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A High Court judge has found that a personal injury claimant who unconsciously exaggerated the impact of his injuries was not fundamentally dishonest.
Marwan Elgamal made a claim for personal injury compensation after injuring his knee in a gym owned by Westminster City Council.
Following his claim, the council accepted liability with a 35% deduction for contributory negligence and Elgamal was awarded £125,000 damages.
However, the council argued that Elgamal had been fundamentally dishonest.
Surveillance footage appeared to show him walking without a limp and using a staircase and public transport. But Elgamal argued that he had made major efforts to appear ‘normal’ in public (but then paid the price for this privately later).
The Judge, Mr Justice Jacobs concluded that Elgamal had given a detailed explanation as to why the surveillance evidence seemed to be at odds with some of the medical evidence. His view was that the claimant was trying to adapt to his disability and live life as normally as possible and rejected the defendant’s submission there had been a ‘conscious exaggeration.’
He considered that the claimant was not dishonest and even if he was wrong about that, the dishonesty was not fundamental because it did not go to the root of the claim, whether viewed as a whole or individually.
Mr Justice Jacobs said there was a difference between a claimant who, it was accepted suffered a serious injury but then exaggerated its effects and someone who claimed to have suffered an injury but had not. He said that if an individual “genuinely believes that the facts are as he represents them to be, then there can be no question of dishonesty”.
“This was an important case with important implications for other personal injury claims. The central issue was whether the claimant had, on the balance of probabilities, been fundamentally dishonest in relation to his personal injury claim against the council.
“The fact that the Judge found in Elgamal’s favour is encouraging. He may have thought his disability was greater than it was, but he was not lying. Any exaggeration on his part was not fundamental to the case and did not affect the outcome of his claim.”
Making a personal injury claim
If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, the thought of making a personal injury claim can seem daunting, particularly if the defendant’s insurance company raises objections.
However, not all cases go to court and Novum Law’s specialist personal injury team has substantial experience bringing compensation claims and understands how to respond effectively to any issues raised by defendants, including claims of fundamental dishonesty and the use of surveillance evidence.
Novum Law can also help if you have injuries that are ‘invisible’ to others. For example, if you have symptoms of Mild Traumatic brain injury (mTBI), Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) or Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) due to your accident.
Doctors often refer to these symptoms as ‘medically unexplained’ which is unhelpful if you are making a personal injury claim, because it suggests they may be making up their symptoms but our expert solicitors have a strong track record in these types of cases.
If you have been injured due to an accident that wasn’t your fault, contact our specialist solicitors today for a FREE, no-obligation chat.