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When two football supporters travelling in a bus packed with fans made personal injury claims after the vehicle was involved in a collision, the result was a bill for them of more than £12,000.
The two men claimed that they had been injured when the accident happened, one alleging that he had suffered a neck injury and the other shoulder and neck injuries that had caused him to take several months off work.
The County Court reviewed a variety of evidence which contradicted the men's assertions as regards the severity of their injuries – and indeed, raised doubts as to whether the two had been injured at all. This included CCTV footage from the bus, which showed that it was so tightly packed with supporters that the alleged injuries could not have happened, and evidence of the very minor impact between the vehicles involved. In the light of this, the Court rejected the men's claims and awarded costs against them.
A further 38 claims had been lodged regarding the same incident and it remains to be seen how many of those will now be pursued.
The courts are taking an increasingly tough stance regarding personal injury claims for which there is little or flimsy evidence. A recent Supreme Court decision – in which an insurance company that suspected an injury claim was exaggerated, but had no definite proof at the time compensation was paid, was allowed to recover a large portion of the settlement payment, after evidence was provided to support its suspicions and the Court found that it had relied on untrue statements when settling the claim – may lead to insurers adopting an increasingly robust approach to defending contentious claims.