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East and West Sussex County Councils fork out nearly half a million on claims
Nearly half a million pounds in compensation was paid out to council staff in just two years.
East and West Sussex county councils forked out £472,973 in compensation to employees in 2012 and 2013.
The payments included £23,000 by West Sussex County Council (WSCC) to a teacher who slipped on a puddle of water, suffering ligament damage to their feet and ankle.
A WSCC spokeswoman said the council did initially resist the claim, but a court ruled against the authority and ordered it to pay compensation.
The authority also paid out £18,000 to a person who was hit in the shoulder by an electric door.
Another staff member working for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service was paid £5,000 after suffering a shoulder injury lifting a fence.
In total WSCC paid out £125,954 in 2012 and 2013. East Sussex County Council (ESCC) paid out £347,019 in the same period – including £72,000 for a “school playground accident” and £54,000 when a claimant fell on a school step.
An ESCC spokesman said the authority “thoroughly investigated all claims” and would only pay compensation when there was a “legal liability to do so”.
Brighton and Hove City Council said it could not provide the requested data for the two years.
However in March this newspaper reported that the authority paid out £64,298 for just nine claims between 2010 and 2012.
The figure included more than £5,000 paid out to somebody who was exposed to a high-pitched alarm, causing them to develop tinnitus.
Another claimant was awarded £4,685 when a CCTV monitor fell off a desk on to their foot.
A spokeswoman from West Sussex County Council said: “The county council examines the merits of all claims and, where they are large, does so in consultation with its insurers. Where a claim is fully supported by evidence then a settlement will be considered so as to save incurring costs of unnecessary litigation. Where that is not the case the matter will be resisted.
“Claims, however small, are never paid out unless they are supported by strong evidence that the council has been negligent.
“As a large employer and an organisation with many buildings to operate, the county council will be on the receiving end of claims resulting from accidents at work.”
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