Easy Cash - Don't Bank On It

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02 March, 2016

Patel v Bolton Council

Bolton County Court - DJ Swindley

21st January 2016

It was alleged that the Claimant had fallen as a result of a defect on the carriageway. The Defendant had conceded breach of duty, but had put the Claimant to proof on the whole of his case.

The Judge described the alleged sequence of events prior to the accident as bizarre. The Claimant had ventured out at 10.30pm on a cold and dark February evening to check his balance at a cash machine. Rather than attending the nearest cash point, he drove past a number of other ATM's and then parked some distance away from his chosen cash point. As he walked to the cash point he experienced his fall. His evidence as to the mechanics of the fall was described by the Judge as less than satisfactory. The Claimant's partner who had been asked by the defence to wait outside of Court whilst the Claimant gave his evidence provided inconsistent evidence with that of the Claimant.

The day after the accident, the Claimant re-attended the scene to take photographs yet failed to seek medical attention. The first time there was any medical examination of the Claimant was some 15 months after the accident. The doctor found no injury on examination and based his report entirely on the history given to him by the Claimant.

Furthermore, during proceedings it had come to light that the claimant's medical report had been fraudulently amended by his solicitor who had overegged the extent of the injury and had invented attendances for physiotherapy. The Claimant denied having any knowledge of the amended medical report or any involvement with the fraud of his solicitor.

In summary, the Judge described the Claimant as evasive, combative on occasion, with lapses of memory who had a great difficulty in answering straightforward questions. The claim was therefore dismissed.

Forbes Comment

It is shocking though perhaps not surprising that the Claimant was able to obtain a supportive medical report without any contemporaneous evidence of an injury. The Claimant had taken photographs of the defect the following day yet had failed to seek any form of medical attention. From the outset the Defendant together with the Insurer, Gallagher Basset took a robust stance requiring the Claimant to prove all aspects of this claim and we are therefore delighted with the outcome at trial.

For more information please contact Ridwaan Omar.

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