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Honesty is the best policy
- AuthorCatriona Ralls
The world of personal injury is open to a mixture of positive and negative undertones; helping the genuinely injured back to health with financial support for medical bills and rehabilitation while at the other end of the spectrum the idea of supporting a compensation culture. A new law introduced last month has helped us take one step further away from the latter as the battle against dishonest claimants continues. Catriona Ralls, Personal Injury Lawyer, explains why this is a significant step in the sector and what this holds for the future of victims of injury.
In the case of Summers v Fairclough Homes Ltd  UKSC 26, Mr Summers was injured at work in May 2003 and claimed more than £800,000 from his employer. Following his trial in August 2007, the insurer for Fairclough Homes Ltd placed Mr Summers under surveillance due to their suspicions about his injuries. The footage confirmed their suspicions and showed that Mr Summers had grossly exaggerated the impact his injuries had on his life. After this evidence came to light, Mr Summers attempted to settle out of court to avoid more court proceedings but the defendant refused, resulting in the case being put before the Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court did not strike out Mr Summers’ claim entirely but it did however reduce his reward to £88,716,” begins Catriona. “More importantly, it reversed the Court of Appeal’s position on the matter of dishonesty, stating that a court does have the power to strike out an entire claim in appropriate circumstances were there is fraudulent activity. This has been supported by the new legislation brought in in April 2015 which prevents claimants from recovering damages for injuries when they have been fundamentally dishonest.”
Catriona continues, “The reason why the Supreme Court did not strike out the claim entirely could be due to the fact that Mr Summers did have a genuine injury and so only a part of his claim was fraudulent. This case is a clear warning to claimants to consider the consequences of acting dishonestly when they have been injured and overstating their injuries and subsequent loss. When working with an injury victim we always advise transparency and honesty, which allows us to work as well as we can in helping them to obtain the appropriate level of compensation.”
If you’ve had an injury at work and would like to know your rights to compensation you can contact Catriona and the Personal Injury team on 0800 91 92 30 or visit their section of the website here.
This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice. All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.