’Claimants’ solicitors are not immune from cost penalties,’ says partner

Insurer Axa and legal adviser HF have secured victory against a claimant and the solicitors acting on their behalf over an injury claim that ended up in court.

The claim for PTSD was found to be fundamentally dishonest after Axa and HF argued that it was “significantly undermined by the claimant’s medical history documented within his medical notes”.

The two firms also said that his solicitors “failed to provide the medical experts with those complete, up to date and relevant medical records to seek opinion on the impact they would have on the original prognosis”.

In turn, the judge found that the psychological aspect, of what was otherwise an honest claim for whiplash, was fundamentally dishonest.

And following an application for wasted costs, the claimant’s solicitors were ordered to be jointly and severally liable for over half the defendant’s costs of defending the dishonest claim.

The solicitors were also ordered to pay the defendant’s costs of the wasted costs application itself.

Jared Mallinson, partner and head of counter fraud at HF, said: “This case really pushes home the point that claimants who dishonestly exaggerate their claims can expect to walk away with nothing except the need to pay the insurers’ costs.

“Even more importantly, claimants’ solicitors are not immune from cost penalties pursuant to the Senior Courts Act 1981 and CPR part 46.8, should they fail in their duty, in this instance to provide experts with such documentation (for which there was an order for disclosure) which may alter their opinions.”


While Axa and HF secured victory in this case, the two firms warned that the case forms part of a trend where low value road traffic accident claims are layered to increase damages and costs.

They felt that their recent win should be a warning to both claimants and solicitors.

Dean Witherington, retail claims director at Axa, said: “We make it a priority to pursue fraudulent claims in order to protect our honest customers.

“We hope that our approach acts as a warning to others who might think that exaggerating their claim will not have consequences and shows the importance of investigation and expertise in fighting fraud.”