From ‘tripping over a croquet hoop’, getting bitten by ‘ferrets and fish’, getting ‘hit in the eye by ammonia stoppers’ to receiving a head injury caused by a ‘falling box of bacon’.
These are only a few examples of insurance claims, that have earned payouts amounting to thousands of pounds in compensation.
You may think that the ‘Compensation Culture’ is a modern phenomenon, fuelled by a generation of feckless, lazy and inherently greedy people, with help from the aggressive advertising practices of ambulance chasing lawyers.
It may therefore surprise you, that people have been trying to get one over on insurance companies, and getting something for nothing, for well over a hundred years.
Like the Lancashire Grocer, who in 1878, made a successful claim after he slipped while playing Blind Man’s Buff?
He was awarded £15, the modern equivalent of £724.
Or the Essex merchant who injured his eye while throwing rice at a wedding in 1892.
He got £50 (£2,994).
A Swansea artist got blown to the ground by a gust of wind in 1886.
He got £30 (£1,796).
In 1878, a publican from Handsworth, Birmingham, managed to drink poison after mistaking it for his wife’s sleeping draught.
He still made a claim though, pocketing £1,000 (£48,310).
‘Trip or fall? Give your lawyer a call’
The city of Manchester were forced to cough up £3.4 Million to their own workers over the past five years, according to Freedom of Information requests.
Some workers received payouts after tripping while delivering leaflets or sustaining injuries setting up a trampoline, while others were assaulted by members of the public.
One employee at Bury council received £3,000 after burning their hand on a hot fish pie while serving lunch, the Manchester Evening News reported.
In 2009, a worker was given £1,750 after injuring himself while setting up a trampoline.
Another was awarded £5,000 after claiming to suffer ‘psychological problems’ and ‘mental anguish’ as a result of passive smoking.
It is difficult these days to avoid seeing the warning notices that councils, shops, public transport, in fact anything, that allows public access, have to display in order to avoid spurious claims from the type of people, who obviously struggle to walk on their hind legs for any length of time, without managing to trip over and harm themselves in some way.
It could seem to the casual observer, that the amount of claims submitted over ‘accidents’ caused by the simplest of human activities, are a full time occupation for some people.
Most employers and the majority of Insurance companies, have now cottoned on to the simple fact, that there are indeed people, who choose the pursuit of ‘Compo,’ as a lifestyle choice.
It has now, thankfully, become increasingly difficult for the serial claimants, to simply get handed armfuls of cash.
Medical evidence has become much more difficult for the professionally lazy to obtain, likewise the Insurance assessors are armed with far greater investigative powers.
Beverage cups and cooked products are clearly marked as being ‘very hot’ in fast food outlets, furniture is securely fastened to the floor, and even silica gel sachets found in packaged goods, now carry the warning that they should ‘Not be eaten’.
This has given Insurance Companies and employers, a greater means of protection in regard to what are obviously falsified claims, to some degree.
The more parasitic of those among the population however, have now come up with a far more nefarious method, of what is after all, obtaining money by deception.
They have played the system for many years, and are never short of coming up with ways of making a claim for anything they can get away with.
The latest weapon of choice, relies upon an act, which in law, is known as ‘Alarm and Distress.’
This practice, becoming far more commonplace, especially online, involves making a criminal complaint to the police, whenever something is written or heard about them, they do not particularly like.
If the person they have made the complaint about is then convicted, it gives them an opportunity to then pursue a personal ‘Alarm and Distress’ financial claim against them too.
This could of course, have massive implications for anyone who uses the internet, specifically Social Networks like Twitter and Facebook, which have millions of users worldwide.
If a precedent is set, it may soon become a criminal act to respond to anybody, even under extreme provocation, in anything other than a totally submissive and neutral manner.
Asking valid questions could be seen as being ‘offensive,’ ‘bullying’ or overly ‘aggressive’ behaviour, which means you could end up in court for merely questioning, responding or reacting to what could in fact be months of online baiting.
As most normal internet users would not even consider behaving in this despicable manner, the online world could soon become a very perilous arena for decent people to enter.
On a happier note, some people, although their actions in the real world would not be considered as compassionate or humanitarian, they did at least, have some morals.
For example, Winston Churchill bought a personal accident policy in 1896 at the age of 21 while a young officer in the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars, and kept up the payments until his death in 1965.
Without ever making a claim.
*Disclaimer: In ‘Genuine’ cases, Compensation payments are justified and thoroughly deserved. Unfortunately, anything that involves money, is open to abuse and greed, therefore will always be a target for unscrupulous people. This article in no way reflects upon honest, genuine and deserving people.*