How Exaggerating Your Injury Claim Can Backfire

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Exaggerating Your Injury Claim may well be tempting but not only is it unethical it really could ruin everything!

Bringing a personal injury claim in circumstances where another person or company has caused you harm and damage is perfectly understandable.

It’s important to appreciate that honesty and integrity are the foundations of a strong and sustainable legal case.

It’s also important to obtain the very best legal representation so that you can ensure justice is served and you receive the right amount of compensation for your injuries and any losses.

On the other hand, exaggerating your personal injury claim might well seem tempting but the consequences can be absolutely dire and the possible results of being dishonest need to be always borne in mind.


How Exaggerating Your Injury Claim Can Ruin Everything

If a person exaggerates injuries in a personal injury claim this can have far-reaching negative effects both in legal terms and personally for the Claimant.

Exaggeration can lead to really serious legal repercussions as misrepresenting the facts can be construed as perjury or fraud. This can lead to cost penalties and even criminal charges which result in a loss of liberty.

It needs to be remembered exaggerating a claim can seriously damage the credibility of the Claimant.

If the judge found that there are inconsistencies or inaccuracies that emerge during the process then the spotlight is inevitably placed onto the Claimant.

The veracity of the whole claim is often then undermined as it comes under close scrutiny by the defendant’s insurer whose attitude will harden as soon as there is even any tiny suspicion of any foul play.

Any doubts that arise on behalf of the defendant’s insurer can directly lead to difficulty in receiving fair compensation. The whole compensation process can become delayed, slow and painful with the insurer questioning and requiring justification for every single head of the claimant’s claim.

Once a Claimant’s credibility has been attacked and undermined then there is a real risk of the whole claim failing and there being no compensation agreed with the defendants insurers or awarded by the court.


Why do people Exaggerate their Personal Injury Claims?

There are a number of reasons why some people attempt to exaggerate personal injury claims.

Clearly financial motivations can play a significant part in the decision to be deceptive as individuals try to influence the process and seek larger compensation settlements to what they are genuinely entitle.

The belief that exaggerating the levels of their disability might result in a larger pay out can clearly result in a dishonest Claimant inflating their personal injuries as well as their financial losses too.

A Claimant might exaggerate their claim on the basis of emotional factors such as stress, frustration or pent-up anger which could cloud their judgement and lead to very bad decisions.

It may also be true that some individuals are not fully aware of the serious consequences of exaggerating their claim. They cannot have any appreciation about how misrepresenting the facts can lead to legal penalties, ethical implications and real irreparable damage to their life both personally and professionally.

In essence it is important to understand the potential ramifications when it comes to looking at the financial terms.


Types of Exaggerated Claims

Case law shows that there are a whole range of ways in which a deceitful Claimant try to embellish or fabricate the extent of their injuries with a view to obtaining an improved compensation award for financial gain.

Here are some examples of the ways in which deceitful Claimants have foolishly tried to beat the system:

  1. Fabricating the facts in an effort to succeed with the claim that has no merits on liability. This can even involve bringing in witnesses who collude with the Claimant to make untruthful claims about what happened thereby making a significant misrepresentation;
  2. Inflating medical expenses or financial losses such as loss of earnings by putting forward items using false or fabricated information;
  3. Extending the Claimant’s symptoms and possibly the recovery period by trying to mislead the independent medical expert about the longevity of their symptoms with a view to increasing the value of what might be a minor injury claim. It is essential to appreciate that by fabricating injuries there can be serious and untold consequences.
  4. Stating falsely by way of dishonest exaggeration that the accident resulted in psychological injury.

 

It’s important to stress that in the grand scheme of things there is only a tiny proportion of dishonest applicants who set out to mislead and buck the system. It also has to be emphasised that in the overwhelming majority of actions involving dishonesty the Claimant is ultimately exposed and when this happens everything implodes damaging the entire claim.

It needs to be understood that an honest claim for general damages (injuries) and an authentic Claimant’s case holds the key to a fair and just compensation.


