Credit hire – Personal injury – Fundamental Dishonesty – Liability dispute – Dash cam footage
Peterborough County Court (9 Nov 21)/HHJ Duddridge
Following a road traffic accident which occurred on the 20 July 2017, the Claimant issued Court Proceedings for personal injury, repair costs and credit hire charges amounting to £11,952.50.
The circumstances of the accident were that the Claimant alleged that the Defendant driver veered into her lane on a roundabout which caused the collision.
The accident was caught on the Defendant’s dash cam footage.
On cross-examination the Claimant refused to accept that she was in the wrong lane for her intended exit. She also had to contend that the Defendant’s vehicle did not veer as he was stopped and she also had to contend that she did not get out of the vehicle as she claimed.
The Claimant eventually agreed that the Defendant was in the correct lane and that the Defendant’s vehicle was stationary. It was the Claimant cutting in front of the Defendant’s vehicle to take her exit which caused the accident. The Claimant lost her case on liability.
Turning to quantum, the Claimant gave evidence that she agreed with the medical report which had been served. Her Claim Notification Form (CNF) was silent on any report of a neck injury but the Claimant gave evidence that the injury started two weeks post accident. She did not inform Dr Iqbal, the medical expert of this.
So far as her middle back injury was concerned this was immediate onset where she described her pain as 8 out of 10 “pretty serious pain” which continued for 6-8 months. Despite this the Claimant did not seek any medical treatment, time off work or suffered any other difficulties. When asked about this given the seriousness of her alleged ongoing pain, she said she did not feel the need for it.
The Claimant was then shown the dash cam footage but did not agree that the slight impact would have caused the injuries she alleged. The Claimant had no cogent explanation for the discrepancies in her medical evidence.
Turning to the credit hire claim, the Claimant accepted that she had fully comprehensive insurance but could not remember whether her Insurers offered her a replacement car. She also recalled a telephone call with Hilton Coachworks who repaired her vehicle and were also associated with her place of work. It was suggested by them that she contact Auxillis. All of these telephone discussion took place on the morning of the accident.
The Claimant then went on to say that Auxillis told her that they would cover the cost of the hire car. She said otherwise she would not have taken it. She was clear in her evidence that she only signed the contact because of the statements made by Auxillis about lack of cost to her. Counsel for the Defendant referred the Judge to the case of Kadir v Thompson which was the authority on a voidable contract.
In summary given the inconsistencies noted above Counsel for the Defendant Mr Peter Savory opened his submissions and stated the Claimant was dishonest and her whole case was tainted and was therefore seeking a finding of fundamental dishonesty.
At the outset of the trial Counsel for the Claimant sought to make an oral application for permission to rely on further financial disclosure. This raised the further concerns regarding dishonesty in view of Haider v DSM Demolition (2019) insofar as the Claimant did not give full and frank disclosure of her financial position despite signing pleadings and the Reply to the Defence.
The Judge also found the Claimant was fundamentally dishonest in relation to her personal injury claim. The inconsistencies being when she developed neck pain, day of accident or 2 weeks later. Not mentioned in CNF. How long did injuries last? Six to eight months or 18 months as she told Dr Iqbal? The Claimant scaled her injuries as 8/10 yet sought no medical assistance nor time off work
The Defendant’s costs were assessed on an indemnity basis.
It is important to note that the Defendant driver had left the Defendant’s employment. It was discussed with the Defendant’s brokers in some detail that the dash cam footage was good enough to standalone as evidence.
The footage was disclosed to the Claimant’s Solicitors pre-litigation where they were invited to withdraw their claim. It was argued that our interpretation was not the same as there own and litigation shortly followed.
The Claimant’s Solicitors served the further financial disclosure on the morning of trial. This was the first notification we had that there was further financial disclosure. The case of Haider v DSM was discussed with Counsel and it was agreed that this would be raised as an issue at the trial.
Plexus Law remain committed in defending credit hire claims and to seek out dishonest and fraudulent to the full max of the law.
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Anne Chapman, Associate
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