Injured woman snubbed whilst drug dealer gets compensation

Industry news roundup: week ended 30 June  2014:

Well here’s one you won’t believe: this week, it came to light that whilst an injured pensioner was denied compensation, a drug dealer was awarded damages.

In a world that has apparently gone completely barmy, pensioner Trixie Offord fell, tripping over a pothole, and suffered facial injuries and a broken wrist yet received not a single penny in personal injury compensation because Bucks County Council’s last inspection of the pothole decided it was ‘not dangerous.’  The injury occurred two weeks after that inspection, but the council won’t take into account that the pothole might have worsened over that period of time. Talk about a complete set of bastards, eh?

Meanwhile, a drug dealer has just been cleared to make a car accident claim after his road traffic accident left him with life-changing injuries. Bedworth, Warwickshire native Sean Delaney had to be cut from the wreck of the Mercedes 500SL that had been driven by a friend of his. That’s right, this fine upstanding citizen was found with something like 240 grams of cannabis stuffed in his jacket pocket, yet he was never criminally prosecuted. Most likely because he was in a coma for nearly a month after the incident only to wake up with bleeding no the brain, a punctured lung, and broken bones in his pelvis, arm and both legs.

Now normally I wouldn’t be so upset by the fact that this man is making an accident claim for hundreds of thousands, but he’s a bloody drug dealer. Does he really deserve the help? And especially when you’ve got a poor old pensioner not getting a bloody cent for tripping over a damned pothole and breaking her wrist? What’s wrong with the world? If there was any justice the fates of these two people would be reversed – Delaney would be laid up with horrid injuries with no hope of compensation, and Mrs Offord would have a nice big cheque to deposit.

When £1 million in personal injury compensation isn’t enough

Industry news roundup: week ended 23 June 2014:

Sometimes there are incidents leading to personal injury claims that are truly egregious. This week is one of those times, and it’s 100 per cent justified.

If there’s one thing that we can all agree upon, it’s that when someone preys upon innocent schoolchildren there’s absolutely no excuse. It’s even worse when the predator is supposed to be someone who abuses the trust of those children – and that’s exactly what former schoolteacher and convicted American paedophile William Vahey did at his tenure at Southbank International School, an elite school located in the capital.

Some 60 children are suspected to have been abused at the hands of Vahey, who conveniently took his own life after he was found out. The sick bastard had been working in Nicaragua at the time – at yet another school where heaven knows how many other schoolchildren were victimized – but this doesn’t mean that Southbank is off the hook for having a bloody child predator working for them!

The average personal injury compensation award for something like this can be anywhere from £30,000 to £50,000 per child, according to industry experts. Multiply that by 60 students and you’ve got more than a million pounds possibly flowing out of Southbank’s coffers, and rightly so – while it might not restore an abused child’s innocence it can offer some peace of mind to parents who now have to seek out extensive psychiatric counselling for their child – and for themselves!

Honestly it sickens me that this paedophile ended up slipping through the cracks and weaseling his way into a teaching position at one of the most prestigious and elite schools in London. If anything it’s a testament to how sick and depraved this bastard was in being able to conceal his monstrous nature from so many people, and for so long. At the same time, I’m a bit disappointed that he took his own life, as you can only imagine what would have been in store for him if he had been apprehended and sent to jail. Other offenders don’t take kindly to sharing prison space with those who victimise children, and for good reason!

Local councils bled by accident claims

Industry news roundup: week ended 16 June 2014:

Local councils across the UK are being bled dry by expensive accident claims, according to a raft of new revelations.

There’s nothing people like more than to point the finger at a profligate local authority and accuse councilors of wasting taxpayer money on spurious personal injury compensation claims. Recently, these lucky naysayers have been given shedloads of new ammunition after several new figures have come to light.

First up is the absolutely massive 16 million pound in damages that Sheffield Council has paid out over the last five years. More than 3,100 personal injury claims were made against the council on a wide variety of injuries, ranging from children leaving playgrounds scarred to workers burned after a run in with a defective piece of machinery.

Sheffield was definitely one of the worst off, and while I’m usually not one to entertain ideas of anything even approaching the idea of a wide-ranging ‘compensation culture’ conspiracy orchestrated by the nation’s personal injury lawyers I do have to say that 16 million pounds is a fair bit of dosh. Most other local authorities have a much lower legal bill in actuality; a fantastic example of this would be the 330 thousand pounds paid out by Lincolnshire County Council over the same period of time.

