Claimant found to be fundamentally dishonest on appealRichard M Paige
Richard Paige, instructed by Keoghs’ Toby Evans, successfully appealed the decision of District Judge Goudie, resulting in a finding that the Claimant, who had brought a personal injury claim following a road traffic accident, was “fundamentally dishonest” pursuant to CPR 44.16(1).
Mr B was the driver of a car involved in a minor, low velocity impact in a car park. Liability for the accident was admitted immediately by the third party’s insurer, Z, who arranged for Mr B’s vehicle to be repaired and he was provided with a replacement vehicle by Z whilst this took place.
Three months after the accident Z telephoned Mr B to confirm that he was satisfied that all matters were resolved. He was expressly asked whether anyone had suffered injury and he denied that any injury had occurred. Mr B, an experienced paramedic, also volunteered that the collision was so minor that no one could have been injured.
After a number of cold calls from accident management companies Mr B eventually instructed solicitors to pursue a personal injury claim on his behalf. He was examined by a GP expert 11 months after the accident and stated that he had been thrown around in the collision causing him to suffer pain in his back for 8 weeks. He disclosed a previous history of osteoarthritis in his knees and hips, but omitted to mention the chronic back problems that he had suffered before the accident, which necessitated an MRI scan and referral to a back specialist just 2 months before the accident.
The claim was issued by Mr B against Z after qualified one way costs shifting came into effect. The fast track trial of the case took place in January 2015 and was conducted by Richard Paige on behalf of the Defendant.
Following cross-examination, during which Mr B maintained that he had been injured in the accident despite the contents of the telephone call and asserted that he had told the GP expert about his back problems, the claim was dismissed District Judge Goudie, sitting in Newcastle County Court. The DJ found as matters of fact that the Claimant had not been injured in the accident and that he had not informed the GP expert of his previous back problems.
The DJ was invited on behalf of the Defendant to find the claim was fundamentally dishonest and to exercise his power pursuant to CPR 44.16(1) to allow the Defendant to enforce its costs against the Claimant. The DJ refused, holding that the case did not quite cross the threshold to be found to be fundamentally dishonest.
Richard Paige advised Z to pursue an appeal against the finding that the claim was not fundamentally dishonest, prepared the appeal notice and skeleton argument and conducted the appeal hearing on behalf of Z before HHJ Freedman on 4th June 2015.
HHJ Freedman accepted the submissions made by Mr Paige, finding that the Claimant’s dishonesty had been serious – pursuing a personal injury claim when he knew he had not been injured, signing Statements of Truth he knew to be untrue, misleading medical experts and ultimately giving perjured evidence at trial. He also found that the dishonesty was fundamental as it propped up the whole of the claim – without the dishonesty there would have been no claim. His Honour went on to hold that the decision of the DJ that the claim was not fundamentally dishonest was wrong and gave Z permission to enforce its costs against Mr B.
It is hoped that the judgment of HHJ Freedman will be made available so that it can be used in similar cases by insurance companies.
Richard Paige was called in 1997 and practices in all areas of personal injury, but specialises in acting for insurance companies in defending claims considered to be spurious. As this case demonstrates, Richard is well practised in drafting pleadings, including notices of appeal and skeleton arguments, advising clients on the appropriate course and presenting cases at Court, both at trial and on appeal. To book Richard, please contact Fran or Talia on 01132 459763