Local councils bled by accident claims

Industry news roundup: week ended 16 June 2014:

Local councils across the UK are being bled dry by expensive accident claims, according to a raft of new revelations.

There’s nothing people like more than to point the finger at a profligate local authority and accuse councilors of wasting taxpayer money on spurious personal injury compensation claims. Recently, these lucky naysayers have been given shedloads of new ammunition after several new figures have come to light.

First up is the absolutely massive 16 million pound in damages that Sheffield Council has paid out over the last five years. More than 3,100 personal injury claims were made against the council on a wide variety of injuries, ranging from children leaving playgrounds scarred to workers burned after a run in with a defective piece of machinery.

Sheffield was definitely one of the worst off, and while I’m usually not one to entertain ideas of anything even approaching the idea of a wide-ranging ‘compensation culture’ conspiracy orchestrated by the nation’s personal injury lawyers I do have to say that 16 million pounds is a fair bit of dosh. Most other local authorities have a much lower legal bill in actuality; a fantastic example of this would be the 330 thousand pounds paid out by Lincolnshire County Council over the same period of time.

The injuries cited in Lincolnshire aren’t all that different than those in Sheffield, but for some reason there were fewer successful claims made overall. Whether that’s because Sheffield has less competent investigators or Lincolnshire has a better class of injury lawyer working for it I’ll never be able to tell you, as I simply don’t know. I can say that while 300,000 pounds sounds like a king’s ransom it’s a drop in the bucket compared 16 million!

Maybe there should be some exchange of ideas between the two local authorities. It might help Sheffield clean up its act. I mean I can’t believe that Sheffield residents are just that much more accident-prone. Of course there’s always the off chance that Lincolnshire’s public infrastructures are just that much more better maintained than Sheffield’s. Whatever the actual reasoning behind the massive differences in payouts, one thing is clear: Brits are  a mightily clumsy group of people.


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