DAC Beachcroft and insurer Admiral secured an admission of fundamental dishonesty after the first day of a hybrid trial.
A 44-year-old window cleaner, who claimed an accident with a motorist had left him unable to work again, had his claim for compensation dismissed but avoided potential criminal proceedings after admitting to fundamental dishonesty in court.
Simon McPherson alleged he could no longer climb a ladder or drive long distances after he was hit by a car in February 2016. But video surveillance footage filmed over four months showed him climbing ladders, cleaning windows and driving for six hours to Glasgow.
Admiral accepted responsibility for the accident lay with the driver for which it was the road traffic accident insurer and admitted liability, with damages limited to £100,000 pending further medical evidence. The insurer made interim payments to allow McPherson to undergo rehabilitation. It also made a substantial offer to him for his injuries, which was rejected.
Admiral became suspicious of how he was presenting his injuries and instructed DAC Beachcroft’s complex loss and motor fraud teams to investigate further and arranged for surveillance.
The video footage showed McPherson driving to two houses, taking some heavy ladders off the top of his car and cleaning windows. Further video footage showed him making a six-hour journey by car on a day he failed to turn up for a medical examination.
Following an initial investigation, full details of the issues and evidence were put to McPherson who was invited to discontinue his claim, but he declined and it proceeded to trial.
In McPherson v EUI Ltd t/a Admiral & Other, the hybrid trial began at Cambridge County Court on 28 September 2020, with counsel, the claimant and some witnesses attending in person and the experts, defence lawyers and Admiral attending remotely.
The overwhelming evidence, including the video footage and dishonesty over the missed medical appointment as well as the heads of damage presented including alleged substantial loss of earnings, led to the abject failure of the claim and its ultimate dismissal.
McPherson was given a stern dressing down by the judge over his attitude to the whole case and emphasised that compensation was not to be seen as an “open lottery ticket”. He escaped potential criminal proceedings when the judge decided not to refer the case any further and this would be an end to the matter.
Stuart Cook, head of technical claims at Admiral, commented, “We’re fully committed to paying out on genuine injury claims quickly and fairly. We will, however, take a dim view and robust stance when presented with claims where there is dishonest behaviour.
“The consequences for those choosing to engage in this activity has serious and wide-ranging consequences and costs the industry millions of pounds each year. In partnership with our legal teams, we will exercise the law to its full extent to help us defend these claims and discourage fraudulent and dishonest claimants.”
Georgia Court, partner at DAC Beachcroft, said: “By working with us to defend these claims, we will run matters to trial where necessary rather than pay dishonest claimants. We are grateful to the judge for facilitating the matter to proceed on a hybrid basis, allowing some of the experts, witnesses and defence team to attend remotely.”