Those who lie about accidents in an attempt to win compensation are a blight on the insurance industry and honest policyholders alike. In one case, the High Court imposed suspended prison sentences on a man who dishonestly claimed to have tripped over an uneven kerbstone and two of his friends who supported his story.
There was no dispute that the man had fallen, badly breaking his wrist. He launched a damages claim against the local authority, claiming that the raised kerbstone was to blame. However, council lawyers later spotted a Facebook post in which the man declared that ‘alcohol and icy roads don’t mix!’ There was also evidence that he had told medics after the accident that he had slipped on a patch of ice.
The Court found that the man was generally a decent and honest citizen who had fallen into temptation. However, he had known the truth all along and both he and his friends, who had backed his account in sworn witness statements, were found in contempt of court. The man received a 12-month suspended sentence and his friends six-month terms, which were also suspended.
The judge observed, "The importance of trust and honesty in personal injury litigation has been emphasised on many occasions and the prevalence of fraudulent claims – whether they be black lies or white lies – is a significant cost to the consumer and the courts rightly have imposed deterrent sentences."