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.

Road traffic accidents cause trouble for everyone

Industry news roundup: week ended 8 Sept 2014:

Road traffic accidents are one of the most prevalent types of events that lead to accident claims – and it can happen to people from all walks of life.

This week’s news cycle proves that point like none other. Here are two very different types of road traffic accident claims that couldn’t be more different than one another.

First up is the tragic story of how a 94 year old pensioner died in the wake of an RTA with a police car in Clifton. Whilst the accident – which turned fatal once the poor man was taken to hospital – occurred last December, the recent inquest into his death made news headlines this past week, where it was revealed the police car was traveling 25mph over the 40mph limit in the area because it was pursuing another vehicle at the time. To her credit, the officer that had been driving the police car gave her testimony whilst fighting back tears, recounting how there was nothing she could have done to have avoided the accident thanks to the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Forensic investigators said that even if the police car had been traveling at 40mph the accident most likely would have happened anyway and that the elderly man simply timed his manoeuvre wrong and didn’t detect the presence of the oncoming police car. Still, the pensioner’s family is pursuing personal injury compensation from Nottinghamshire Police even though the PC driving the vehicle has been cleared of any wrongdoing. If you ask me the whole thing is just tragic as anything, and my heart aches for both the poor police officer that has to now live with the knowledge that she was involved in this man’s death – and the family of the poor soul that’s passed on.

Meanwhile, here’s the other side of the coin – a 26 year old on benefits who supposedly couldn’t work in the wake of a motorcycle accident claim was caught making money on the side even whilst he was on the dole. The little bastard wasn’t just being sneaky though – he was selling cannabis to his mates to make some extra cash!

And not just a little cash either, according to the police. He was stopped on the street by the fuzz where they found around £15 of the drug on him and some £700 in cash. Then at a later date there was a raid where more than 92 grams of cannabis was found – which had a street value of nearly £1,000! So much for not being able to earn a living because of his injuries!

Meanwhile the little snake avoided jail time somehow. All he has to do is perform 100 hours of unpaid work, serve a suspended nine month prison sentence, and pay the £100 surchareg for his drug rehabilitation. And who says crime doesn’t pay? Cheeky bastard.

Criminal behaviour and accident claims hand in hand?

Industry news roundup: week ended 1 Sept 2014:

Just because you’re a criminal doesn’t mean you can’t make accident claims or be involved in them tangentially, if this week’s news is any example.

When I think of criminals and personal injury compensation cases, it’s usually in the context of claims fraud or something like that. However, that’s not always the case – in fact sometimes there are legitimate cases that arise out of otherwise unlawful activity!

Consider this one smart cookie: 45 year old John Dawson ended up putting his mate’s eye out with his thumb in a drunken brawl after his friend inadvertently cracked the man’s tooth. Initially the story told to the police was that it was an accidental fall that caused the injury but lo and behold once his friend ended up sacked from his job due to his injuries the man changed his tune – and all of a sudden there’s a personal injury claim made against Dawson, not to mention criminal charges filed as well!

Lo and behold, the bloke’s going to jail and will more than likely be liable for the injury he did to his mate. Not much of a surprise there really, but an interesting story as to how quickly fates – and friendships – can be dissolved, especially when there’s money on the table. Meanwhile there was another case this week that’s a bit even more on the nose if you ask me – a prison inmate is going to have his day in court for a £10,000 accident claim for the injuries he sustained whilst taking out the trash.

Apparently 44 year old Alan McAuley had his hand smashed by the lid of the rubbish bin at Castle Huntly open prison. The inmate, who is serving time on a drugs-related charge, said that he had three months of discomfort in his wrist and that he had limited dexterity in his hand for some time after the skip lid dropped on it suddenly.

Now normally I’d just dismiss the claim as money-grubbing criminal behaviour but there could be a grain of truth in this, as apparently the rubbish bin’s lid wouldn’t stay open on its own and actually had to be propped open with a mop handle.  Is it worth ten thousand quid? Honestly I wouldn’t think so, but I also think it’s important that this one bloke at least gets his day in court – don’t you agree?

Spurious claims need no help from claims management companies

Industry news roundup: week ended 25 Aug 2014:

The number of ‘ambulance chasing’ claims management companies is at an all-time low, yet there are still plenty of spurious claims being made in the UK.

