Accident claims made by and against police increase

Industry news roundup: week ended 27 Oct 2014:

When it comes to accident claims, those made both by police personnel and made against them seem to be on the increase, though this isn’t universal.

In fact, one female officer made a personal injury compensation claim against a shipyard welder that works down at Falmouth Docks after she ended up pushed to the ground by him during an altercation. PC Anna Fielding broke her pelvis after the man shoved her to the ground, leaving her in pain for months just because she was trying to do her job.

Fielding had waded into a group of people to break up an argument, but the welder decided he was having nothing of it and knocked her to the ground. He even admitted so much in court, earning him more than just a slap on the wrist: the brutish bloke ended up getting four months in jail, a two year suspension, 120 hours worth of unpaid work, and was ordered to pay court costs and compensation of £840. If you ask me, this bastard got off quite easy for the severity of his actions.

I don’t know what causes people to behave in such an awful manner. Sure, not everyone likes the police – especially when they get pulled over for speeding or something similar – but these poor people have to wade into all sorts of situations and put themselves in harm’s way. You don’t become a police officer because you want the money, you know. It’s a calling, and you need to be a particular type of person to stand on that thin blue line.

There are some good examples of cops all the time, as well. Don’t believe me? Look at PC Dave Stubbs from Cheadle – he ended up breaking his wrist whilst taking down someone suspected of drink driving, but he declined to make a personal injury claim for the incident. The bloke took a week off from work before going back to light duties, and he says he would have never even thought of making a work accident claim against Staffordshire Police.

The stalwart bobby says that there’s simply no way the force could be faulted for his injuries. It happened in the line of duty, he added, and while he’s never taken a day off work in his entire career as a PC the force has been highly supportive of PC Stubbs. He says that it’s not just him, either; he was clear in saying most officers he knows wouldn’t ever think of claiming against their own force in the event of an injury.

Lincolnshire racks up huge personal injury compensation bill

Industry news roundup: week ended 30 Oct 2014:

So here’s one news story that will make your head spin: there was more than $150,000 spent on pothole-related personal injury compensation in Lincolnshire.

No, that’s not a figure I made up right here on the spot – it’s true. A new freedom of information request revealed that in 2013 Lincolnshire council shelled out $157,266 on pothole-related accident claims. Even worse is that the local authority spent nearly as much last year at £133,015!

Lincolnshire was already reeling after Britannia Rescue dubbed it the pothole capital of the UK in 2013. However it seems that the problem is still raging, and raging hard – and the problem will likely continue to snowball according to Councillor Richard Davies.

Davies, the highways executive member for the county, says that the council obviously wants to prevent potholes. The local authority has no choice but to pay out when it’s liable though, and Davies says that the condition of Lincolnshire roads are so abysmal due to generations of under-investment that have left local roads looking in terrible shape.

The massive payouts weren’t just for damage done to vehicles, either – plenty of personal injury compensation cases were heard after pedestrians slipped and tripped on the craggy lunar landscape that Lincolnshire has been passing off as roads and pavement. With winter rapidly approaching, these potholes are just going to get worse; the council has struggled to get enough funding to fill them in, even with the £5.5 million in matched funds from the Government.

Honestly this is just a massive mess waiting to happen. I know that Lincolnshire is running out of cash faster than a university student with no money flees Amsterdam’s red light district, but something’s got to be done about this don’t you think? It’s bloody ridiculous that it’s become so unsafe to drive through or even walk about in the county.  Not to mention the maddening costs that these accident claims are having on local residents; lest we forget that it’s taxpayer funds that end up being spent not just on plugging these seemingly unending stream of potholes but also ends up being spent on personal injury lawyers to represent the council in court. Legal fees aren’t cheap, and with every penny spent on lawsuits that’s one less spent on filling potholes!

Car insurance scammers being caught left and right

Industry news roundup: week ended 13 Oct 2014:

Fraudsters trying to run scams on car insurance companies are being caught left and right at the moment, which should hopefully keep motoring costs down.

Nobody likes the idea of freeloaders faking accidents in order to get big payouts from car accident claims, but it’s been going on for years. Insurance scams are awful for everyone, as with each bogus personal injury compensation payout that leaves the coffers of insurers we all have to foot the bill in the form of hiked insurance premiums, and I for one am tired of it. That’s what makes stories recounting how scammers and fraudsters are caught so brilliant and entertaining to me.

The news was absolutely filled with them this week, and I was just chuffed to bits to read each one. One of my favourites recounts how a fraudster who tried to walk off with £75,000 from a whiplash claim got shut down hard after dashcam footage from the lorry he cut off exposed his scam to the public – and saw his ill-gotten gains go up in smoke.

Now I’m not one for invasive surveillance but I’m all for these whole dashboard-mounted cameras. If they were fitted to every lorry and HGV on British roadways the amount of of insurance fraud in the UK would surely go down, and with fewer personal injury claims being paid out by the nation’s insurers I’d like to think that insurance rates for everyone would drop like a stone. Meanwhile I’m also happy to hear that bogus accident claims made by fraudsters on foot are also being looked into as well; the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department of the London Police just announced it had nicked 11 scammers that had possibly been trumping up claims in the wake of bogus ‘slip and trip’ injuries.

I’m absolutely gratified to hear how so many people are being caught red-handed. These thick pillocks need to be taken down a peg if you ask me, and I’m glad that it’s happening in a very public way that I can only hope will result in massive fines and more than just a bit of jail time for all the individuals involved. My hat’sa off to the IFED for tirelessly dragging these bastards out into the light of day where they can be disposed of properly.

Too many injured are going without compensation

Industry news roundup: week ended 6 Oct 2014:

When it comes to claiming personal injury compensation, it seems like all too many Brits are being denied access to justice – and that’s a serious problem.

It’s not just me who thinks there’s an issue, either – major organisations have had it with hearing reports about how people in dire need of compensation are being denied on accident claims. One such group, Motorcycle Law Scotland, recently spoke out on the issue, with founder Brenda Mitchell saying that insurers need to stop trying to sweep legitimately injured people under the rug because they don’t want to pay out on claims.

These insurance companies are treating injured individuals in an inhumane manner, Ms Mitchell claims, especially when it comes to whiplash claims. While it’s true that claims fraud can be a problem – and that whiplash is a favourite of fraudsters due to the difficulties associated with disproving whiplash – there’s simply too many people with real claims being left out in the dark, the group’s founder added.

For what it’s worth this is a definite problem facing the personal injury claims industry at the moment, but I’m unsure what types of steps can be taken to rectify it short of forcing insurers to take these sorts of claims more seriously. Still, it could be worse for many claimants, much as it has become for one Army veteran: his story will most likely get you hopping mad.

Former corporal Jason Wilkes, who was caught in a suicide bombing whilst serving in Iraq, has become so disillusioned with the way his own government has been mistreating him. The Army has left him out to dry despite the injuries he received in the attack, which include not just burns and shrapnel wounds but also a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis as well.

Wilkes has been desperate to get treatment and compensation, especially for his PTSD in the wake of his injuries. Still, Army medical evaluations have been reluctant to help him; it took until 2012 before his PTSD diagnosis was confirmed, despite the fact that the incident that led to him developing it was in 2006. The poor man has been so incensed by his treatment that he’s handed his Armed Forces Veterans Badge in to Easington MP Graham Morris, telling him to pass it along to Defence Minister Anna Soubry.