The injuries cited in Lincolnshire aren’t all that different than those in Sheffield, but for some reason there were fewer successful claims made overall. Whether that’s because Sheffield has less competent investigators or Lincolnshire has a better class of injury lawyer working for it I’ll never be able to tell you, as I simply don’t know. I can say that while 300,000 pounds sounds like a king’s ransom it’s a drop in the bucket compared 16 million!

Maybe there should be some exchange of ideas between the two local authorities. It might help Sheffield clean up its act. I mean I can’t believe that Sheffield residents are just that much more accident-prone. Of course there’s always the off chance that Lincolnshire’s public infrastructures are just that much more better maintained than Sheffield’s. Whatever the actual reasoning behind the massive differences in payouts, one thing is clear: Brits are  a mightily clumsy group of people.


The fight against compensation culture goes ever on

Industry news roundup: week ended 9 June 2014:

A new salvo has been fired by regulators against personal injury lawyers in an effort to combat so-called compensation culture, but will it really do anything?

If there’s one thing that gets the knickers of policymakers and insurance companies in a twist, it’s the idea that there’s some sort of compensation culture alive and well in the UK – as if personal injury solicitors are enticing injured Brits to make spurious accident claims in order to line their own pockets. Now, I’m not going to say that there aren’t those particularly vile ambulance chasers out there, but for the most part there’s very little activity like that going on. Nevertheless there’s a new spate of regulations going forward soon to limit this alleged activity.

The newest target of the anti-compensation culture crusade is the elimination of incentives to bring personal injury claims. In other words, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling recently went on record saying he’s going to stamp out legal firms from offering things like cash up front, shopping vouchers, or even high end electronics such as laptops or iPads as an incentive to bring a personal injury compensation claim. Mr Grayling has high hopes this will stamp out insurance fraud as a result.

Now I won’t lie – there are some firms that engage in this behaviour. Is it right? Absolutely not. Are the number of firms that do this materially contributing to fraud figures? If you ask me, not a bloody chance. In fact, there’s statistical data to back me up as well – the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers released data recently that found that over the course of an entire year the amount of claimants bring fraudulent claims was minuscule.

When it comes to the big bad guy of fraud – whiplash claims – the figures were particularly damning. Fraud figures for whiplash claims are laughably low – something like seven per cent according to Apil. Honestly this just gives the lie to the idea that fraud – particularly whiplash fraud – is so out of control that it’s beggaring the insurance industry. I don’t know what insurers are trying to pull by crying wolf like this, but if you ask me it’s probably a half-arsed attempt to justify their constantly climbing insurance premiums by blaming this myth of a compensation culture. Rather dastardly if you ask me!

Work accident claims running rampant?

Industry news roundup: week ended 2 June 2014:

Is it just me or does it seem like the nation’s places of work are just getting increasingly unsafe for staff and workers?

I mean it’s been absolutely everywhere in the news this week – work accident claims seem to be on the increase. And no before you go whinging about how it’s ‘compensation culture’ rearing its ugly head, jog on – that’s obviously a myth that’s been put to bed. No, I’m more concerned with the working conditions of regular Brits, especially when it comes to job positions in the public sector.

You want some examples? How about this one – a teacher working for West Sussex County Council ended up having to make a personal injury compensation claim for £23,000 after they slipped in a puddle-filled school corridor and ending up with ligament damage in their ankle and feet. Tory commentators are all up in arms at the high price tag – which admittedly is more than the starting salary of a teacher in the same region – but let’s be honest here; do you really think a local authority is so loose with their cash that they would be willing to just part with some unless it was actually warranted? No local council wants to deprive pupils of taxpayer money but if you’re responsible for a bad injury you’ve got to pay up – it’s only fair.

Meanwhile these costs add up over the years, which makes the situation look just that much worse. Consider how news broke this week that Leicester City Council has ended up forking over almost £2 million in personal injury compensation over the last five years. The statistics make it look bleak, as there was some £700,000 paid out on just over 150 claims over this period of time, with the remainder of the payout going to legal fees and court costs.

Now, stop shouting – five years ago there were much fewer regulations on how much a personal injury lawyer could charge in legal fees. Nowadays with regulations banning things like referral fees and altering how lawyers can recover costs from defendants, that incredibly high legal fee bill falls into a bit of perspective now doesn’t it?