2019-09-24

“He cannot recall one lie from another”

“He cannot recall one lie from another” says Judge, as claimant is found fundamentally dishonest in Mr Wahab Khan v Mr Mindaugas Gudauskas & Premier Insurance Company Limited [July 2019]. 

The claims

In late 2016, Premier Insurance Company Limited received claims from Mr Khan and his passengers following an alleged road traffic accident.  

Mr Khan claimed that he suffered with whiplash and a leg injury following the accident. He said that he had no option but to hire a replacement vehicle on credit and to place his vehicle in storage. 

The defence

On the face of it, the claim appeared genuine. Mr Khan had a crash and obtained a medico-legal report to support his injuries. Completely standard in whiplash claims.

However, Premier Insurance Company’s claims handlers, Premier Claims Service, using a series of fraud indicators, quickly identified that the claim did not appear genuine and refused to make any payments.  

Mr Khan was not put off by this and opted to issue court proceedings.

Further enquiries into Mr Khan’s accident history revealed that he had been involved in three allegedly non-fault accidents in the space of five months and pursued injury claims as a result. Two of those accidents also involved injury claims from Mr Khan’s brother. There were further accidents involving relatives of Mr Khan, some of which had been struck out by the same court.

Mr Khan’s reporting of injury and medical attention he allegedly sought was inconsistent from the outset and throughout the life of the case. He was invited to, but decided against, producing any contemporaneous evidence to prove that he was injured.

Shortly before the trial, Mr Khan attempted to correct the information provided to his medico-legal expert by claiming that the accidents involved similar injuries and he was confused. This was after he had already committed to his version of events and Premier Insurance Company Limited opted to test how well Mr Khan’s various versions would hold at trial.

The outcome

In less than three hours, Mr Khan was found to be fundamentally dishonest and was ordered to pay Premier Insurance Company’s costs.

The Judge made it quite clear that he did not accept any of the excuses the claimant gave during the trial and described the claimant as among the worst ever seen. 

It made no odds to the Judge that the claimant said he was studying criminology and wanted to become a probation officer!

The key points

This case is an important reminder of the benefits of an early identification that a claim may be fraudulent, securing and properly adducing evidence to support those concerns, committing a claimant to a version of events. Fighting claims to trial is the final application of pressure to dishonest claimants and this result shows the value the court places on medico-legal reports and contemporaneous evidence of injury.

The appeal cases of Molodi v Cambridge Vibration Maintenance Service & Aviva Insurance Limited and Susan Richards & Zane McGrann v Edna Morris warned that whiplash claims arising from road traffic accidents must be treated with caution, there is an expectation that a genuinely injured claimant will seek medical attention and report injuries consistently. The Judge referenced this case and Mr Khan fell foul.

During a trial, claimants often attempt to explain inconsistencies in their own evidence, explain why everyone else is mistaken and explain why the claim is genuine.  Medico-legal examiners and general practitioners are often blamed for these inconsistencies. Regardless of how many excuses are thought of, a claimant telling lies in front of a Judge will not escape without penalty. 

In the Judge’s words “I don’t believe him.” It remains to be seen if Mr Khan and his brother will try again, or if Mr Khan will make it as a probation officer …