Our Client, a 56-year-old-lady, was employed by a large UK-based company as a delivery driver. In the course of her employment, she parked her van in an approved works parking area. It was dark at the time. She had to walk past some stacked wooden pallets and, as she did so, her right foot caught in plastic strapping which was attached to one of the lower pallets and was trailing across the walkway. As a result, she fell to the ground.
Our Client sustained a soft tissue injury to her right wrist with a TFCC tear. She had two operations but continued to experience pain, stiffness, altered sensibility, reduced strength and cosmetic abnormality. She also sustained injury to her right elbow and has developed ulnar neuritis. She has had an ulnar nerve decompression operation but some symptoms were continuing.
In addition to her physical injuries, she suffered a relapse of recurrent depressive disorder which required treatment.
Whilst still being treated for her injuries, she suffered a fall and was unable to use her injured arm to protect her face, causing her to sustain injury to her teeth.
As a consequence of her injuries and ongoing symptoms, our Client would be limited in the type of work she could undertake in the future, although it was possible that she could return to some form of work.
The Defendant’s response
Whilst the Defendant made an early admission of liability, they would not agree to the claims made for financial losses. Court proceedings were issued.
Very shortly before Trial, the Defendant raised an allegation of ‘Fundamental Dishonesty’ – that is, that the Claimant was not being honest in her report of her injuries and the impact that these were having on her life. The Defendant had carried out surveillance of our Client’s social media accounts and those of her close family members. Our Client’s position was that the allegation had no merit and that the activities she was seen to be doing on social media were in no way inconsistent with the evidence she had given regarding the extent of her injuries and limitations that these placed on her life.
On the basis of the allegation of Fundamental Dishonesty, the Defendant also refused to negotiate settlement of the claim.
The allegation of Fundamental Dishonesty was a serious situation; had our Client been found by a Judge to be Fundamentally Dishonest, the whole of her claim would have been dismissed and she would have been required to pay the Defendant’s costs.
We felt that the allegation was not warranted and so put the Defendant on notice that our Client would ask the Trial Judge to award ‘indemnity costs’, to penalise the Defendant for this behaviour.
At the door of the Court, the Defendant withdrew the allegation of fundamental dishonesty. They still refused to negotiate on settlement of the claim.
The Trial went ahead and the claim was won.
In addition, our Client beat the earlier offers she had made in her case and so was awarded interest and an uplift on her compensation. The purpose of this was to penalise the Defendant for their unreasonableness in not accepting our Client’s reasonable pre-Trial offer.
At the end of the Trial Judge listened to arguments on our Client’s behalf that it was unfair for the Defendant to have raised the allegation of Fundamental Dishonesty. The Judge agreed and awarded our client indemnity costs, again as a mark of displeasure for the Defendant’s unreasonable approach to the claim.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £147,151 for this client in 2018.