Medical Evidence, Medical Records and Medical reports

Exaggerating evidence in a personal injury action not only has the effect of undermining the integrity of the legal system but also adversely affects those with legitimate and genuine actions.

  • If there is doubt about the Claimant’s authenticity then medical evidence can become a central tool to establish whether the Claimant claims can be trusted and has the desired credibility.
  • Medical documentation which usually incorporates test results, medical report, records and medical expert’ opinions can all serve to underpin the veracity of the claim when evaluating whether the Claimant is genuine or not.
  • It is true to say that unscrupulous individuals may attempt to try to exploit the system by exaggerating their symptoms, falsifying the true position when being seen by medics with a view to inflating the claim. Such actions of course compromise the fairness of the process and also casts scepticism on all the parties involved including the insurers, legal professions and the public.
  • It follows that regulating and carefully assessing and scrutinising the medical documentation evidence is absolutely crucial while maintaining the integrity of the personal injury system and ensuring justice is served

Ethical considerations

It needs to be remembered that when pursuing a compensation claim honesty and integrity are a fundamental requirement. Anyone bringing a claim has a duty to the legal system to see justice and courts act in a fair and reasonable way by providing accurate and honest evidence throughout the process.

By exaggerating a claim this completely undermines the spirit and integrity of the process and can potentially adversely affect the outcomes for other people wish to claim.


The Importance of Documentation

It’s so important to be able to focus on all the accurate documentation in support of the claim. All sorts of evidence will be necessary such as photographs legal documents, witness statements and medical records and evidence. By concentrating on the facts and the documentation support this provides a factual basis for the claim.

Of course seeking professional advice from an expert and experienced personal injury solicitor will also ensure that the claim is presented in a way that is entirely honest, straightforward and more likely to succeed.


Unmasking the Insurance Company’s Role and their Response to Dishonesty?

  • If the court finds that the claim is successful then usually it is the defendants insurance company who is responsible for the primary claim and paying the compensation. For this reason insurers have a significant and critical role in assessing any actions that are brought by the Claimant.
  • Insurers companies and defendant solicitors are experienced in assessing and scrutinising demands for compensation and are masters at uncovering weaknesses, inconsistencies and false evidence especially when the Claimant is under cross examination.
  • When assessing exaggerated requests for recompense, the examination of witness statements becomes crucial in evaluating the veracity of reported injuries and their effects. A witness statement can serve as a valuable document enabling the trial judge and the defendant to assess the credibility and potential exaggeration of the Claimant’s witness statement evidence.
  • Any exaggeration that is detected by the insurer will lead to increased scrutiny and usually a fully contested trial. Detecting fraud and any exaggeration is one of the main priorities for insurers as they seek to clamp down on any payments that are illegitimate or fraudulent.
  • Insurers always broadcast the fact that exaggerated or fraudulent actions lead to higher premiums for policyholders which affects every individual taking out insurance.

Surveillance Evidence

In recent times surveillance evidence has become an important tool employed by insurance companies in an effort to expose the truth behind exaggerated personal injury actions.

With the advancements in technology insurers have increasingly been able to monitor and then challenge the credibility of social media accounts of those seeking compensation.

The surveillance video camera can completely undermine a claim by exposing any fraudulently exaggerated behaviour. Video surveillance evidence can show applicants undertaking activities and daily tasks that are completely at odds with the way that they present themselves to the medical experts.

Surveillance evidence and video footage can help to avoid a substantial injustice in circumstances when the injured person is hellbent on beating the system.


How is the legal system affected?

Exaggerated actions put a real strain on to the legal system which is already creaking with inefficiencies and delays.

Courts and legal practitioners need to spend time investigating and processing actions brought by deceitful people trying to exaggerate their claims. It follows that resources are used up by those who exaggerate and this in turn diverts attention from legitimate cases.

By bringing exaggerated actions individuals are responsible for eroding the trust in the court system and this can lead to a general feeling of scepticism in relation to those actions being brought by honest and genuine applicants.

Do not forget that by exaggerating your claim this not only puts your whole claim and court case at risk but can also lead to serious financial penalties.

