A worker in a meat processing plant who tried to claim more than £100,000 for an injury with a knife will have to pay his employer £20,000 after a judge ruled he had been fundamentally dishonest in a case won by Aviva and Clyde & Co.
The man had, according to HHJ Lethem at Central London County Court, “engaged in a systemic attempt to mislead the court”.
The man accidentally cut himself with a knife while working in a meat processing plant in Brentwood, Essex in 2017. He claimed the injury was so severe it “destroyed his life” to the extent that he could not pay his rent and could barely afford to buy food. His employer did accept liability for the accident.
Aviva, the insurance company representing the meat processing plant, became aware that the man’s recovery was taking much longer than was usual for this type of injury.
Investigators working for Aviva’s law firm, Clyde & Co, found that the man’s social media showed him to be living an apparently normal life, socialising and taking trips to his native Italy. He posted photographs of himself swimming, taking driving lessons and cycling.
During the trial, the man claimed that most of the social media images were taken prior to the accident, however, this was inconsistent with his witness evidence.
He also admitted to being employed by another abattoir during the period when he said he could not work due to his injury.
Although he was initially diagnosed with PTSD, the man’s psychological expert subsequently changed his mind and agreed with Aviva’s witness that he had no psychological injury at all.
HHJ Lethem concluded that the man “made a conscious attempt to hide from the court and the defendant the level of income he was receiving, and his lifestyle did not reflect that advanced in his witness statement”, adding that he “deliberately suppressed” the truth.