2019-07-26

Injured claimant did bring fundamentally dishonest claim

In May 2014, the claimant visited our client’s premises with her friends. They had drinks, they danced and they visited the ladies’ toilets. The claimant alleged that she fell on a spillage in the toilets sustaining injury to her nose and teeth.

The injury sounded horrific. She described blood everywhere and having to pick her teeth up from the bathroom floor. Her injury was also verified in her A&E records. She attended at A&E within 30 minutes of leaving the premises.

However, there were some notable inconsistences and issues with the evidence.

  1. The claimant was unable to produce any witness evidence in support of her claim.
  2. The contemporaneous hospital records suggested she had fallen in a restaurant. The attending physician had also queried if the injury had been caused by a punch to the face.
  3. Inconsistencies about the extent of the bleeding and extent of the injury at the time. She alleged, for example, that her injury continued to bleed profusely until she went to hospital, but later revised this to say it stopped in the toilets.
  4. The claimant did not report an incident at the time.
  5. The claimant called the premises the morning after her alleged accident. However, her call was to see if her jacket had been found, which she had lost the night before.

The key evidence however was CCTV footage which showed the Claimant and her friends exiting the toilets. The judge found the following aspects compelling:

  • There was no evidence of any injury or bleeding.
  • The claimant appeared unconcerned.
  • The claimant’s friends similarly appeared unconcerned.

The judge felt the CCTV footage was so compelling that on balance he was willing to find that there was no fall in the toilets. In the absence of a fall, the claim had to be fundamentally dishonest. The claimant was ordered to pay the defendant's costs in the sum £11,746.92.

Key points to remember

The strength of CCTV evidence cannot be underestimated. Any footage of the incident is relevant, but increasingly we are finding that the behaviour of the claimant, and companions before and after the accident, to be more useful. It is therefore important to ensure as much footage is retained as possible to support the defendant’s chronology and provide direct evidence to challenge the claimant’s statement of case when it arrives.

The claimant tried to tailor her evidence following disclosure of the footage which only hindered her claim as it further undermined her credibility and allowed the judge to make the finding of fundamental dishonesty.

Fundamentally Honest blog