The Nottinghamshire police officer claimed to have contracted food poisoning, but the evidence exposed flaws in her claim
BLM has successfully proved that an exaggerated holiday illness claim was actually fundamentally dishonest.
Katie Miles, a police officer serving the Nottinghamshire force, stated she was confined to her hotel room and required repeated toilet trips after developing food poisoning in Sharm el Sheik where she holidayed in 2015.
She sought compensation from travel firm Thomas Cook.
During litigation, Miles was requested to disclose her holiday photographs and videos.
This material included photos of her enjoying a desert quad-biking excursion, a video of her on a camel ride and pictures of her on a boat trip – contradicting her account of the extent of her suffering.
After her credibility was challenged, she attempted to explain these activities on the basis that she had paid for them and didn’t want to let her family down.
She said there were toilet opportunities on the desert excursion and on the boat trip where she spent her time on the toilet and lower deck.
At the trial
At trial, the courts heard that despite Miles claiming that she had never been so ill in her entire life, and that her illness continued for two to three months, she did not visit a doctor at the hotel, or contact her GP once she had returned to the UK.
The judge found that “if the claimant had developed such severe and persistent symptoms described to the medico legal expert, it is highly unlikely she would have ventured onto the desert excursion that evening, let alone mount a camel and be bounced through the desert”.
The same is true in relation to the all-day boat trip.
The judge said: “If she had been as ill as she described, she would have had to have requested medical advice or treatment. When viewed objectively, there was no factual basis to support the assertions within her witness statement.”
Representing Thomas Cook, BLM partner Arion Jones said: “The package holiday market has long been targeted by dishonest claims and BLM has worked closely with the travel industry to curb this activity.
“However, concerns remain that a large proportion of claimants who may have been genuinely ill have exaggerated their claims or distorted their history of activities on holiday either to increase their potential compensation or to support their case on causation.
“This is on the same level as a wholly fake / bogus claim in terms of fraud. This judgment is a great example of the approach the courts are taking for claimants embellishing their symptoms and will be of assistance when dealing with future claims that have been exaggerated dishonestly.”
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