The chief executive of the Restaurant Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins, has warned that a "spiraling claims culture" in this country could have serious ramifications for the restaurant sector.
Cummins made the remarks following the decision by the High Court to award €20,000 in damages to a woman who hit her knee against the leg of a table while sitting down to dinner at the Mullingar Park Hotel restaurant.
The Irish Examiner reports that Annette O’Connor, 48, of The View, Larchill, Santry, Dublin, claimed that being directed to the table setting right over the leg, 'which was concealed by a table cloth, constituted “a trap” and negligence on the part of the hotel owners Euro Plaza Hotel Limited, which trades as the Mullingar Park Hotel'."I have never seen a reaction like I have seen to this payout from within the industry," said Cummins in reaction to the damages award. "I think people don’t realise just how serious the ramifications are for the sector when we see a decision like this.
“If someone can get €20,000 for banging their knee off a table, the ramifications are huge. Insurance costs are going to go through the roof and the restaurant sector is going to be severely penalised and nothing is being done about it," he said.
Cummins went on to add: "Our legislators seem to be entirely focused on motor insurance when it’s a wider issue right across the insurance sector. It is not right to cherry pick, we need to deal with the issue in its entirety."