Work accident claims running rampant?

Industry news roundup: week ended 2 June 2014:

Is it just me or does it seem like the nation’s places of work are just getting increasingly unsafe for staff and workers?

I mean it’s been absolutely everywhere in the news this week – work accident claims seem to be on the increase. And no before you go whinging about how it’s ‘compensation culture’ rearing its ugly head, jog on – that’s obviously a myth that’s been put to bed. No, I’m more concerned with the working conditions of regular Brits, especially when it comes to job positions in the public sector.

You want some examples? How about this one – a teacher working for West Sussex County Council ended up having to make a personal injury compensation claim for £23,000 after they slipped in a puddle-filled school corridor and ending up with ligament damage in their ankle and feet. Tory commentators are all up in arms at the high price tag – which admittedly is more than the starting salary of a teacher in the same region – but let’s be honest here; do you really think a local authority is so loose with their cash that they would be willing to just part with some unless it was actually warranted? No local council wants to deprive pupils of taxpayer money but if you’re responsible for a bad injury you’ve got to pay up – it’s only fair.

Meanwhile these costs add up over the years, which makes the situation look just that much worse. Consider how news broke this week that Leicester City Council has ended up forking over almost £2 million in personal injury compensation over the last five years. The statistics make it look bleak, as there was some £700,000 paid out on just over 150 claims over this period of time, with the remainder of the payout going to legal fees and court costs.

Now, stop shouting – five years ago there were much fewer regulations on how much a personal injury lawyer could charge in legal fees. Nowadays with regulations banning things like referral fees and altering how lawyers can recover costs from defendants, that incredibly high legal fee bill falls into a bit of perspective now doesn’t it?

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