Compo Culture (an oxymoron if ever I heard one)

27 Jun

I want to tell you a story. There was a young woman who claimed compensation for a fall and injury. The Royal Courts of Justice heard a claim this spring by a Dover woman who fell into a moat around a museum back in 2007. She suffered a head injury and claimed £300,000 compensation (Compo). The case was taken by a no-win, no-fee Legal firm (also known as ambulance chasers) who would have charged an estimated £700,000 costs if they had won. As it turned out the woman’s case was rejected by the Court after a four day hearing. The case hinged on a duty of care argument. This despite the site being securely locked and having clearly visible signs showing that it closed at 5 PM and being protected by a three foot high wall. The ambulance chasers claimed that the museum owed a duty of care to the woman EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS TRESPASSING.

The woman and her friends had been drinking at home before going out for the night. They had then consumed more vodkas in at least three pubs. On trying to get a taxi home the woman was in desperate need of the use of a toilet. The taxi firm refused her use of their own facilities. The woman walked 100 feet up to the perimeter of the wall, climbed this and walked a further sixty-five feet to where the accident occurred. She was in the middle of emptying her bladder when she overbalanced and fell down the ditch. As the judge said, she was the author of her own misfortune.

That someone can get very drunk, break into a site, injure themselves and then claim against the owners of the site beggars the imagination. With adverts on the TV, cold calling and other nuisances the ambulance chasers encourage such daft claims. Everyone has a duty of care, especially for their own actions. If you are looking for someone to blame for such an accident you should first blame yourself. I am not saying that there are no proper claims, but there are too many vexatious and trivial claims coming to court. These should go through a simple filter process from some sort of Ombudsman. The ambulance chasers are greedy for their money and push ridiculous cases which should never be encouraged. Legal firms should be charged double costs for bringing such cases to court.

Moreover, the Compo (Compensation) culture is very bad for our society. Rather than being compensated for their stupidity and recklessness these people should be made to pay a large fine to cover the costs of their medical care. In more serious cases such people would remove themselves from the genetic pool, thus improving things for future generations.


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