22/11/2012 12:26 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Teaching Assistant Awarded £800,000 - For A Dislocated Finger!

Teaching assistant awarded £800,000 - for a dislocated finger! PA

A teaching assistant was given a massive £800,000 compensation payment after she tripped and dislocated a finger at work.

The payout – one of the highest ever awarded in education – was made after Julie Anne Huddart tripped over the waist strap of an empty wheelchair while trying to move it.

It came to light after the Daily Mail put in a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The newspaper says the married mum-of-two, 49, from Chorley, Lancs., dislocated a finger and injured her elbow in the 2003 accident.

She has since been diagnosed with 'reflex sympathetic dystrophy' – a malfunction of the nervous system that causes pain and swelling.

She began a nine-year battle against her local authority for compensation, and earlier this year Lancashire County Council agreed to pay £800,000 in damages and £140,000 in legal costs in an out-of-court settlement.

The newspaper said the award sparked fury among war veterans and victims of crime who received substantially less for their injuries.

Mrs Huddart's payout was one of 12 to school staff in Lancashire alone last year, costing taxpayers more than £1.3million.

Lancashire council leader Geoff Driver said: "We contested this case but liability was decided by the courts.

"It is a sad reflection on the litigious society we have become. There seems to be no such thing as an accident any more; everything is argued to be someone's fault."

Other payments included £42,000 to a teacher who pushed a door which did not open, resulting in concussion and an arm injury. The council also had to pay £26,713 in costs.

Figures from the three main classroom unions show they secured £25million in compensation for members last year.

Jonathan Isaby, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Every penny spent on settling these claims means less money spent on educating children."