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CYCLIST’S £1.1m CLAIM THROWN OUT AFTER SURVEILLANCE FOOTAGE PROVES CLAIM WAS DISHONEST

Company director found fundamentally dishonest following accident and ordered to pay costs totalling £50k

Horwich Farrelly, alongside Admiral Insurance, successfully defended a fraudulent personal injury claim pleaded at more than £1.3million and pursued a counter claim against the claimant.

The initial claim brought by David Matthew Anderson, a 41-year-old company director from Neath, South Wales, was dismissed after surveillance footage proved his injuries were exaggerated.

On 16 March 2016, Anderson was knocked from his bicycle by the defendant’s emerging vehicle at a road junction in Neath. As a result of the accident, Anderson suffered a multi-fragmented elbow fracture to his dominant right arm. Liability was swiftly admitted in full by the defendant.

Although originally offered £80,000 to settle, Anderson continued to pursue a claim totalling £1.188m in damages plus costs.

Admiral subsequently undertook surveillance on the claimant which identified Anderson climbing scaffolding and using power tools in his allegedly injured arm. Further enquiries showed that Anderson had also completed an Ironman event in Barcelona which contradicted his claim that he was unable to brush his teeth, shave, feed himself or to do any type of DIY or gardening.

At this point, Horwich Farrelly took over the investigation and disclosed the surveillance footage of Anderson, highlighting his own misrepresentations to the court and experts, which ultimately was key to the finding of Fundamental Dishonesty after a four-day trial at Swansea County Court in January 2021.

The damages the court would have awarded him but for dismissal of his claim totalled £44,489. Anderson was also ordered to pay defendant’s costs of over £50,000 on the indemnity basis.

Aled Morris, an Associate in our Large and Complex Injury Group, said: “This is a victory over a claimant who advanced a fraudulent claim in excess of £1.1m in damages, but who ultimately walks away with nothing but a finding of dishonesty against him and a duty to repay the costs incurred by the insurer in investigating his claim.

The result is a stark reminder to claimants and to the wider public that insurance companies will not tolerate dishonest claims and will pursue anyone they believe to be untruthful. Such dishonesty is not a victimless crime and could have serious consequences for those falling foul of the law.”

Adding that the collaboration between the firm’s Large Loss and Fraud Teams was crucial in ensuring the fraudulent claim was discovered and then dismissed, Partner and Head of our Large Loss Fraud Team, Alex Wilkinson, said: “Horwich Farrelly lead the market in terms of findings of Fundamental Dishonesty. We have secured more findings than any other firm and this continued success is a result of the close collaboration between our large loss, fraud, credit hire and casualty departments”.

Stuart Cook, Head of Technical Claims at Admiral, said: “We’re fully committed to paying out on genuine injury claims quickly and fairly. However, we will strongly defend ourselves when presented with claims where we believe someone is acting fraudulently.

“We’re understandably satisfied with this ruling and the message it sends to anyone considering making a fraudulent claim.  The investigation proved Mr Anderson was fundamentally dishonest, he plainly lied about the injury he sustained in the accident.

“We hope the outcome of this case sends a warning that Admiral will fight against dishonesty and anyone failing to tell the truth.  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.”