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LAWYERS at Liverpool City Council who filmed a bogus knee injury victim playing football say they are constantly developing new tactics to stem a steady stream of false personal injury claims.
Last month a Liverpool judge ordered amateur footballer Peter Hill to repay £11,000 damages which he won after claiming he injured his knee when he fell on a defective pavement.
Lawyers at Liverpool City Council secured a retrial after they filmed Hill playing football after the trial.
In court, he had said the injury had left him in agony and he had denied playing football. When the judge saw the video at the retrial he found that Hill had lied and dismissed his case.
Hill's claim was one of 2,500 which the council receives every year from Liverpool residents who claim they have tripped on pavements. A spokesman said solicitors in the department were constantly on the look-out for false claims.
In Hill's case, members of the litigation services department had become suspicious when they read in a local newspaper that he had scored two goals for his team.
There was no suggestion that Hill had injured himself while playing football.
But the council's lawyers believe a significant proportion of the claims they defend each year come from members of the local sporting community who have discovered it is possible to exploit their sporting injuries by claiming they happened as the result of pavement accidents.
The spokesman said it was sometimes possible to tell from hospital records that injury victims who claimed they had tripped over on pavements had arrived at hospital in their sporting gear.
He added that the department had made a point of alerting local PI lawyers to the trend.
He said: "We would not want to give the impression that solicitors have known what was going on; if someone goes to them and says this is what happened they have got to proceed with the case."