This latest case further demonstrates the power of our interactive Schedule, resulting in savings and reduced cycle times for our insurer clients.
The Claimant suffered injuries when a HGV collided with the rear of his vehicle. Liability for the accident was admitted and it was accepted that some injury could have been sustained given the size of the Defendant's vehicle, and the damage caused to the Claimant's vehicle.
The Claimant alleged that injuries to his neck, right shoulder and back were serious enough to prevent him from cycling and carrying out any DIY in the months following the accident.
We uncovered evidence from social media which showed that, contrary to his claims, the Claimant was in fact cycling to quite a significant level shortly after the accident and throughout the prognosis period. We also discovered that he had been working on DIY projects during the prognosis period. Accordingly it was our view that the Claimant had, at the very least, significantly exaggerated the seriousness of his injuries.
In addition, we were also presented with a loss of earnings claim on the basis of the Claimant's assertions that he had been unable to work for some time following the accident. It was clear from our social media searches that he had actually returned to work at least one month earlier than he claimed.
Following the discovery of this evidence, the following strategy was implemented:
- The electronic Schedule, specifically designed by our fraud team and which has yielded significant success since its creation, was compiled in order to highlight the inconsistencies and falsehoods within the Claimant's evidence
- Detailed Part 18 and Part 35 questions were also drafted and once we had received the Part 18 replies (in which the Claimant confirmed again that he was unable to cycle for 'months' following the accident), we disclosed the evidence to the contrary in the form of a witness statement and the electronic Schedule. We also served an amended Defence which specifically pleaded fraud and section 57 fundamental dishonesty pursuant to the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015
- We informed the Claimant that, in light of the evidence uncovered, we would shortly be making an application for permission to rely on the amended Defence pleading fraud, and to have the claim dismissed per section 57.
- The Claimant promptly discontinued his entire claim two months before trial, resulting in a significantly reduced cycle time and substantial savings. The Claimant had been claiming for lost earnings, special damages and a significant whiplash type injury. Along with our much reduced defence costs, our client realised a saving in the region of £40,000.
What can we learn?
- The very threat of applying for a section 57 finding (backed up with strong evidence presented persuasively and in a timely manner) can see an early and economic end to a claim. In this instance, we had not yet made the application when the Claimant dropped his claim.
- The Claimant had been unable to work for at least some time following the accident but not for the length of time he alleged. With the use of the interactive Schedule and section 57, we were able to defeat the entire loss of earnings claim at a relatively early stage in the proceedings.
- Without the section 57 process and the Martello strategy, this matter might well have proceeded to an unnecessary and costly trial.