Kicking fraud in to touch

It is absolutely right that two football fans face combined costs of more than £12,000 after their personal injury claims were dismissed and found to be fundamentally dishonest, resulting in costs protection being set aside by Leeds County Court.

The pair had made injury claims after travelling on a bus packed full of football supporters which was involved in a minor collision with a Ford Fiesta while moving at very low speed.
The two claims are the first to reach court of more than 50 submitted to the bus company, First Bus, arising from the incident.

Martin Costello, 51, of Leeds, was ordered to pay costs of £4,839 plus VAT by Judge Gosnell last month. Neil Muscroft, 53, of Pontefract, was ordered to pay costs of £7,163 by Judge Saffman in May.

The claimants had sought personal injury damages of £2,400 and £4,200 respectively.

Muscroft had claimed that the impact of the collision had thrown him to the ground, causing injuries to his neck and shoulder that lasted eight to 10 months. However, CCTV footage showed the fans to be so tightly packed into the bus that there was no room for the claimant to have fallen. Muscroft had also taken no time off work, and failed to mention the injuries during two GP appointments in the months after the collision.

In the case of Costello, CCTV footage from the bus showed him twice holding his neck while smiling, in the moments after the incident. However, his claim stated that his pain began the following day.

At Hilary Meredith Solicitors we have long championed anti-fraud training and accreditation for claimant personal injury solicitors. We also believe there should be a mandatory industry wide training programme with official accreditation for all claimant solicitors who undertake anti-fraud training.

It is the responsibility of every claimant solicitor taking on a case to advise their client of the consequences of failing to tell the truth.

Our own anti-fraud training has been provided by barrister James Henry of Temple Garden Chambers.

From personal experience I know such dishonesty impacts on all litigants and their lawyers making civil litigation more adversarial, costly and time consuming than it should be.

Hilary Meredith