Car accident claim backfires, results in £9k legal bill

After their whiplash compensation claim backfired, three scaffolders and their employer, who had filed a car accident claim in the wake of a 1 mph road shunt that had damaged their lorry and injured them, were slapped with a £9,ooo legal bill.

Employees from S&S Scaffolding  in Atherton filed a personal injury claim after a bin wagon from Wigan Council collided with their flatbed lorry in Tyldesley in 2008.  The accident resulted in £300 worth of vehicle damage to the scaffolding company’s lorry as well as £6,130 in lost earnings due to the time the lorry was off the road for repairs.

Three staff,  Gareth and Thomas Gemmel of Great Lever, and James Stubbs of Daubhill, claimed that the rear shunt had given them whiplash injuries.  The three workers requested £3,700 in personal injury compensation from Wigan Council for their injuries.

However, at a hearing at Bolton County Court, Judge Joanne Shaw threw the claim out in a stunning reversal.  The claimants were instead ordered to pay £9,332 in legal costs to the council.

One spokesman for Wigan Council stated that more than £70,000 in legal bills had resulted from the proceedings.  The council did indeed accept responsibility for the collision – however it adamantly refused to accept the legal costs, the claims for damage sustained to the vehicle or the claims of injuries on the parts of the three scaffolders.

The spokesperson added that Judge Shaw saw fit to rule that the traffic accident had not been the cause of any significant damage or any injuries at all.  It was also stated that the judge dismissed more than £50,000 in legal fees.

For more information about whiplash, the success rates of compensation claims and the types of treatments available, see

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