Government and local authorities taken for a ride

Industry news roundup: week ended 3 June 2013:

Individuals bringing personal injury claims against the government and local authorities alike are making off with thousands of pounds for all sorts of things.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like every news story I stumbled across this week had something to do with someone soaking either the cash-strapped government or a local authority for thousands of pounds. Now, I’m not saying that the injured shouldn’t be compensated for their loss, but sometimes these personal injury compensation claims seem a bit spurious, especially when I read about some of the claims that the Ministry of Defence has paid out over the past few years.

In fact, more than £1.4 million has been paid out by the MoD over a three year period of time. Some are more or less all right, especially in the event that low-flying aircraft coming by and startling livestock or pets so badly that they end up injured or even dead – if you’re flying a bloody fighter jet at 500mph and you’re only 1,000 feet up off the ground, you’re going to cause some property damage, and I feel terribly for the owner of a pet parrot whose bird died after one jet passed over its house in a screaming scramble.

However, I really don’t think it’s necessary to pay out on claims to therapy groups that were supposedly ‘disturbed’ by the jets passing close by. I suppose I’m more sympathetic to animals than I am human beings!

Of course it’s not just the government that’s gotten itself into legal hot water – local authorities get raked over the coals all the time. Nottingham City Council And Notts County Council have together paid out some £565,000 over the past five years alone – and that’s just from accidents occurring on school ground!

Inadequate training, slips and trips, and defective equipment have all been blamed on the injuries sustained by students, staff and teachers alike. Injuries sustained through the not-so judicious application of force on the part of particularly horrid students whilst not properly supervised have also caused more than a few headaches, though the worst offenders seem to be improperly gritted pavements during the winter months.

There have been nearly 75 separate claims since April of 2008, sources say. Nottingham City Council has paid around £255,000 in compensation, while the county council has paid out an even larger sum of around £310,000 if you can believe it!

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