More and more Defendant lawyers are raising fundamental dishonesty on the part of the Claimant.
The 2013 Jackson reforms introduced qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS) in to Personal Injury law. Essentially, if a Claimant is unsuccessful in their claim for personal injury they will not be required to pay the Defendant's costs - a reversal of the pre-2013 position.
However, if a Claimant is found to be 'fundamentally dishonest', they could lose their costs protection or even have their whole claim dismissed. This was the case in the recent judgement by the High Court in Pinkus v Direct Line.
In Pinkus, the Claimant claimed damages for injuries sustained as a result of a road traffic accident. He declared he was unable to work due to suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, claiming damages of £850,000. The Defendant insurers valued the claim between £2,000 and £3,000 and alleged the Claimant was fundamentally dishonest regarding his PTSD. The Judge agreed, and although she considered the claim to be worth around £4,500 she dismissed it in its entirety due to the Claimant's fundamental dishonesty.
Commenting on the case, Stephen Green, Head of Personal Injury at Fosters said "It is a shame that a few dishonest Claimants are damaging the reputation of the many honest and credible Claimants by knowingly and dishonestly inflating the value of their claim or claiming for losses they have not actually incurred."