The Court of Appeal has rejected an insurer’s attempt to dismiss an injury claim – despite evidence emerging that the victim had been dishonest.
Lord Justice Underhill said the claimant’s original out-of-court settlement of almost £135,000 should stand because of the ‘wider principle’ in the finality of settlements.
The claimant received the damages in 2003 after claiming for back injuries suffered following an accident at work five years earlier. The employer’s insurer Zurich obtained video surveillance of the victim, arguing it showed he was exaggerating the consequences of his injury.
The Claimant’s legal team argued that for the original settlement to be set aside Zurich needed to prove it had been deceived rather than simply influenced by the original statements.
The judge said that the insurers could have taken the case to trial in order to disprove the statements in question; but by settling the case agreed to forgo that opportunity and cannot reserve the right to come back later for another attempt.
‘It may stick in the throat that the claimant can retain the reward of his dishonesty, but the defendant will have made the deal with his eyes open to the possibility of fraud, and there is an important public interest in the finality of statements.’