MORE than £100,000 of Wigan taxpayers’ money has been saved after two major compo bids against the council were defeated in court.
The authority’s officers successfully defended the two legal actions, one of which saw one woman try to sue it for more than £70,000 after falling over drunk in the street.
I find the claim to be exaggerated and she has altered it as she has gone alongDistrict Judge Marilyn Mornington
Another tried to win damages of nearly £40,000 after falling off a chair while cleaning.
In the first case the woman tripped on the pavement on August 3 2012 on Kelway Terrace, Wigan, and needed hospital treatment.
She instructed solicitors to sue the council for damages and costs totalling £73,500 claiming the pavement where she fell was defective. But District Judge Marilyn Mornington at Wigan County Court found her to be an unreliable witness and said it was far more likely she had been out drinking and fallen on her way home.
The claimant said that after the fall she needed care for 12 weeks and even required help in washing and drying her hair.
District Judge Mornington found a series of weaknesses in her account.
The claimant was found to be intoxicated at hospital but told the court she consumed alcohol after the fall.
Medical records show she was still intoxicated three hours after the fall.
Judge Mornington said: “She was drunk and in her intoxicated state I do not find that she knew where the accident occurred.
“I find the claim to be exaggerated and she has altered it as she has gone along. She has only herself to blame and the claim is dismissed.”
In a second case a school cleaner attempted to sue the council for £39,500 after she fell while stood on a chair while cleaning window ledges.
She claimed she should have been provided with ladders.
However, in the witness box at Wigan County Court the cleaner admitted that she knew it was dangerous to stand on the chair.
The court also heard that other cleaners had been told in their training that they should not climb. Ladders were only provided to school staff who had received ladder training such as caretakers and the site superviser. The case was dismissed.
Coun Paul Kenny, Wigan Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “If successful these completely misleading claims would have cost Wigan borough taxpayers more than £100,000 of their money.
“Thankfully, we have robust systems in place to defend exaggerated and fraudulent claims against the council.
“Taxpayers should be in no doubt where we are suspicious we will challenge dubious claims and protect the public purse.”