Industry news roundup: week ended 24 Sept 2012:
This week, it seems like everywhere you turned there was a story about how someone, somewhere was milking personal injury compensation cases as hard as they possibly could.
New research recently revealed that over the course of 2011, more than £5 million was spent by local schools across the UK for personal injury claims made by schoolchildren – but only half of that sum actually went to injured students. The other half went straight into the pockets of personal injury solicitors, sometimes in instances that saw legal fees dwarf actual compensation payments!
The recent survey, which was carried out under a Freedom of Information request, saw that there was a serious disparity amongst payouts made to schoolchildren and the fees their lawyers walked out with. One of the most egregious cases involved a student who injured his finger after getting it trapped in a door, leading to a £3,750 compensation payout for the schoolboy, but resulted in £36,000 in court costs and legal fees paid to the solicitor firm representing the injured student. A ‘good neighbour’ who was nominated for a community award has been branded a ‘liar’ in court after making a false personal injury claim.
The avarice of personal injury lawyers is already legendary, but there’s always the occasional story that also makes you lose faith in humanity as well, such as the story that a man formerly commended by his local authority was caught red-handed in trying to wheedle some cash from the very same council by trumping up a false personal injury claim. Furhan Mustafa was caught in the lie recently by Salford council investigators, resulting in the district judge throwing out his claim for £3,000 – and ordering that he pay the £5,500 the town incurred in legal costs defending the spurious claim.
The worst part about this is that the 22 year old man had become a finalist in the Good Neighbour category for the Be Proud community awards for Manchester council. Originally nominated because of the time he spent working with vulnerable people, Mustafa was even praised in a letter to the Queen by one of the elderly neighbours he helped out.