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The Administrative Court in England recently decided upon the case of Airbus Operations Ltd & Another v Roberts [2012] EWHC 3631 wherein it found that the defendant was in contempt of court as a result of his misrepresentation of his injuries sustained in a workplace accident. This was decided on the basis the defenders produced surveillance evidence which if not obtained and shown to the court would have meant that the claimant would have likely obtained a substantial sum of damages which he was not entitled to.

The claimant had brought an action for a personal injury he suffered when he fell and twisted his back in the course of his employment. He made a witness statement which said that, in addition to other problems he could not walk anything other than short distances and required the use of two crutches as a result of persistent and chronic pain. The defenders placed him under surveillance which showed that he was exaggerating the extent of his injuries and in one instance showed him moving building materials into a skip. It was accepted that he had therefore exaggerated his injuries for personal gain.

Thompsons Solicitor Laura McGee said: “This case is an example of a claimant who was genuinely injured but went on to attempt to manipulate the system for his own gain. Categorising it as contempt of court treats it with the seriousness it deserves and shows that the courts are not willing to accept claims by those exploiting a system which is in place to help those genuinely injured.

“This case demonstrates that individuals with genuine injury should not be deterred from making claims which they are honestly representing and should not be worried about being put into the same class as fraudulent pursuers as these people are rarely successful and will be caught out and punished.” 

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