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Councils in Compensation Claims moaning shocker!
Once again the Local Government lobby is putting pressure on the public to try and deter us from exercising our legal rights! In yet another shameful PR stunt, the Local Government Association (LGA) has issued a press release bemoaning the fact that they are paying out large sums in compensation. We are saddened, but not surprised to see that they blame the volume of claims squarely at the foot of us ‘nasty’ No Win No Fee Claims Management Companies and Solicitors. The latest story states that some £53m has been paid out in compensation settlements, and that a further £12m has been spent on legal fees and court costs. However, at the same time, the LGA has scored an own goal to it’s own argument as the figures taken from an Asphalt Industry Alliance survey of Councils shows that only £52.3m has been spent on repairs to dangerous footpaths and roads. So at the same time as moaning about spending £60m + on genuine claims, the LGA have spent LESS ensuring that the roads and paths are safe which would then reduce the level of genuine claims that they would face! How these people end up in positions of authority is questionable at the very least!
Who is to blame?
The LGA, Insurers and some members of the establishment would like everyone to believe that the blame lies at the foot of people like me, companies like ours and the Solicitors that we work with. However, we know that only genuine claims will succeed. The onus on a claimant to prove that the councils have left a dangerous hazard that would be deemed sufficient to pass the legal liability requirements in situ for a period of time that would also pass the same test is very high. If one can prove the liability side of it, then the Council is in the wrong and they should then, in the eyes of the law, provide compensation to an injured party to cover their injuries and losses. It really is simple. LGA Spokesman David Sparks has been quoted in the media as saying “These figures show the extent to which our efforts are being hampered by the compensation culture that exists nowadays” he goes on to say “since no-win, no-fee was introduced, almost all councils have seen an increase in compensation claims”. To be fair, he does go on to say that where there are genuine claims, the claimant should be compensated. To me, this seems to indicate that he is taking the view that there are more fraudulent claims than genuine and that No-Win, No-Fee Solicitors and Claims Management Companies are actively encouraging individuals to lodge fraudulent claims. There is no evidence to support such a view and I wonder why he is wording what he says, the way he is? It is simple, if you end up paying up to settle a claim, you are liable. Thus, if the councils are spending what we are told they are on settling claims, they can only blame themselves.
No Win No Fee
Since the inception of No-Win, No-Fee claims in the UK, there has been a rise and now a fall in the number of claims issued and filed. It goes without saying that the reason for the rise is that when it was first launched, it informed the UK public that they had a right to claim compensation for injuries if they were caused by negligence. Prior to the No Win No Fee system, many claims were not made because individuals didn’t know that they could claim and could not afford to pay Solicitors fees should they fail. It seems that the LGA Spokesman is blaming me, my company, our solicitors and any claimants for exercising the legal rights entitled to all of us. So, if we have made people aware of their rights and helped them to claim compensation FOR WHICH THEY ARE LEGALLY AND GENUINELY ENTITLED, then I make no apology. Maybe, the LGA and Councils of the UK should concentrate on the very important work with which they are charged?