A record personal injury lawsuit settlement and surging overseas hospital costs have put a $10.8 million dollar dent in the Cayman Islands annual budget.
Additional spending authority for the two items was approved during the Legislative Assembly’s Finance Committee last month with no discussion among members. The new costs were approved along with other spending from previous budget years.
The $10.8 million will be paid out of the current 2016/17 government budget.
A $4.5 million lawsuit settlement – believed to be the largest personal injury case settlement in the territory’s history – resolves a civil court claim dating from the late 1990s. The case involved a Caymanian man who suffered a severe brain injury in 1998 from a boating accident when he was a 12 years old.
According to court records, the man, who cannot be named due to an anonymity order issued by a judge hearing the case, was awarded more than $6 million in damages last year to cover the cost of a lifetime of care.
Responsibility for the accident was determined in an earlier court hearing, and interim payments have been made over the years since the accident to cover the cost of the victim’s care. Those payments are not included in the $4.5 million sum agreed by the Legislative Assembly last month.
An extra $6.3 million for healthcare costs at overseas hospitals was also approved for the current 18-month spending plan. The additional spending will push the entire budget for overseas care to $23.4 million for the period.
It is typical for government’s overseas healthcare costs to increase during the course of a year as unanticipated medical bills come in. Government currently covers civil service employees, their families, retired government workers, seamen and veterans and indigents for 100 percent of their healthcare costs.