Posted: Thu 20th Oct 2016

Council Warns Against False Compensation Claims

This article is old - Published: Thursday, Oct 20th, 2016

A Court’s decision to throw out a ‘fundamentally dishonest’ compensation claim should serve as a warning to others. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

An Anglesey woman will have to pay more than £6,200 in legal costs after claiming that a missing brick in a section of road outside her home caused her to trip and fall in 2015. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

At Caernarfon County Court earlier this month, the claimant provided two photographs as evidence to back her claim. Taken by her and her partner a few days after the alleged fall – one photograph showed the brick in question missing and a second with the brick back in its rightful place. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The claimant could not explain this discrepancy and denied having removed it herself. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Photographic evidence provided by Council officers also showed that the brick was there a week after the accident. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Court was satisfied that no defect was present at the time of the alleged accident and it could not have caused the claimant’s injuries. It accepted the Council’s submission that the brick could only have been removed and replaced by the claimant, or her partner, and that the claim was therefore fundamentally dishonest. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It was also satisfied that Council had demonstrated it had adequate systems of inspection, repair and maintenance in place. Even if the brick had been missing, the Court would have found that the Council had a valid defence under s58 of the Highways Act 1980. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Despite having entered into a conditional fee arrangement to meet the costs of bringing her claim, the Court’s finding that it was fundamentally dishonest means that the claimant will have to pay more than £6,200 in costs awarded to the Council herself. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

An Isle of Anglesey County Council spokesperson said, “We welcome the Court’s decision and it should serve as a warning to others who might be planning a similar false claim.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Working with our insurers, we always aim to settle genuine claims for compensation as quickly as possible. However, we will always vigorously defend any claims we believe to be fraudulent.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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