Gardaí, disillusioned by a number of recent decisions by the High Court to slash the amount of compensation being awarded to them under the Garda Compensation Scheme, may have to sue property owners and other wrongdoers to get increased levels of compensation for their injuries. This has already happened in the UK where police have lodged third party claims against business owners and other wrongdoers to secure additional compensation for injuries inflicted on duty.
Some awards recently to injured Gardai for pain and suffering have been as low as €5,000. While an injury might have been maliciously inflicted upon a Garda, that injury may have been caused or contributed to by somebody else’s negligence. If Gardaí feel that the current compensation scheme will under compensate them for their pain and suffering and other losses, what is to stop them seeking compensation elsewhere?
In many cases Gardaí get injured while on people’s properties when investigating thefts and burglaries. If a Garda is injured while he is a visitor on someone’s property, it is more likely that the Garda will secure much greater compensation if a compensation claim was taken against the property owner rather than under the Scheme. This would present a significant policy problem for the State.