Scams, Claims And Compensation Games Review

February 25, 2010 by  
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SCAMS, CLAIMS AND COMPENSATION GAMES: Thursday 25th February, 9pm, Channel 4 ALERT ME

About eight years ago, I tripped over a metal object sticking out from the pavement. I stood up, dusted myself off and got on with my life. In any case, I had GCSEs to revise for.

Little did I know just a few years later we would be bombarded by adverts asking “Have you been hurt in an accident in the last three years?” and shown members of the public tripping over floorboards or falling off ladders and raking in thousands for their misfortune.

Can you really get thousands of pounds for cutting yourself shaving? Yes, according to Steve Ireland, manager of the personal injury department at Rooney’s legal firm in Liverpool. It’s easy to see why so many are lured into the world of ‘No Win, No Fee’, and the industry is growing at a rapid rate.

To be fair, Steve is shown in a pretty harmless light, revealing a Star Trek obsession and insisting he’s fighting for the little man. If he wins a claim, you go home with a few bob in your pocket and Rooney’s makes thousands of costs from the losing side.

Meanwhile Jim Ulet, a man who seems constantly on the move, is a claims investigator hired by the council to put up better fights against no win no fee merchants.

“They don’t want to go to court, they want an easy life. But it’s not our job to give them an easy life!” says Jim, seen measuring pavements to the millimetre and inspecting every tree on Clapham Common.

To anyone else this might look like a bad case of OCD, but Jim is sick to death of bogus claimants. “There’s a section of society that want money for nothing”. I blame those adverts.

The show then zooms in on individual cases. Cue amateur re-enactment from the victims and emotional interviews at the kitchen table. Carlos’ son’s broken toe, according to Ireland, can fetch anything from £1,750 to £3,000. Although his mum argues, “it’s not about the money”, the boy’s face looks priceless when he’s awarded £2,250 by his primary school.

We also meet Richard who cut himself shaving. “It was just a normal day”, he says (I often wonder why this is always mentioned before a disaster, as if gloomy music and evil robots are meant to preceed it like something out of a Hollywood blockbuster).

In the end he makes a cool sum of money that had me tempted to fall off the nearest ladder. I’d be more likely to win a claim for that than for psychological trauma from watching mediocre documentaries.

Then again, I’m not sure. Where there’s blame there’s a claim right?