Caught in the act? Or not, as the case may be.
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Through sheer determination and with the assistance of medication and treatment Mr Noble managed to recover some of the use of his legs. However, a neighbour witnessed him walking unaided and reported him to Direct Line. In response they hired a team of private investigators who went to the extreme of mounting a covert camera from a 50ft mast and camping in an animal shelter outside his house. The footage they obtained showed Mr Noble walking, using a chainsaw, driving a dumper truck and carrying heavy weights.
As a result of the footage obtained Direct Line sought and won an injunction freezing Â£2.25 million of the award given to Mr Noble. However, the High Court have now thrown out the claim with the view that Mr Noble was determined to walk unaided and had not been dishonest at any time during the course of the previous claim.
The use of video surveillance was a popular tactic in the 1990's and appears to be on the increase again. In light of the above case and that of Spence v Naveda, Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals NHS Trust. In the latter case the Defendant used social network sites to locate photographs of the Claimant enjoying a lively social scene on holiday despite suffering a serious spinal cord injury. Again, in this case a neighbour also tipped off the insurance company. As a result of this millions of pounds were wiped off the value of the claim.
It is generally spinal cord injury claims that attract the potential of video surveillance, this is due to the fact that care claims can run to millions of pounds and this coupled with the fact that there is a degree of mobility retained by the claimant is tempting to the insurer to challenge the validity of the claim.
Karen Hayden is a Legal Executive in the Personal Injury team.
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