Take the bus, make a bogus accident claim

Industry news roundup: week ended 12 Jan 2015:

Looking to put a few bogus personal injury compensation claims in to a hapless insurer? Just take the bus a few times and Bob’s your uncle.

Right, so no one likes riding public transport. Well, some people do but we’ll not talk about those odd ducks. Sometimes you just have to ride the bus, putting your faith in whatever Higher Power you believe in that your driver isn’t a total pillock. Of course, sometimes he’s as thick as a post anyway. Other times, he’s a bloody criminal mastermind.

Apparently, over a period of 15 months, there were seven bus collisions in Chester that were all orchestrated beforehand. Shedloads of people were in on it, including many of the passengers, and if it weren’t for the whole scheme unraveling because the mastermind behind it – a man named John Smith, charmingly enough, who ran a claims management company that went by the name of Swift Accident Solutions. Swift profited by referring “injured” claimants to personal injury solicitors, and with some 177 claimants going through Swift Accident Solutions, Smith was just piling the cash up left and right.

This is of course absolutely maddening to hear about things like this. Luckily, behavior like this can’t be gotten away with today, as the case arose before the ban on taking referral fees from personal injury lawyers for sending possible claimants their way. Still it just makes my blood boil to know this bastard was orchestrating this whole thing. It gives the personal injury compensation industry the kind of black eye that is just so hard to recover from; it’s instances like this that have created the stereotype of the so-called “ambulance chaser” lawyer going about and drumming up business for himself through sleazy, underhanded and borderline illegal means.

For what it’s worth, most people involved in personal injury law aren’t right bastards like this Smith bloke. Yeah, there’s money to be made in the business but it’s the same in any line of work – in this one at least you’re helping people become whole again after sometimes horrific accidents; doesn’t that count for something at least? If you ask me, it certainly does!

This is why we can’t have nice things

Industry news roundup: week ended 5 Jan 2015:

This week, I’ve finally figured out why we can’t have nice things here: there are local authorities so incompetent that they’re their own worst enemies.

File this one under ‘this is why we can’t have nice things’: it was recently revealed that waste trucks owned by Braintree Council have racked up more than £150,000 in personal injury compensation damages over the last half a decade. In fact, from 2009 the council waste trucks have been involved either directly or indirectly in more than 500 accident claims against the council’s insurance policies, with at least £200,000 in damage incurred as a result.

The worst part is that the biggest single payout happened just last September when a driving school vehicle was gently pranged from behind by a road sweeper, generating a massive £21,105 in damages. Thankfully most other payouts were less than that, but with more than 500 of them even a little bit adds up to a lot – every £9,000 or £3,000 road traffic accident claim, put together, amasses to a mountain of payouts.

The best part, though, must be how much damage council drivers managed to do to their own vehicles, with Braintree paying out more than £114,000 over the past five years to simply keep their own waste trucks in good working order. In one case, a council driver managed to open the door of his truck as another vehicle was overtaking, causing around £670 in damages to the truck – and probably giving the daft council worker a nice, good scare as the door was sheared off just inches from him.

Braintree Council of course tried to downlplay the figures, claiming that the local authority’s fleet of more than 80 vehicles that spend more than 1.2 million miles’ worth of time on local roads every year – implying that accidents happen. Well, you know what I say to that? If your drivers have so many miles under their belts and they’re so bloody well trained, why are all these damned accidents still happening? You would think these blokes would be bloody experts that know their vehicles inside and out, but apparently that’s not the case.

And another thing – who pays for all these compensation payouts? The local taxpayer, that’s who. Where do you think the council gets the cash to pay its insurance premiums?