When people across the country are making cut backs to deal with the economic downturn, any unnecessary spending by local governments is quickly picked up on.
In a recent article by The Daily Mail it was Rotherham Council that bore the brunt of the criticism. It was reported that since 2007 Rotherham Council had paid out over £1 million in compensation for minor slips trips and falls.
The article then went into detail about the various types of avoidable claims that eventually resulted in significant payouts. The main examples were: a cleaner who was awarded £9,128 after stumbling over a mop handle, falling and pulling a groin muscle, 12 road workers who were collectively awarded over £184,000 due to injuries caused by using vibrating machinery and an NHS worker who was awarded £10,860 after slipping over in the shower.
So, what can be done to discourage or prevent these accident claims?
Many of these accidents were caused by lapses in the health and safety measures.
If the council were to give greater importance to these measures, it will almost certainly result in fewer claims in the future.
Another way to minimise these claims is to reform legislation at a national level.
Currently, these claims may have come about as a result of a claims company passing on the claimant’s detail to a solicitor for a referral fee. Hopefully, by making the practice of referral fees illegal, the government will help to decrease the number of claims that are brought against local councils. Unfortunately, we are unlikely to see the effect of this new legislation until late in 2013.