Insurance company and employer lose key personal injury claims case

June 29, 2012

The Insurer, Zurich, said that the claim for compensation put forward by Shaun Summers after he had an accident at his workplace should be erased as the claimant had quite deliberately made his injuries appear worse than they actually were with the aim of increasing his payout.

Mr. Summers put in the claim after he suffered an accident while at work for Fairclough Homes as an assistant site supervisor in 2003.

He had to begin with a sum of £838,000 awarded in a compensation package, but in 2010 a judge residing at Manchester County Court re-assessed the sum at only £88,716 after video surveillance footage revealed that Mr. Summers had exaggerated the real effect of the injuries and the effect it would have on his work output..

However, the Fairclough Homes’ insurance company made an appeal, outlining the argument that any court should be endowed with the power to eject a complete claim when a part had been found to be untrue.

Even though the 5 Supreme Court justices collectively said that courts are given the power to prevent a claim on the basis of “for abuse of process”, they were not prepared to exercise their right in the case of Mr. Summers.

Lord Clarke said that in spite of the exaggeration of the effects of the unfortunate accident, Mr. Summers was significantly injured and this was due to negligence by Fairclough Homes.

He said it would be quite unjust to dismiss the claim completely and on the point of encouraging dishonest claimants, Lord Clarke said there are other ways of dealing with dishonesty in the court rooms one of which is contempt of court which could lead on to criminal proceedings the and another is ensuring costs are paid by the allegedly dishonest party.