In response to Roger Hind's letter (4 July, Insurance Times), I am pleased to see a debate opening on the subject of personal injury claims.

However, I believe the thrust of Roger's letter is incorrect. Fortunately, we have yet to see court awards reach the ludicrous levels of the US. I don't think anyone would argue that a person injured as a result of negligence has no rights to compensation - the problem facing liability insurers is the sheer scale of spurious claims being pursued, all of which cost insurers money to defend.

Just a few examples to make you think, taken from our current claims files:

1. Person on karting circuit fails to negotiate hairpin bend and hits barrier. Claim raised alleges the corner was too sharp, plus the favourite of all personal injury solicitors - failure to provide seat belts - they completely overlook (or are in ignorance of) H&SE regulations not allowing seat belts on karts. Real reason for accident (yes, racing accident) - claimant driving too fast, beyond his ability. Faulty nut between steering wheel and seat is the real cause.

2. Person, again on karting circuit, loses control and hits tyre barrier, which is designed to absorb impact. Claimant continues to drive, finishes race, and goes to a bar before driving home (all caught on CCTV). Six months later Mr Solicitor alleges claimant broke leg in accident when a tyre fell from the two-foot high barrier onto his leg.

3. Person participating in paintball game in woodland, trips over a hidden branch on ground and falls onto hard object (paintball gun in hand) suffering internal injuries. Solictor alleges negligence due to a branch being on the floor (remember this is woodland). Every case arrives with after-the-event (ATE) policy already in place.

Paul Hudson


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