12 June, 2017
Network Rail v Dermody & Anor (2016)  EWHC 2060 (QB) QBD (Edis J) 19/07/2016
A former employee of Network Rail was found in contempt of court and sentenced to three months in prison after fabricating the extent of his injuries following an accident at work.
The claimant alleged that he sustained a crippling and disabling injury to his right thumb whilst working for Network Rail. Upon receipt of the £300,000 claim for personal injury, the insurers obtained surveillance evidence which revealed that the claimant was able to function much better than he had alleged. Also footage on the internet showed him playing bass guitar in a very energetic heavy metal tribute group 'Guns or Roses' on a European tour.
When presented with the evidence he attempted to alter his case, before subsequently abandoning the claim.
The Judge described the conduct as "gravely damaging to the public interest; fraud in personal injury litigation was a major impediment to the smooth running of the civil justice system, as well as being a serious crime".
His Honour Judge Main QC described this as a classic case of a claimant attempting to over egg the pudding; whilst the evidence suggests that the claimant did sustain an injury of some kind, he subsequently attempted to exaggerate the effects of the injury by lying to medical experts, as well as submitting false pleadings and witness statements in support of the claim.
This case also acts as a warning to those who provide false witness statements in support of fraudulent personal injury claims. The claimant's mother who provided a statement confirming that her son had been unable to partake in any of his usual activities after the accident also had committal proceedings brought against her.