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The Great British Public Learning Lessons of Safety

Sep 8, 2008
BRITISH people have learned the lessons of summer safety. New research from the firm shows that Brits are taking care to avoid potential accidents when driving, holding a barbecue or playing on the beach.

The evidence, says National Accident Helpline, shows the true nature of Britain's culture.

National Accident Helpline legal director John Campbell said that most Britons realised that they couldn't and shouldn't make spurious compensation claims.

The findings stand in sharp contrast to some of the crazier claims heard in America - where for example Roy L Pearson Jr filed asked for $67m in compensation from a dry cleaner he claimed lost his trousers.

He later reduced his demand to $54m - but was accused of 'frivolous litigation'.

Mr Campbell said: "If Mr Pearson had called National Accident Helpline, we could have advised him at no cost to the taxpayer that his accident claim did not stand a chance.

"Many of the myths of 'compensation culture' come from this kind of story crossing the Atlantic and finding their way into British folklore.

"Like everyone else, we have a laugh at the sheer absurdity of some of the claims - but we don't feel this should put people genuinely hurt in an accident that was not their fault from receiving appropriate compensation.

"Most Britons, as our research shows, are careful and sensible with what they do - and they deserve their employers, government and private firms to take the same care."

National Accident Helpline (http://www.national-accident-helpline.co.uk) asked more than 100 people their attitudes to activities traditionally associated with risky behaviour.

But they found that in summer 2008, 89 per cent of people decided against using lighter fluid or petrol to light their barbecue.

Around 99 per cent stopped swimming at the beach if they had anything to drink at all - while 96 per cent of people would change out of their flip flops and into sensible shoes before getting behind the wheel of a car to make sure they didn't risk an accident.

Five stupid compensation claims.....only in America

1. Roy L Pearson Jr - in 2007 Pearson Jr filed for $67m compensation after claiming a dry cleaner lost his trousers.

2. In 2006, Allen Ray Heckard, then 51, filed for compensation on the basis that he had been told he looked a lot like basketball star Michael Jordan, which he claimed was distressing. His demands? A mere $52 million "for defamation and permanent injury" $364 million in "punitive damage for emotional pain and suffering", plus the SAME amount from Nike co-founder Phil Knight, equalling a grand total of $832 million. He dropped the case after discussions with Nike's lawyers.

3. The same year, a woman called Marcy Meckler tried to sue a shopping centre for $50,000 after she was 'attacked' in its grounds by a squirrel. She claimed that the owners of the shopping centre should have warned her that squirrels live outside.

4. Christopher Roller filed a claim for 10 per cent of the earnings of magicians David Blaine and David Copperfield unless they reveal their secrets to him. He thought that would add up to around $52m. He claimed the magicians stole his 'Godly powers' for themselves.

5. In 2005 Rhonda Nicholls said that a 'wild bird' attacked her as she walked outside a Home Depot store. She demanded 'at least' $100,000 from the store. The court threw out her claim.
About the Author
NAH are the UK's leading no win no fee experts, specialising in accident claims - helping victims of personal injury get the maximum reward following a compensation claim.
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