Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Sartre Was Right…

Hell really is ‘other people’:
A family forced to spend a year in a caravan outside their flood-damaged home are being sued by their next door neighbours who claim it ruined the view and intruded on their privacy.
But, you ask, weren’t they in the same boat as a result of this flood? Yes. Yes, they were. They had to move out too while repairs were made, while the Tysons stayed put, albeit in a caravan.

But that didn’t stop them chancing their arm to gain from the situation:
Steve and Michelle Tyson have received notice of a claim for £4,830 in compensation lodged with the county court by Michael Burton and Sarah Jagger.
So, what’s their beef?
Mr Burton and Miss Jagger had to leave their house in Willerby Road, Hull while repairs were carried out over nine months.

The Tysons moved into a caravan, provided by their insurers in the November, with their children Sarah, 22, Sam, 19, Robyn, 17, and Alan, 16, while work costing £50,000 was undertaken on their home.

Mr Burton and Miss Jagger gave permission for a boundary fence to be removed so the four-berth caravan could be sited in their neighbours garden.

They allege the Tysons agreed to pay them £138 a week through their insurers, Nationwide, to compensate for the interference to their views, light and privacy.

They say the caravan, which was not removed until the Tysons moved back into their home last November, encroached on their land.
Ah, I think I see the problem. Instead of approaching this in a neighbourly fashion, they saw a way to make money out of the deal.

Because everyone knows money that comes from ‘insurers’ isn’t real money, don’t they?
However, Mrs Tyson and her husband, a 46 year old machine operator, deny that any agreement was in place and intend contesting the action.
Good luck to them! As long as there was no such agreement (and surely such would have been in writing?) they should have no problems proving their case, though I dare say they’d rather not have the hassle…

But the neighbours are still having problems understanding quite what’s so bad about this:
Papers lodged with Hull county court state that Mr Burton and Miss Jagger were deprived of the use of their front garden and names Mr and Mrs Tyson as the defendants.

But Miss Jagger said: "The claim is against their insurance company, not them. They have been kept fully informed. This is not personal, we are not nasty people."
No, just greedy. And opportunistic. And, dare I say it, downright un-neighbourly….

And it won’t stop here:
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said if the case was successful it could lead to similar claims being made by others.
Of course. They are giving away free money, aren’t they? Why should anyone get upset at that?

But who pays, when all’s said and done? The Tysons premiums will go up. And so will the premiums for everyone else, including those of the Burton/Jagger household, as insurance companies rightly start to guard against this kind of claim in future. And everyone will need to read even more small print to find out what their policy does or does not cover in future, because I bet insurance companies will be scrambling to insert a ‘greedy neighbour’ clause if they win.

So, the statement that this is only going to affect ‘the insurance company’ isn’t quite right, is it? But then, we seem to have raised a generation of people who regard money coming from an insurance company as somehow disconnected from real people


Longrider said...

Ah, yes, the good old insurance scam. It's been popular with road vehicle insurance for a while now. Mrs L was involved in a minor bump a few years ago. Her fault. Very minor damage. The claimant then tried to milk it for "pain and suffering". We contacted the insurance company and advised them to inspect Mrs L's car as doing so would kill the claim dead. They didn't bother - but they didn't pay out either :D

Anonymous said...

They had moved out, handn't they? So how could a caravan obscure a view they did not have at the time?

Is there an opportunity for the insurance company to bring a prosecution for fraud here?

Anonymous said...

Insurance fraud by bogus RTA victims is HUGE these days. I'd advise everyone to carry a small digital / disposable camera in their car. If involved in any collission, however minor, get out and take photos of ALL vehicles involved and PEOPLE. This could stop ridiculous claims normally from our more recent foreign residents.

JuliaM said...

"They didn't bother - but they didn't pay out either :D"

That's a relief. Nothing I hate more than to see people cheat and get away with it, and I'm sure it happens all too often.

"They had moved out, handn't they?"

Indeed, but it seems not for as long. Hence the whine about being 'deprived of their garden'. What fit state it was to enjoy after a flood is another question...

"I'd advise everyone to carry a small digital / disposable camera in their car."

It was beginning to be a known problem about 10 yerars ago, when I went on a 'Women Drivers Safety' event (a friend wanted company, so I obliged). They told us the same thing.

Longrider said...

That's a relief. Nothing I hate more than to see people cheat and get away with it, and I'm sure it happens all too often.

It is always worth sowing the seeds of doubt when this happens. A friend of mine was knocked off his bike at relatively low speed. His shoulder dented the van that struck him - apparently. In went the claim against his insurance. My friend called the assessor round to look at his undamaged (apart from minor scratches - this was low speed) bike. The assessor took one look and asked how the apparent damage caused to the van could result in an almost unscathed bike. Outcome; no payout for white van man.