Do you remember the furore over claims management companies a year or so ago? These rogue firms were blamed for drumming up all sorts of spurious personal injury claims by sending unsolicited texts and phone calls to anyone and everyone they could think of that might be interested in bringing an accident claim. The practice was severely curtailed in April of last year thanks to some well-placed regulatory changes, and for the most part these changes have worked – there are 600 fewer CMCs in operation today than there were in 2013.

This should be a victory for anyone concerned with spurious personal injury compensation claims, right? Well guess what – there’s still plenty of that going around, even though there’s hardly any CMCs left. So much for the idea that there’s all these ambulance chasers drumming up business for personal injury lawyers.

So where are all the new compensation claims coming from? Well over the last 12 months there was almost £600,000 in compensation paid out by West Midlands Police for instance, and all for seemingly spurious reasons such as falling off faulty chairs, slipping on a wet floor or having difficulties entering and exiting a police vehicle. Oh, and a dog bite as well, mustn’t forget that.

Now I’m not going to say that we shouldn’t take care of officers of the law that injure themselves in the line of duty  – but for pity’s sake, it’s not like these individuals were hurt in the course of their duties of serving and protecting the people of the West Midlands. Let’s not forget that this is all taxpayer cash being expended to take care of all these clumsy crybabies that can’t walk down a bloody corridor without falling flat on their faces and bruising their bums. What kind of incompetent flatfoots do we have keeping us all safe? How can they end up keeping the peace if they can’t even keep upright in a wet corridor?

Accident claim winners waste money left and right

Industry news roundup: week ended 18 Aug 2014:

Claimants who win personal injury compensation claims are often accused of being a waste of money, but this week the news tops that by a long country mile.

Now normally I’m the first person out there to say that people who make accident claims often need the cash to take care of things such as lost wages or medical costs. This is still true; however there are all too many instances where it seems like a total waste of money to pay off a claimant, and this week was filled with news stories that made me just shake my head in impotent rage.

First up was one miserable story about how Norfolk Police spent nearly  £400,000 over the last year in compensation payouts, not just to members of the public but its own staff members as well. A new Freedom of Information request discovered that Norfolk Police paid the cash out over only 48 claims, and the only other police force that paid out more was London’s Metropolitan Police.

Now is it just me or does this seem like a supreme waste of money to you? Wouldn’t those £400,000 be much better spent on things such as better infrastructure and more well-funded emergency services? The Taxpayers’ Alliance agrees with me, for what it’s worth: a spokesman said that there’s either far too many spurious claims going on or that the police force in general is just terribly careless when it comes to preventing accidental injury. I’m more than willing to entertain the thought that there’s some coppers out there playing fast and loose with safety rules. The only thing worse about this is that it’s all taxpayer cash that’s being sucked away by these poor decisions!

And speaking of poor decisions, get a load of this story: an 18 year old who was injured in a legitimate personal injury claim decided to turn around and use some of his cash award to purchase drugs. Not just a little bit, either – the man had 900 tablets of diazepam on his person when he was apprehended by the police. The dullard claimed that he ‘didn’t know’ what the drugs were but he had been told that they were legal. This one is definitely going into the record books, if you ask me!

Not all accident claim fraudsters are criminal masterminds

Industry news roundup: week ended 11 Aug 2014:

While insurers will like to tell you that accident claim fraud is a serious problem right now, the truth is that scammers are caught red handed all the time.

Truth be told, when it comes to spurious personal injury claims, very little fraud actually goes undetected. In fact there number of criminal masterminds operating sophisticated fraud rings are few and far between – most are complete amateurs trying to get some extra cash from their car accident claims after initiating a poorly-planned and sloppily-executed cash for crash type scam.

Want a good example: well hold on to your knickers, as this week there’s not one but two fantastic ones that will show you just how daft some of these individuals are. First up was the story of how a pair of step-siblings had their plan to fake a pair of whiplash claims were uncovered. 62 year old Steven Phillips hired a van, apparently without realizing there was a GPS tracker fitted to it, and then rang up his step-sister 57 year old Terrina Downes and staged a crash on a secluded roadway – then reported the incident as happening somewhere completely different. Needless to say the car hire firm investigated the issue and blew the whole scheme wide open, much to the chagrin of Downes and Phillips!

