The verdict was overturned because the original judgement was “not sustainable on the evidence.”
There has been another win in the fight against fraud, after Horwich Farrelly managed to get a court’s verdict overturned because the original judgement was “not sustainable on the evidence.”
At the appeal hearing, Judge Freeman dismissed an earlier court’s decision to award a woman £2,100 following a minor car accident.
The incident took place on 15 August 2015 in Northgate Hospital car park, Northumberland. The claimant, Christine Caldow, was in her parked Kia Picanto when an Aviva policyholder reversed out of another bay and met the driver’s side of the Kia.
The main point of the impact was the wing mirror, and a small amount of paint was transferred. The defendant said she was travelling slowly and only travelled a few feet before the collision occurred.
Even so, Caldow said that the following day, she developed a pain in her neck and shoulder. However, during the original hearing, she suggested that the injuries could have been caused at work.
Despite this, the judge awarded her the £2,100 in damages.
Horwich Farrelly felt the judge had not considered the accident circumstances, such as the fact the claimant’s car was parked at the time, nor the chronology of events; Caldow did not visit a GP until three months after the incident, and that was only on the advice of her solicitor. They appealed the decision on the basis that the judge’s ruling was incorrect, and that the defendant was entitled to justice.
At the appeal hearing on 5 June 2017 at Newcastle County Court, Judge Freeman said the original judge “did not consider a number of matters which he should have done”.
This includes the speed at which the collision happened at; the claimant said at the original trial that the accident did not cause her car to move.
Judge Freeman also spoke of the order of events, and the fact it took three months for the claimant to visit a doctor. He concluded that the visit was “no doubt an attempt to provide some sort of independent support for her injuries.
“It was only after she had been contacted by solicitors was there a suggestion of injury.”
He said the previous ruling “lacks rigorous analysis… and proper reasoning.”
He overturned the original ruling and dismissed the claim.
Richard Hiscox, director of casualty claims at Aviva thanked Horwich Farrelly for their “great work,” saying that “everyone pays for fraud and we will do anything we can to prevent it”.
Partner at Horwich Farrelly, Jared Mallinson said: “This case sends a clear message to claimants who may be tempted to twist the truth. We believed the first judge had made the wrong decision and hadn’t considered all the evidence, which is why we appealed.
Speaking of the new ruling, Mallinson said: “This was a fair outcome for Aviva and its policyholder, and one which will help ensure customers and insurers benefit from the costs saved on unmerited claims”.