I've had an e-mail this morning with a smiley picture of Esther Rantzen on it, asking "How much is your injury claim worth?". Which is slightly odd, because, as far as I am aware, I haven't been injured.
Of course, I am about to take part in the highly dangerous activity of leaflet delivery, with potentially savage dogs behind every door, and trip hazards on every front path. I may even contract a repetitive strain injury from contact with letter boxes over the coming weeks. If so, I will have to approach the agent for any compensation which, in turn, will be complex as I am the agent... and the candidate.
But on a serious note, the e-mail has come to me from a company called Accident Advice Helpline Direct Limited, apparently on the basis of information provided to them by the UK Lifestyles survey I filled in. It represents a new low in the ignoble tradition of ambulance chasing lawyers, desperate to play on people's greed to extort as much money out of 'people who deserve to be punished' as possible.
It is entirely right that those responsible for ensuring a safe workplace should be held accountable for their failings, which is why we have a Health and Safety Executive and lots of regulation and training (sometimes, a mite too much, I think). However, by encouraging people to effectively try their luck and seek compensation for what is sometimes their own contributory failing, all of us are impoverished slightly (after all, we have to pay the compensation through higher than necessary taxation and purchase costs), and only the lawyers are laughing.
As a child, I was encouraged to look where I was going and to pick up my feet rather than shuffle. Given that our home has a myriad of low doorframes and beams, and trip hazards, it has stood me in good stead, i.e. most of my body is still attached rather than scraped off by large, hard pieces of wood.
So, whilst I really appreciate Esther's concern, perhaps if she spent her fee on making the pavements of, say, Luton a little safer, her friends at Accident Advice Helpline Direct Limited could have the time to do some pro bono work helping vulnerable people, rather than chasing ambulances that haven't even been called yet.