One Insurance vs Mr Beasley
Insurance companies are increasingly adding pressure to those pursuing personal injury claims. Unfortunately, it has been known that claimants can be wrongly accused by insurers of fundamental dishonesty and exaggeration of their injuries. Here at Garden House Solicitors, we are well equipped to strenuously defend our clients against allegations like these.
It is unusual that a claimant really will attempt to scam the court system into receiving an unjustified settlement as part of a personal injury case. However, I recently read the approved judgement of his honour Judge Godsmark QC on the case of One Insurance vs Mr Beasley. The judge wrote, “I have seen a number of cases in my time as a judge where claimants seek to obtain damages for personal injury by exaggerating or fabricating their circumstances. This is one of the most blatant.”
Mr Beasley had been involved in a road traffic collision with a Skoda motor car whilst he was driving a DAF lorry. Mr Beasley’s claim grew rapidly and included injuries to the shoulder, neck and back with widespread pain to the right side of the body and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The index accident happened in December 2014 and by 2019 Mr Beasley was attending all medical appointments in a wheelchair and complaining of excruciating levels of pain. This made it almost impossible for meaningful medical examinations to take place. Mr Beasley put forward a proposed sum of £100,000.00 for his loss of earnings alone. This did not include an amount for care and damages.
It was later discovered that Mr Beasley had hired a wheelchair on two occasions to attend medical appointments which he then returned to the vendor afterwards. Video surveillance captures Mr Beasley independently exiting his vehicle, unloading the wheelchair from the back, setting it up and then sitting on it. However only a short while later, more video evidence shows Mr Beasley demonstrating entirely contradictory behaviour. He presented with extreme distress about his symptoms to the medical professional, so much so that Judge Godsmark retrospectively described him as ‘a wreck.’ There is also footage of Mr Beasley carrying heavy bags of topsoil to his car from a garden centre.
This new evidence triggered the collapse of his personal injury claim based on fundamental dishonesty. Mr Beasley was subsequently ordered to pay the sum of £60,000.00 in costs. There are 22 specific allegations advanced as examples of dishonest behaviour in pursuit of this claim and it has been described as ‘a blatant attempt to obtain damages through the legal process by deliberate exaggeration and fabrication. This was a calculated deceit, planned and organised and involving what one of the medical legal experts described as a campaign to deceive medical experts.’
Mr Beasley is 76 years of age and has no record of dishonesty in the past. There are some concerns about the health of his wife who was successfully treated for cancer last year but could potentially have recurring symptoms. Mr Beasley immediately acknowledged the contempt and guilty plea so the judge substantially reduced his sentence to 26 weeks or 6 months in custody with no suspension. The judge concluded the trial by addressing the claimant, “Mr Beasley, you will serve up to half of that before you are eligible for release. Take him down, please.’