Accident claims cost Norfolk county and Norwich city councils nearly £1m
13:21 20 August 2012
© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2010
Nearly £1 million of taxpayers’ cash was spent in 12 months settling compensation claims for people injured on Norfolk’s roads.
Payouts and legal fees for trips, bumps and crashes cost Norfolk county and Norwich city councils £938,236 after 67 claims against the two authorities were successful during 2011/12.
Cases settled during this 12-month period include accidents which have taken place since 2007, while officials say they are successfully defending 75pc of cases despite the rate of claims being made increasing.
In total, 291 claims were made against the two councils in 2011/12, with 91 related to roads managed by Norwich City Council.
The authority dealt with 71 claims in this period of which 16 resulted in payments totalling £116,324. But the council defended 77pc of its cases – beating its 75pc target.
Successful Norwich claimants included:
A jogger who suffered soft tissue damage to their ankle after tripping over a pothole at the junction of Aylsham Road with Wingfield Road and received £5,750 in compensation, plus £6,725;
A person who sustained a moderate knee injury after tripping on a raised/low paving slab in Surrey Street collected £4,250 compensation and £2,821.91 legal costs;
A person who received a minor shoulder injury after walking into a “low/protruding” sign on the footway in Recorder Road/Prince of Wales Road received £650 compensation.
There were 200 claims made during 2011/12 in the Norfolk County Council highways area. The authority settled 51 of its total cases with payment last year, costing £821,912.
The biggest single compensation payout last year was £63,633, plus £60,822 legal costs, to a person who sustained rib fractures after tripping on a crack/craze on a Great Yarmouth pavement in 2007.
Andrew Boswell, left, Norwich Nelson county councillor and Green Party transport spokesman, said: “From the council’s point of view, to be spending nearly a million quid on claims in one year seems like a huge amount of money to me. Given it’s nearly a seven-figure sum on claims, the way pavements, potholes and roads are kept up needs to be looked at again.
“One wonders why these particular ones slipped through the net and caused injuries.”
But a Norwich Highways committee report praised the work being done by the councils’ highways inspectors, contractor May Gurney and the county council’s insurance team to defend the claims.
It added: “It is anticipated that the introduction of improved methods of recording highway inspections and actions taken will lead to this target being met in this financial year despite the increasing number of claims.”