COMPENSATION claims of more than a quarter of a million pounds have been paid out by council bosses to people who have tripped over.
Hartlepool Borough Council has paid out £280,827 in compensation between 2009 and last year where a total of 26 people made claims for trips on public pavements or council land.
The level of claims for trips range from £32,027 down to £250 and are among a total of £455,117 that has been paid out by the council for damage to vehicles and property, damage caused by potholes and damage caused to underground services.
Figures released by the council following a Freedom of Information request show £223,712 was paid out for trips in 2009, £57,115 in 2010 and none last year.
But council bosses say it cannot be said there has been a reduction in claim payouts as they can take several years to settle and may not have yet been finalised from this period.
Council bosses also say they carry out regular inspections of pavements and roads to cut down on payouts and they “rigorously scrutinise” all claims and do not hesitiate to contest any believed to be bogus.
The council payouts in the three years include:
● Trips on pavements £234,714;
● Damage to council or third party vehicles £151,395;
● Trips on council land £46,113;
● Employee claim £8,235;
● Damage to property £8,072;
● Damage to underground services £6,802;
● Incident in leisure centre £5,300;
● Pothole damage £4,677;
● Loss or damage to personal property £2,128.
A council spokesman said: “The council carries out regular inspections of its roads and pavements to mitigate against the risk of insurance claims.
“We also urge the community to make us aware of any surfaces which they think are a risk to the public.
“It is very difficult to compare payouts year on year because some claims can take two to three years to settle.
“In addition, we also rigorously scrutinise any insurance claim made against the council and if we feel that a claim is not legitimate we will not hesitate in contesting it.
“This has resulted in several previous claims against the council either being dropped or the council winning in court.”
● Pot holes or defective pavements can be reported to the council by calling (01429) 523333 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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