Parliamentary Privilege: Frivolous Personal Injury Claims

parliamentary injury claimsFrivolous? Well, how else would you describe someone filing a claim for tripping over their umbrella, ripping their crotch bending over to plug in a computer or getting their glasses bent when they failed to open a door before trying to walk through it.

Ah yes – stupid. That’s the word I was looking for. ;-)

From the Telegraph 22/04/13:

The House of Commons paid £95 to an employee who tripped on an umbrella and £90 to another who ripped their trousers as part of more than £40,000 handed out in compensation over five years.

Between January 2008 and January 2013 employees have received a total of £44,609.49 in compensation, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

"Personal injury compensation" for "slips, trips and falls" accounts for £42,550 and the rest relates to property damage.

You’ve gotta watch out for those slips and trips. Personally, I’d remove all stairs, cushion all doors and install high grip flooring throughout parliamentary premises. MPs have a proven track record of having difficulty with anything which doesn’t involve being chauffeured around whilst sat on their fat behinds.

This property damage includes £435.50 for five "ripped suit jackets" and £688.80 for an incident in March 2012 when a "security road blocker rose up under the rear of a car while waiting for the preceding vehicle to exit through gates".

Crikey. Let’s just be thankful that a skirt-wearing female wasn’t stood over that bollard before it rose to the occasion. A damaged [car] undercarriage seems a small price to pay by comparison.

An employee who incurred "damage to glasses due to a problem with door" was awarded £240 and £90 as handed out for "trousers ripped whilst connecting IT equipment under the table".

I sincerely hope the problem with the door wasn’t the person failing to open it before trying to walk through. More to the point, how much does a tailor charge to sew up a crotch? Actually, when you put it that way, £90 sounds quite reasonable.

Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "It is deeply depressing that the compensation culture has even found its way into the House of Commons.

"It's frankly ludicrous that taxpayers are footing the bill for when someone snags their clothing in Parliament.

Now, hold hard, Matthew. A ripped crotch is a ripped crotch and someone’s got to foot the bill. If I was the employee who’d trousers had split when plugging in a computer, I would have tried to bring an action against the House of Commons for the negligence of their canteen staff serving such highly calorific food.

A spokesperson added: "The House of Commons, like the Civil Service, self-insures for employers' and public liability.

The exemption from holding employers' liability insurance comes from the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.


  1. Why do you call modest restitution for employees who damage their clothing while doing their job either frivolous or stupid ? You could argue that it is inappropriate, but name calling does not make your case.
    Similarly, if a security device malfunctions or is inappropriately deployed and damages your vehicle whilst you are on your employer's property, why on earth would they not have to compensate you ?


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