From taking instructions at the outset of the claim through to drafting a schedule of the Client’s losses. The file handler of the claim will always stress the importance of being reasonable and the harsh consequences of being found fundamentally dishonest to the Claimant.

In a recent case of London Organising Committee of the Olympic And Paralympic Games (LOCOG) v Sinfield [2018] the outcome shows how the court really is cracking down on those who try to take advantage of the claim process.

In this landmark case, the Claimant had been involved in an accident and was injured whilst working as a volunteer in the Olympic Games. Liability had been admitted and general damages had been agreed. However there was a dispute with the Defendant over the Claimant’s claim for gardening expenses, proceedings were issued. His claim for gardening was a substantial £13953.31, the Claimant’s position was that this amount would reimburse him for the past costs he had incurred and the future costs of employing a gardener to take care of his 2 acre garden.

The Defendants were opposed to paying this huge head of loss and decided to obtain a witness statement from the Gardner. The Gardener had worked for the Claimant since 2005 for four hours per week, eleven months of the year, excluding January, at £13 per hour. His work did not change after Mr Sinfield’s accident. The basis that special damages are claimed for is costs that the Claimant incurred due to the injuries sustained from the accident that they had not previously had to pay for. Mr Sinfield had also manufactured invoices from the Gardener to support his claim.

The Claimant claimed that he had worded his statement badly and a further amended schedule of loss was served with a claim for gardening for £1657.96.

The trial judge found that the claimant had knowingly made false statements in support of his claim and that he was “with a dishonest state of mind” making statements to justify what was said in an earlier schedule.

The judge found the claimant not to be fundamentally dishonest. Alternatively he found that it would be unjust for the claim to be dismissed for dishonesty relating to a peripheral part of the claim.

However on appeal the judgement was overturned and the claimant was found to be fundamentally dishonest.

As he had been “fundamentally dishonest” in this way, the fact that the greater part of the claim might be honest was “neither here nor there” and it should be dismissed. The claim was struck out and the Claimant lost all of his damages.

This case should make clear to any future Claimants that claims for anything unreasonable can have a huge affect on their claim and although the accident did occur you can still be found to be fundamentally dishonest even on a head of loss.

 

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