Damage claim for 1mph crash thrown out of court

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SCAFFOLDING workers who tried to claim thousands in injury damages from Wigan Council after a one mile per hour crash have had it thrown out by a judge.

A hearing at Bolton County Court heard driver James Stubbs of Henley Grove, Bolton, and passengers Thomas and Gareth Gemmell of Hinkler Avenue, Bolton, suffered whiplash injuries when the flatbed lorry they were in was struck by a council wagon in slow-moving traffic in Tyldesley in 2008.

Vehicle owners S&S Scaffolding of Atherton, also claimed compensation for damage to the lorry.

The council faced a legal bill of more than £70,000 and while the authority accepted blame for the collision, it refused to accept the injury claims, claims for damage to the vehicle and the legal costs.

The court heard from an independent engineer who testified that the collision would have resulted in damage that would have cost no more than £300 to repair.

Eye-witnesses said the council lorry was travelling at between one and two miles an hour when the collision occurred.

District Judge Joanne Shaw described the claim of £6,430 for the damage and loss of use of the lorry as “wholly wrong.”

She ruled the accident had not given rise to any injuries or significant damage. She also dismissed a legal bill of more than £50,000. The judge instead awarded the authority £9,332.

Wigan Council’s Director of Corporate Services, Paul McKevitt, said: “Local authorities are facing an increasing number of claims from people who say they were injured in low speed impacts but we are determined to scrutinise all allegations in order to protect public funds. It’s particularly disappointing, as this company has worked for the council in the past.”