So yes that’s rather daft, don’t you think? For what it’s worth some fraudsters are even more stupid. Don’t believe me? Well think about this story: a particularly dim-witted scammer named Kyle Denton, who had injured his hand rather badly in a drunken altercation with another man, tried to pass the injury off as stemming from a run in with a pothole that caused him to trip and fall. He almost got away with it too, but for his own absolute stupidity: he had already met with his local authority to start the compensation process, but then the pillock went and posted a picture of his injured finger on Facebook – along with a message about how he had actually been in a punch-up.

So you see? These are the kinds of absolute geniuses trying to defraud insurers and local authorities. Do you really think fraud is still that much of a problem?

Aviva pushes for consultation, research refutes their claims

Industry news roundup: week ended 4 Aug 2014:

Major insurance provider Aviva has been pushing for a Government consultation on whiplash claims, yet even as they do so evidence emerges that it’s not needed.

The insurer has been whinging lately about how much money it’s shelling out when it comes to personal injury compensation attached to whiplash claims. Fraud is incredibly rampant, Aviva says, and the number of spurious accident claims being made against it are positively crippling it financially. To that effect it made waves last week in pushing for an idea as absolutely stupid as it is revolutionary: eliminating cash awards for whiplash claims and instead only providing rehabilitation. Aviva’s idea is that it will eliminate fraud since there’s no actual cash awards any more.

The idea is of course laughable, but Aviva is married to the concept. It’s even gone so far as to urge the Ministry of Justice to conduct a public consultation in the hopes that it will build up steam. I suppose you have to give the insurer credit where it’s due by not giving up, but I don’t really think they’re going to get anywhere with this whole concept. Meanwhile new research has just come to light that reveals how flawed Aviva’s approach might be – a new YouGov poll revealed that the number of people making claims for personal injury are relatively low.

In fact, YouGov found that today only one out of every four Brits that suffered an accident or injury of any kind would actually pursue a personal injury compensation claim today. That’s a drop of about four percentage points from the last YouGov poll in 2013, indicating that there are actually less people inclined to make claims against insurers today than there were just 12 short months ago. Fewer potential claimants means fewer claims as well – and that means less money flowing out of Aviva’s coffers (or the coffers of all insurers) and into the pockets of the injured.

Apparently that’s just not enough for Aviva; they want to limit their liability by much more. I’m sure they’d love that but that’s not how this game is played – if Aviva wants to not pay so much in whiplash claims maybe it should run a few advert campaigns on not driving like bloody lunatics. It would likely be more effective in the long run.

 

 

Government and insurers clash over whiplash claims

Industry news roundup: week ended 28 July 2014:

The Government and car insurance companies are currently at odds over how to handle the rising tide of personal injury compensation from whiplash claims.

Whiplash claims have been a thorn in the side for insurers for what seems like forever. Over the past decade or so though things have gotten quite horrid, what with a massive influx of scammers and fraudsters trying to weasel every last penny they can out of insurance providers by bringing spurious car accident claims. Insurers that pay out on these claims run up massive operating costs because there’s little to no actual difficulties in bringing whiplash claims in terms of proving you’ve actually been injured. It’s incredibly hard to disprove a whiplash claim, so most claimants can succeed, walking off with personal injury compensation that they don’t deserve – and causing insurers  to raise their premiums to remain in business.

The Government has had enough of this, and a new report published by MPs says that a new plan is in the works to make it a requirement for anyone making a whiplash claim to have a medical examination if they want to gain access to any insurance settlements. The idea here is that making medical examinations mandatory will help reduce or even eliminate fraud.

Of course insurers think this doesn’t go nearly far enough, simply because, well they’re insurers and they don’t want to spend any money at all if possible. Aviva, the UK’s largest insurance provider, has countered with a proposal of its own: whiplash sufferers don’t get a single penny in cash for their accident claims. Instead they would be provided free rehabilitation instead. Aviva says this could cut the yearly whiplash fraud loss by nearly half – and of course reduce the amount of cash insurers have to shell out to claimants.

This is all well and good, but for what it’s worth this means that people who have legitimately suffered whiplash could essentially be left twisting in the wind. I don’t know if you’ve ever actually had whiplash but it hurts like a right bastard – you could be laid up for weeks at a time with excruciating pain. Who’s going to pay your bills during those weeks until the pain subsides enough for you to go back to work?  I understand insurers are a greedy lot, but come on now – show some compassion!