Back in 2003 Mr Summers fell off a fork lift truck at work. He initially made an accident claim in which he described his injuries as ‘life-changing’. This claim was brought against his former employer, Fairclough Homes, for £838,000.
However, whilst defending the claim, the employer’s insurers obtained video footage of Mr. Summers entering a medical examination on crutches, only to return home later in the day without any apparent need of his crutches at all. The video shows Mr. Summers getting out of his car, retrieving his crutches from the boot and carrying them indoors. Mr. Summers also underwent a surgical operation in an attempt to strengthen his compensation claim. This operation has since been proven to be unnecessary.
Entitled to compensation he deserved
In April 2010, Manchester County Court assessed Mr. Summers claim and maintained that although there was evidence of gross exaggeration, he should still be entitled to the compensation that serves the genuine part of his claim. The judge assessed this at £88,716. Zurich Insurers argued this decision, stating that the extent of Mr. Summers false allegations should void his claim altogether.
The extent of Mr. Summers lies caused the insurers to seek justice from the Supreme High Court in their attempt to seek justice after they lost in the Court of Appeal in October 2010. However, the High Court has recently upheld that decision, maintaining that Mr. Summers is still entitled to compensation. The judge stated that Fairclough Homes were in breach of their duty of care to Mr. Summers and that he did sustain significant injuries as a result.
Zurich Insurers have expressed their disappointment that Mr. Summers’s case has not been thrown out entirely. However, they do believe they have made significant progress in deterring false claims of a similar nature in the future. The legal principle that Zurich founded their appeals procedure on has been upheld by the courts.
Claims that are hindered by fraudulent activities or an ‘abuse of process’ do have the power to be thrown out in their entirety. In the case of Mr. Summers, the court found the evidence attached to the truthful part of his case significant enough to warrant a reward of compensation. This may not be the case for all such fraudulent claims in the future.