial injury benefit, industrial disablement benefit or sickness benefit received by the injured person over a period of five years from the date of the injury from any damages for loss of earnings awarded to him. This rule must be well known to those advising injured workmen and it is presumably taken into account when a claim for damages is settled by agreement. I am not aware of the practice referred to by the hon. Member, and it would, of course, be quite wrong for any insurance company to represent to an injured workman that the whole of his National Insurance benefit is required by law to be deducted from any damages received. I do not consider that there is any need to introduce legislation on this subject.

94.

asked the Attorney-General if he is aware that certain insurance companies are deducting 50 per cent. of the amount paid out under the Industrial Injuries Act to a workman who has sustained injuries and who elects later to claim damages under another Act and settles for a lump sum payment; and whether he will introduce legislation to ensure that an injured workman receives the full damages agreed upon and that insurance companies do not benefit at the expense of the State or injured workman.

The practice referred to by the hon. Member appears to give effect to the rule contained in the Law Reform (Personal Injuries) Act, 1948. The Government does not consider that any change is called for in a rule which has so recently been approved by Parliament.