Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Monday, 2 January 2006

Dubious insurance claims 'rising'

Public lavatory (archive)
The claimant blamed his toilet accident on the council

A man who tried to sue a local authority after he soiled his trousers has made it on to a list of the most spurious compensation claims.

He blamed the accident on the closure of a bus station toilet and demanded the price of a new pair of trousers.

The case was among thousands of public liability claims - costing councils and insurance firms 250m a year - recorded by public insurer Zurich Municipal.

The firm said exaggerated and spurious claims were on the increase.


Other spurious claims to make the list included a bin man who took legal action against his council claiming he was "startled" by a dead badger which fell out of a bag.

Also included were a shoplifter who tried to sue after she fell down stairs while running from the scene of a crime, and a motorist who filed a claim after failing to see a roundabout in broad daylight - despite there being a tree in the middle.

One man tried to take legal action against several local authorities and the Archbishop of Canterbury "on behalf of all the homeless people in Britain".

Zurich Municipal claims director Iwan Borszcz said spurious claims were harming the interests of genuine claimants.

He said: "We work on behalf of customers to ensure genuine claimants receive the service they deserve, but considerable time is often wasted dealing with what turn out to be spurious, and even imaginative claims."

He added: "We are constantly amazed at some of the excuses people use to try to claim against public bodies. It just goes to show that working in insurance is more interesting than people may think."

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