No one wants to be put out by an accident, but lying or exaggerating your claim for extra cash is never a wise move.
I was involved in a fairly nasty bike accident two-and-a-half years ago. I suffered a twisting fracture to my right ankle, which needed three operations.
My parents and I agree that I am not fit for work, as I am in constant pain. My doctor is totally unsympathetic and eventually, after my mum had a massive go at him, referred me to a pain clinic, about 30 miles away from where I live. I was seen by a very arrogant so-called ‘pain specialist’, who discharged me, saying that I should be able to control my pain with over-the-counter paracetamol.
The insurers for the other driver have offered me £25,000 for my ankle injuries and a year’s loss of earnings, but after that, nothing. Prior to the accident I had a zero hour’s contract warehouse job, but I earned about three hundred pounds a week take home on average.
My solicitors clearly do not believe me about the pain I am in, but have said: “If you want a pain expert’s report, you will have to pay for one” – they will not pay for it themselves, which is clearly their duty. I have tried to switch to other solicitors, but no one will touch this claim. I am at my wits’ end. What can I do?
I think your best plan is to follow your solicitor’s advice. Your fracture is a serious one. I do not doubt that. However, in the documents that you have sent me, it is clear that this is not an ‘end all work’ injury. The pain clinic letter to your GP uses language which is unusually strong, and the pain clinician is calling you a liar. The letter reads; ‘There was an exaggerated response to stimuli which was inconsistent’, and unusually, the pain consultant said that “I note this young man is involved in litigation, which seems to be a motivating factor”, and he also refers to your mother consistently intervening on your behalf and answering for you. I cannot see why this NHS specialist consultant anaesthetist would lie. Your solicitors have given you very clear advice about ‘fundamental dishonesty’ and they are wise to.
If you advance a hopeless case, based on you never working again in your early twenties until retirement from a nasty, but unremarkable broken ankle, when the pain expert has said “take some paracetamol and man up”, then the insurers will have you under constant surveillance. Good luck pretending to be so broken that you cannot walk for the rest of your life, for the slim chance of you persuading a Judge to make an award against all of the evidence of you never working again.
You also sent me the orthopaedic report, and I know the orthopaedic surgeon who has reported is absolutely dead straight and he says: “There is no clinical or orthopaedic cause for the pain this young man complains of”. This is all code for the Judge. The surgeon does not say there is pain, he says that you complain of it. He does not say that you are lying, hut he is telling the Judge that he is politely calling ‘bullshit’ on you.
Please do not fall into the trap of thinking a broken ankle is a meal ticket for life. There is what seems to me to be a proper award on the table. Listen to your solicitor, not your mum. She might think that she is helping, but honestly, legal advice is usually better from a solicitor than your mum. You could potentially go to jail for a bent claim, and even if you are in pain the evidence really does not support it. Everything about your case has a very strong flavour of exaggeration.
I am neutral in this. I looked at your evidence and formed the view that you are dishonest, and I also formed the impression that the dishonesty is being forced upon you by your mum. She will not be the one either doing prison time for a fraudulent claim, and that is a real risk for you, but I can tell you almost as a matter of certainty that the total award of about £40,000, which is currently on offer, is likely to be seized back by the insurance if the Judge finds, as I think the Court almost inevitably will, that your claim is a fraudulent exaggeration, and you will have to give it all back. Think very carefully before you go any further. I cannot see this ending well for you.
Fast Bikes Magazine – August 2019