Compensation for personal injury is a restorative remedy, the purpose of which is to put the injured party back in the position they were (as far as money can), before the injury occurred. Injured people who recover compensation are not ‘benefiting’, or being put in a better position.
Compensation should not be awarded to an individual who has staged an accident, lied about being involved and injured in an accident, or lied about the cause of the accident.
The majority of Claimants in personal injury cases are, of course, 100% genuine. They tell the story exactly how it happened, and do not fake or exaggerate their injuries.
However, in a very small number of cases, Claimants have been known to make a dishonest claim.
It has recently been reported that a Claimant began a damages claim against a local council, claiming to have been injured through slipping on an uneven kerbstone, but was later found to have made false statements to support a fraudulent claim.
The Claimant abandoned the claim after a Facebook post and contemporaneous hospital records, which said he slipped on ice after an evening out drinking with friends, were revealed.
The Council brought contempt proceedings after it saw the Claimant’s Facebook post saying “alcohol and icy roads don’t mix!”. The Claimant later maintained that black ice may have contributed to his fall but the cause of the accident was still a defect on the footpath.
A High Court Judge said that the Claimant knew the truth all along and made false statements to support a fraudulent claim, and imposed a 12 month jail sentence, suspended for 2 years.
Two of the Claimant’s friends were also found to be in contempt for giving false statements to corroborate his story. They were each jailed for 6 months, suspended for 12 months, for what the judge called a misguided attempt to help their friend, from which they gained no personal benefit.
The judge said that it was not a calculated offence, but an unsophisticated opportunistic claim.
The whole truth of the matter is that, as we advise to all clients… honesty is always the best policy!