Take care if you live in Manchester – the city is fast becoming one of the country’s personal injury blackspots with the local council paying out £2 million a year to settle three claims every working day.
Manchester City Council has revealed 14 staff work flat out in the litigation department to deal with a flood of compensation claims – mostly from slips, trips and falls.
The department costs £400,000 a year to run. The average pay out per claim is £5,000 and just over 28% of the total number of claims end in a cash award.
The council calculates 95% of claims are settled out of court.
Many of the claims are for workplace accidents involving council workers – including the biggest pay out of £175,000 for one worker suffering from the fatal lung disease mesothelioma, which is often linked to exposure to deadly asbestos.
Despite the council’s legal and social obligations to make sure council workers, local residents and visitors are not unduly exposed to health and safety risks, some local politicians have a stern attitude to compensation claims.
Manchester City Council deputy leader Councillor Jim Battle has said: “On behalf of the people of Manchester, we robustly challenge all compensation claims and will continue to do so.
“The number of claims has fallen during the past year, reflecting our focus on the maintenance of streets and pavements.”
Another council paying out around £2 million a year in compensation claims is Leeds City Council.
At the other end of the scale is Lincolnshire County Council that pays out about £100,000 a year to settle claims from, staff and the public.
Paul Coathup, the council’s assistant director of highways, considers effective risk management keeps the level of claims low.
“Although not complacent, our exposure to claims is well below the national average due to our robust inspection and maintenance routines,” he said.