Tim Found was recently successful in case which resulted in the dismissal of a liability admitted claim. He represented the defendant in a case where his client had reversed into the claimant’s parked vehicle. Liability was admitted but causation and quantum were in dispute.
The claim was served on the cusp of limitation along with some unimpressive medical evidence from a general practitioner whose report was later jettisoned when he refused to answer questions from the defendant’s solicitors. An orthopaedic surgeon was relied upon instead whose views were less generous to the claimant but who still did not share the defendant’s reservations regarding the claimant’s medical records. The claim was pleaded up to £15,000 and allocated to the fast track and there was no permission for the defendant to obtain its own expert evidence.
After around two hours of cross-examination and then submissions, the District Judge in the Central London County Court found the claimant to have been ‘inconsistent, unconvincing, unreliable and dishonest’. She declared that the claimant had, at the least, exaggerated his claim, and was unable to find on the balance of probabilities that he had proved any part of his claim. She said that ‘his loss of earnings claim also shows someone [who was] not honest in his dealings.’
The Judge found the claimant had knowingly misled the Court. She dismissed the claim and (pursuant to CPR 81.18(5)) ordered the matter to be referred to the Attorney General with a request that the Attorney General consider whether to bring proceedings for contempt of court. The claimant was further ordered to pay the defendant’s costs which the Judge agreed should be assessed on the indemnity basis.
The defendant insurer and solicitor had rightly chosen to test the claimant’s oral evidence at trial, even though liability could not be contested and the claimant’s medical expert(s) gave the defendant little assistance in response to his Part 35 questions. The waning days of the 100% CFA uplift now make the question of whether to test the evidence at trial far more commercially attractive. This in turn should precipitate the challenge at trial of far more claims in an effort to counter the number of fraudulent claims of which the insurance industry has warned in recent years.
To read more about Tim’s practice, click here.