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Court Success: Dismissal of a personal injury claim

At a glance

  • A personal injury claim following a road traffic accident, 13 months post-accident
  • Despite doing a more physical job the claimant took no time off work following the accident
  • Evidence from the medical records was enough to persuade the court to dismiss the claim

Background

The claimant sought damages for personal injury following a road traffic accident which occurred on 13th January 2014. The claimant said that he suffered with ongoing knee pain but his expert only attributed 4 months to the accident.

Issues

Zurich had concerns with the claims presented given that the claim was intimated 13 months post-accident despite the claimant’s insurer making a claim for vehicle repairs immediately after the accident. The claimant was a baggage handler, yet took no time off work following the accident. Upon review of the claimant’s medical records it was apparent that despite the claimant claiming to have attended as a result of the accident, there were no supporting attendances.  The claimant had attended the GP more than a year after the accident with knee pain but neglected to say to the GP that the knee pain was accident related.

Outcome

The matter proceeded to trial on 1st September 2017 and the claim was dismissed by virtue of the claimant not having met the burden of proving his claim on the balance of probabilities.

Under cross examination, the claimant revealed that he had told his insurers that he was not injured as a consequence of the accident but that was because he did not feel his knee injury was “significant”. He also claimed that the knee pain was only intermittent despite saying in his medical evidence and witness statement that the pain was constant. He also confirmed that he had been persuaded to make a claim by an accident management company at which point he realised that he might be entitled to compensation for his knee.

Despite or perhaps because of the claimant’s catastrophic evidence, he came across as an honest person. He was convinced that his injuries were as a result of the accident.

In the circumstances, the judge held that the claimant had begun to suffer from pain about the time of the accident but mistakenly linked it to the accident. Therefore, the claim was dismissed.

Commentary

This case shows that although a genuine accident occurred, the fact that the claim was intimated late together with inconsistencies in the claimant’s medical evidence and evidence from the medical records was enough to persuade the court to dismiss the claim.

The claim was handled by Emma Foley and panel solicitors, Horwich Farrelly, represented Zurich during proceedings.

Image © Getty

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