Wolverhampton council pays out £1m in compensation claims
A finger bitten off by a school pupil, bags of rubbish too heavy for workers to lift and a banged head from zip-wiring - just some of the reasons Wolverhampton council has paid out more than £1 million in compensation over the last five years.
The authority has coughed up to staff and members of the public after they were injured mopping floors, putting up flatscreen TVs, taking showers, hanging curtains and dancing.
The TaxPayers' Alliance today said bosses needed to 'get a grip', while the city's Tory opposition leader said they had 'little regard for the value of money'.
Click here for the top 10 most obscure and expensive claims
According to a freedom of information request, the most expensive payout was £92,500 to someone who fell over at a council-owned site. A person who slipped on snow got £22,000, while someone who slipped over while dancing got £35,000.
Last year saw the most amount of compensation paid out, with a grand total of £226,067.80. The council shelled out £178,641.34 in 2013/14 and £106,721.07 in 2012/13.
It comes at the same time the council needs to save £134 million by 2019 and has come up with money-saving cuts including a rise in council tax, less funding for the Grand Theatre and £820,000 from the older people's budget.
However, despite the £1,116,060 paid out in compensation since 2010, only 16 per cent of personal injury claims submitted to the council were actually successful. Since 2009/10 it has received 1,144 claims, but only paid out on 183.
Councillor Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for resources, said payouts were 'very much the exception and not the rule'.
He said: "Our insurance team has recently been rated as exemplary by one of the world's biggest private insurers. Very few of the claims made against us are successful.
"For the last two years, we have paid out on less than 30 per cent of claims received. We work hard to ensure incidents don't happen in the first place, but of course accidents do happen and there are circumstances where we are liable and have no alternative but to pay out.
"These are very much the exception and not the rule."
Tory leader Councillor Wendy Thompson said: "They have been very irresponsible indeed with how little regard they have had for the value of money."
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, added: "The council has got to get a grip on this compensation culture."