Fundamental Dishonesty is an ever changing area of the law in Personal Injury Claims. This blog deals with the recent updates and how you need the right legal advice to ensure your claim is not struck out.
Fundamental Dishonest is a hot topic in the Personal Injury world and it is being brought up by Defendants more and more of late. In a nutshell, Fundamental Dishonesty is where the ‘Claimant’ (the person bringing the claim) is untruthful about all or part of their claim for personal injury.
When Fundamental Dishonesty first came on the scene, the Courts seemed to focus more on Claimants over egging their pudding when it comes to their injuries. A prime example of this is when a Claimant posted pictures of her self riding a mechanical bull and participating in a charity sky-dive when she was still (apparently) suffering from her injuries.
More recently though, the Courts are taking a tougher approach and have widened the criteria that meets Fundamental Dishonesty.
In a case decided this year (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games v Sinfield), The Claimant was injured whilst volunteering at the Olympic Games and he claimed for £14,000 in gardening fees. He said that prior to his accident only he and his wife did gardening at his home and that he had to pay people to do it after his accident. This turned out to be untrue and that the Court found that the Claimant obviously knew it was false.
The Judge in this case found that the whole claim for Personal Injury should be struck out due to the Claimant being Fundamentally Dishonest about the gardening, which he said was a substantial part of the claim.
In another case decided this year (Razumas v Ministry of Justice) the Claimant, a former prisoner, tried to bring a claim for Medical Negligence against the prison medical staff for the treatment that he received over many years. He made several allegations of negligent treatment by the staff who failed to recognise and identify a tumour and this ultimately led to his leg being amputated from the knee down.
The Claimant admitted that one (of many) of his allegations was dishonest but argued that his claim was not Fundamentally Dishonest as the lie he told ‘barely scratched the bark’ of the root cause in his case (in other words, it was not a substantial part of his claim). Despite this, the Judge found that the claim had been Fundamentally Dishonest because the Claimant’s lie significantly affected the outlook of the whole of his claim.
In both of the above cases, the Claimants said that they would suffer ‘substantial injustice’ if their claims were struck out, as they would not receive any compensation. However, the Court refused to allow this defence and said that substantial injustice had to be more than simply losing the right to compensation.
Being found Fundamentally Dishonest can mean that the Claimant has to pay the Defendant’s legal costs – and so not only do they receive no compensation but they can also be landed with a hefty bill to pay!
We must stress that the majority of claims run with absolutely no question of Fundamental Dishonesty and that you should not be put off from bringing a legitimate claim. Nevertheless, what these recent cases show is the Court’s increasingly robust approach in this area.
Here at Jordans, we have the experience and expertise to advise our clients on the risks and implications of Fundamental Dishonesty; providing peace of mind that their claim is in the right hands so that they can receive the compensation they rightfully deserve. If you would like to speak to one of Personal Injury specialists then call us on 01924 457171 today.