'Pavement trip' man in court after trying to con Wakefield Council out of £150k

The man in question sustained leg injuries from a fight, but attempted to claim he'd fallen over a damaged kerb.
The man in question sustained leg injuries from a fight, but attempted to claim he'd fallen over a damaged kerb.

A man who tried to con taxpayers out of tens of thousands of pounds by pretending he had hurt himself falling over a pavement has been fined.

Wakefield Council revealed earlier this year that it had seen off a fraudulent claim against the authority for damages, after it emerged the man had sustained his injuries in a fight instead.

Coun Matthew Morley said the authority could have been forced to pay 150,000, significantly higher than the sum earlier reported.

Coun Matthew Morley said the authority could have been forced to pay 150,000, significantly higher than the sum earlier reported.

The local authority originally said that it could have been sued for a sum in the region of £25,000. But now a senior Cabinet member says £150,000 may have been paid out had the claim been successful.

Councillor Matthew Morley said that a counter-claim was made against the man after the original case was dropped and he was taken to court.

Coun Morley, the portfolio holder for transport, said such lawsuits meant council services could have been worse off as a result.

He said that meant potentially "fewer roadworks being carried out".

Writing in a report going before full council next week, Coun Morley said: "In a recent case, a claim was received where the claimant alleged he had fallen over a broken kerb and had sustained very serious leg injuries; the potential settlement figure was £150,000.

"The ensuing investigation, which also involved contacts with the police and the local health services, revealed that the injuries were the result of a fight elsewhere in the district.

"Presented with the findings unearthed by the council, the claimant withdrew his claim.

"In order to send a strong message to potential claimants, this particular case was referred to the council’s corporate fraud team and a counter case taken out against the claimant.

"Consequently, the claimant admitted submitting a fraudulent claim and he was fined and had costs awarded against him."

The man involved in the incident has not been named.

Local Democracy Reporting Service