Jones & Ryan Campbell v Fannon was a bogus passenger case which saw us defend two personal injury claims, the basis being that the Claimants' van was empty at the time of the contact.

Background

It was the Claimants' case that their van was parked in a car park when the Insured Driver sought to pull into an adjacent space, and in the process of parking, contact occurred.

Whilst she admitted making contact with the Claimant's vehicle, the Insured Driver remained adamant that it was empty at the time and that the Claimants approached across the car park following the incident. Her account was supported by her brother who was a passenger.

The claims were initially defended almost purely on the evidence of the Insured driver and her passenger that the Claimant's van was empty at the time of the contact.

As we investigated further the strength of the case increased - particularly when we discovered that both of the Claimants had made almost identical claims a few months earlier, during which concerns were also raised in relation to occupancy.

By obtaining the medical reports for the previous accident we discovered that the Claimants were examined by the same expert on the same day for both the index and the previous accident, and they had reported the same injuries, with one of the Claimants going as far as to describe hitting his wrist on the dashboard in both instances.

Outcome

This information combined with the fact that neither of the parties had sought any medical attention, had not mentioned the incident when they had attended the GP and that it had been confirmed in an accident questionnaire at the time, that there were no injuries, gave us high levels of confidence.

On this basis we felt that this was a strong enough case to take to trial even in the face of a large adverse costs risk given the age of the case.

On the day of trial, the District Judge found that the discrepancies in the Claimants' cases and lack of medical attention led him to the conclusion that the personal injuries were not only insignificant but false.

On this basis the claim was dismissed and costs awarded on the indemnity basis in the sum of £15513.04

Lesson Learned

This case highlights the importance of obtaining the medical evidence from previous accidents, as in this case, the silver bullet proved to be their inability to explain why they had given the same account of injuries for two separate accidents.