Admiral and HF have welcomed the judgment handed down on a family who dishonestly claimed their son had significant injuries following a road traffic accident in 2012. Charlie Holley and his parents will now have to pay Admiral’s legal costs, estimated at more than £150,000, following the ruling that his claim was untrue and that they were “making it up” from the start.

Charlie Holley launched a claim for damages alleging significant injuries following a road traffic accident in January 2012.

Based on witness statements presented by the Holleys, the value of the claim comfortably exceeded £1m, with a significant portion of that based on care & assistance. That included the claim that Charlie’s parents provided him with over 20 hours of care each week, including overnight stays. They specified that he required assistance with all day-to-day tasks including showering. He said he suffered constant back pain, numbness and experienced bouts of paralysis, which could come on without warning. Charlie claimed he could not move without crutches or a wheelchair.

In truth, Charlie was living a largely normal life with various periods of surveillance showing he was able to walk without aids, bend, lift, carry items and fend for himself and he was not seen to receive any care at any point. On one occasion he was seen, accompanied by his parents, visiting a medical appointment where he only used his crutches as he arrived at the appointment, discarding them afterwards when they all went to a restaurant.

Charlie’s parents had corroborated his story throughout, with his mother claiming that she had to reduce her hours at work to three days a week, such was the level of care she was providing to Charlie as well as accompanying him to medical appointments where doctors were given dishonest information.

Admiral’s concerns led to them instructing HF to launch an action against Charlie and his parents, alleging they had all been involved in a joint enterprise aimed at defrauding them. Even after Charlie and his parents were shown the surveillance footage, they refused to admit that the claim was dishonest.

It was at this point that Charlie decided to not pursue his claim, pushing for it to be struck out by the court and leaving the issue of his parents’ involvement in the dishonesty.

On passing judgement, HHJ Saggerson found that all the Holleys had acted together with the aim of defrauding Admiral. He described Charlie as “dishonest by any measure”, adding that his and his parents’ refusal to accept that the claim was dishonest was a “refusal to accept the evidence of their own eyes” when confronted with the surveillance footage.

The Holleys will now be responsible for Admiral’s legal costs, estimated at over £150,000. Given the level of dishonesty found, there could be further repercussions, including an application for the Holleys to be held in contempt of court.

Alex Wilkinson, Partner at HF, who represented Admiral, said: “Decisions like this help to concentrate the minds of not only claimants who may be tempted to inflate their claim, but also of those who may be tempted to support the dishonest exaggeration of a claim. I hope this decision makes others think twice before lending their support to a claim they know to be false”.

Stuart Cook, Admiral’s Head of Technical Claims commented: At Admiral we are committed to delivering fair compensation to genuinely injured claimants. In this instance however, we take great comfort in the Judgement of HHJ Saggerson. A welcome reminder that when faced with such dishonesty the Judiciary will not hesitate to make difficult decisions and support insurers in its quest to eradicate claims fraud in all it’s various guises. The judgement sends a strong message to dishonest claimants about the very real risks of gross exaggeration and collusion of the type we encountered with Charlie Holley and his family.”