Claimant to receive compensation as fundamental dishonesty appeal is dismissed

Posted Apr 23, 2018.
In an example of one of the first cases of its type, a defendant in a personal injury compensation claim has had their plea of fundamental dishonesty rejected by the High Court in London.

In personal injury claims, a claimant could be found to be fundamentally dishonest if the defendant proves, on a balance of probabilities, that the claimant has acted dishonestly in relation to the primary claim and/or a related claim, and that they have therefore significantly affected the presentation of his case, either in respects of liability (who is to blame) or quantum (the monetary value of the claim), in a way which potentially adversely affected the defendant in a significant way.

In the case in question - Wright vs Satellite Information Services Ltd, the claimant - following an accident at work, had been awarded damages of £119,000 at trial last December. The defendant was also ordered to pay 75% of the claimant’s legal costs. During arguments regarding the appropriate level of compensation, the defendants produced video evidence allegedly showing that the claimant wasn’t as disabled as was being stated, and that he had purposely exaggerated his initial claim of £350,000. A large part of this initial claim was for ongoing care costs of £73,000, a sum the Judge reduced to £2,100 having found no need for such care. 

At the appeal hearing, Mrs Justice Yip DBE found that the original Judge, despite saying that elements of the original claim had been ‘overstated’, had been correct in awarding compensation and that the claim was not fatally harmed by the exaggerated care costs element.  Yip said:

"The reason for the judge’s rejection of this element of the claim was not that he found the claimant’s evidence to be untruthful, but rather that a proper interpretation of that evidence did not support the assessment of the care expert"