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Court Success: Successful dismissal of a late reported motor claim

At a glance

  • A personal injury claim following a road traffic accident, 20 months post-accident
  • A review of the claimant's social media history revealed that she had attended the gym and swimming whilst she was claiming to be injured
  • An excellent outcome resulting in saving almost £7,000

Background

The claimant sought damages for personal injury following a road traffic accident which occurred on 7th August 2014. The claimant said that she suffered with neck, shoulder and back pain for 4 months. She also reported having suffered from travel anxiety for 8 weeks.

Issues

We immediately had concerns with the claims presented given that the claim was intimated 20 months post-accident, despite the claimant making a claim for vehicle repairs after the accident. Upon review of the claimant’s medical records it was apparent that the claimant attended her GP during her prognosis period but neglected to mention any accident related symptoms despite alleging to have been in “moderate” pain at the time. A review of the claimant’s social media history revealed that she had attended the gym and swimming whilst she was claiming to be injured, in addition to going on holiday. The claimant’s gym records showed that she continued to attend the gym during her prognosis period, contrary to her reporting in her witness evidence that she refrained from attending the gym for 2 months as a result of her injuries.

Outcome

The matter proceeded to trial on 29th July 2017 and the claim was dismissed by virtue of the claimant not having met the burden of proving her claim on the balance of probabilities.

Under cross examination, the claimant revealed that she received phone calls from companies whilst she was injured but did not state she was injured when asked as she was conducting her own research online, yet did not go on to make the claim until April 2016. When cross examined on the ‘research’ she could not recall at all; she was also unclear about how she came to be in touch with her Solicitors and the judge found her evidence to be ‘far from convincing’ on the issue.

Other features of the claimant’s evidence meant the judge was happy to conclude that the claimant had not met the burden of proof upon her.

Remarkably she stated under cross examination, in an attempt to overcome the content of the damning gym records, that although she had attended the gym, she only exercised her lower body. The judge found this explanation implausible. Her social media was also of note and the judge referred to the claimant being someone who posts about the majority of her life on Twitter and tellingly there was reference to her repairs being complete but no reference to injury.

She was also questioned on her accident history, given that her statement referred to her not having been in any, contrary to claims history information which showed that she made a claim following an accident in 2011, and the hospital records which referenced an accident in 2004. The judge found her explanations that she had forgotten about them unconvincing.

Overall, the judge found that the claimant’s evidence was far from credible and concluded that a real lack of clarity in the reasons for bringing a claim, and a number of inconsistencies in the evidence when compared to the records meant that the claim should be dismissed.

Commentary

This case shows that although a genuine accident occurred, the fact that the claim was intimated late together with other inconsistencies in the claimant’s medical evidence including the claimant’s social media entries, gym records and evidence from the medical records was enough to persuade the court to dismiss the claim. This is an excellent outcome which has resulted in savings of almost £7,000.

The claim was handled by Peter Lancaster in our Leeds Motor Claims Team. Our panel solicitors, Horwich Farrelly, represented us at Court.

Image © Getty

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