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Attention to details

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By Jennifer Brown & Rachel Glover


Published 27 January 2022


Jennifer Brown and Rachel Glover in the Complex Injury Team recently achieved a great result for our insurer client, RSA.

The case involved a collision in which the claimant (C) alleged that RSA’s policyholder (D) had swerved and collided with her parked car. C implied that D was using his phone at the time. D was a young driver and was a little unsure of events at the time. However, he was able to provide an Exchange of Details and Information card to RSA. According to the card, C had said she was reversing her car when the collision occurred. She also said that D had accepted liability at the scene, which was denied by D.

C issued proceedings and it was apparent from the Particulars of Claim that her story had changed. Her pleaded case was that, far from reversing, she had actually parked, taken her seat belt off and was about to get out when the collision occurred.

C, who was 45, alleged she had suffered a head injury and concussion when her head hit the steering wheel, a neck injury, left shoulder and arm pain with consequent weakness. She returned to work for a short while but struggled to cope and finally left her job. C had been employed as a branch manager, earning around £40,000 a year. Ashtons, her solicitors, had lined up an examination by Dr Allder, consultant neurologist, to take place shortly and it was fairly obvious that they were intending to pursue a subtle brain injury claim on C’s behalf.

We carried out a search of C’s social media presence and found that, despite her having stopped work, she was running a business selling gifts and craft items on eBay, Etsy and elsewhere. She had her own website and was attending gift fairs. It was clear that this was becoming a significant enterprise.

Having considered the evidence available we decided that there was enough to merit pleading fundamental dishonesty and apply for a split trial. Our client was mindful of both the litigation risk generally and D's witness potential and, following consultation, we were instructed to offer a “drop hands” deal on costs which C accepted. Apparently she had forgotten about the existence of the Exchange of Details card!

Owing to the fact that we faced two hearings had D lost on liability, one of which would very likely have been an expert-heavy quantum trial, the costs saving alone was substantial. It is also clear that pleading fundamental dishonesty concentrated C’s mind not least because of the risk of QOCS protection being removed.

“This is an excellent example of the positive outcomes we can achieve on behalf of our clients with the input of our Intelligence Team and the application of a counter fraud strategy in complex injury cases.”

- Catherine Burt, National Head of Counter Fraud.


Read more from our Complex Injury experts here.