Dishonestly Obtained Personal Injury Award Overturned

Mark Cummings

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Until very recently, it was extremely difficult for the terms of a personal injury settlement to be reopened once the claim was finished, and damages or settlement money had been paid to a claimant. The courts had traditionally taken the view that finality and certainty were most important for all of the parties involved.

However, in the landmark case of Haywood v Zurich Insurance Company the Supreme Court set aside a settlement award of £134,973.11 and substituted this for a much smaller award of £14,720. The reason for the reduction in the award was because the claimant Mr Haywood, had ‘grossly and dishonestly’ exaggerated his symptoms.

At the time the settlement figure was reached, Zurich had video evidence of Mr Haywood exaggerating his symptoms. By 2009, they had gathered further evidence, demonstrating that Mr Haywood fully recovered from his symptoms within a year.

Zurich applied to set the settlement aside, based on Mr Haywood’s deceit and made a claim for damages. Zurich did have suspicions that Mr Haywood was exaggerating his symptoms but it was held that they had done all that they could to investigate this issue at the relevant time.

The decision of the Supreme Court, was that Zurich were not in possession of all of the relevant facts when they agreed the original settlement. The mere fact that Zurich knew that there was some misrepresentation in relation to the extent of the symptoms this did not prevent the Court finding that Mr Haywood had fraudulently induced Zurich to enter into the settlement agreement.

This case means that in future, there is the possibility that settlements will be revisited, if new evidence comes to light that a claimant has exaggerated their symptoms, or made a miraculous recovery once they have received payment. 

Samuels Solicitors, based in Devon, have a long history of bringing successful personal injury claims on behalf of clients. We understand that funding your claim could be a problem, and so we have a range of flexible funding options designed to help you with legal fees. In some cases, we may be able to help you under the terms of a conditional (no win no fee) agreement. 

We will assess any matter for free, so you have nothing to lose by contacting us. 

Contact us today for a free initial discussion about your case.