03 February 2016
Local Councils Pay High Price for Public Liability Claims
Defective roads and pavements, damage to housing, and personal injury has resulted in millions in pay-outs from local councils in the UK.
Tax Payer’s Alliance figures revealed Greater Manchester councils paid out more than £12 million in compensation over two years. In 2013/14 and 2014/15 Manchester alone paid more than £5 million for 807 claims – making it the second highest in England after Lambeth in London. These costs were the result of public liability compensation claims from people tripping on pavements, potholed roads causing damage to cars, workplace injuries, industrial diseases and damage to housing.
Councillor John Flanagan stated: “We take all claims very seriously and seek to deal with them efficiently and fairly. We also have a duty to protect taxpayers’ money and rigorously investigate all claims we suspect may be unreasonable or fraudulent.
“This can result in a range of actions, including criminal prosecution. We continue to regularly survey footpaths and roads, in order to minimise the amount of potential claims we receive.”
The figures from the Tax Payer’s Alliance revealed that councils in Hampshire paid out £1.2 million in 2014/15, following 1,139 compensation claims. A council spokesperson stated: "Each and every claim received against Hampshire County Council is investigated thoroughly and the relevant law applied to the individual circumstances.
Our experienced litigation teams robustly defend claims where there is no legal liability and their work incorporates identifying fraudulent and exaggerated claims."
Winchester City Council, who paid over £161,000 in compensation said that 85 per cent of claims were rejected “as no legal liability has been established.”
Slater and Gordon senior personal injury lawyer, Michael Hardacre, said: “The Taxpayers Alliance are completely missing the point here. There is a legal duty for councils to keep their roads and pavements in a fit state and make sure they are not dangerous. That is as it should be and what I would draw from the responses from the various councils is the good work they are doing in trying to minimise how much they pay out in compensation by properly maintaining roads and pavements and weeding out fraudulent claims. Genuinely injured people whose accidents are caused by a real failure on the part of councils to meet their legal obligations to properly maintain their highways should and will be entitled to recover compensation for their injuries and loss.”
Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation for people who have suffered injuries caused by accidents in public places.
If you were injured in public in an accident that wasn’t your fault, call our personal injury lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you. Your claim will be assessed on a No Win, No Fee basis.