The courts take any fraudulent activity extremely seriously and when it is exposed the penalties can be staggering.


Exaggeration and Fundamental Dishonesty

  • The court has developed the doctrine of “fundamental dishonesty” to deal with applicants who are found to be dishonestly exaggerating any element of their personal injury claim.
  • Fundamental dishonesty is where there is a formal finding by the court against the Claimant on the grounds that there has been dishonest behaviour. When a finding of fundamental dishonesty has been made the Claimant will not only lose those elements of the claim that are dishonest but will also forego any genuine elements of their claim. Not only that, the Claimant will be potentially liable for all the Defendant’s costs.
  • The courts have shown through court decisions that they deal with fundamental dishonesty robustly making sure these individuals do not profit in any way from their dishonest behaviour. Indeed, often criminal proceedings will arise out of such situations.
  • Courts have also acted to make sure that the defendant is not out-of-pocket in any way as a consequence of the claimant’s account and any fundamental dishonesty. This means in practice the defendant’s legal costs defending and arising out of the fraudulent claim need to be paid by the Claimant personally.
  • Not only can a finding of fundamental dishonesty harm an individual financially but it can also result in potentially career changing consequences which may prevent the Claimant from pursuing or continuing in their chosen career.

How Exaggerating Personal Injury Claims Can Haunt You for Years

There can be no underestimating in terms of the extent of possible adverse repercussions when it comes to exaggerating a personal accident or injury claim but what are the consequences for those found guilty of personal injury claim fraud?

Not only will you have the whole force of the law coming down on you, which may involve huge cost penalties and even a possible loss of liberty. In addition there would be the prospect of losing any professional reputation which may lead to problems with gaining future employment.

It’s common knowledge that insurance companies potential employers routinely carry out background checks and these wood uncover any inconsistencies or misrepresentations. If somebody’s credibility is irreparably damaged then it’s easy to see how an insurance company or a prospective employer will take a dim view and look elsewhere.

Put simply there is no substitute for conducting your own claim, in a transparent and honest way rather than risk the huge repercussions of a finding against you on the grounds of personal injury claim fraud.


Concluding Remarks

  • Exaggerating a personal injury claim and failing to present it in a honest and transparent way is a risky endeavour that can have severe lifelong consequences.
  • Some may see that it is tempting to overstate and exaggerate their injuries or losses for financial gain. However the long-term effects on credibility, financial implications and legal repercussions far outweigh any perceived short-term benefits.
  • Anyone seeking to claim compensation must act with honesty and integrity. By approaching the claim in this way the court is likely to take a more sympathetic and even handed approach leading to a fair award of compensation.

FAQ

Q: Can I slightly exaggerate with a view to claiming a higher award of compensation?

Absolutely not, exaggerating a personal injury claim is not only unethical it is against the criminal justice system and can lead to far-reaching legal consequences, financial penalties, damage to credibility and adverse life changing results. If a person is found to have brought a fundamentally dishonest claim then it’s certain they will face severe repercussions and consequences.

Q: What are the legal consequences of exaggerating a personal injury claim?

Exaggerating a personal injury claim can result in you being held “fundamentally dishonest” which in turn could lead to fines, being liable to pay costs as well as the prospect of the criminal justice and courts system bringing charges. This could possibly lead to a prison sentence as well as the dismissal of the claim.

Q: How can I ensure my claim is accurate and fair?

It’s always best to seek professional advice from a personal injury expert with many years of experience. If you instruct the right solicitors practice then you can rest easy in the knowledge that your claim will be pursued in the right way. Your solicitor will take the trouble to gather and obtain accurate evidence supporting your claim. This will ensure that you stay within the letter and spirit of the rules and do not suffer any credibility issues.

Q: Can an Exaggerated claim affect my future claims?

Yes, There is no doubt that if you make the mistake of exaggerating a claim it can have a knock-on effect and can completely destroy your credibility in any subsequent such claims you may bring. You will therefore find it difficult to receive fair treatment or fair compensation in future claims.


Meet the Author

Chris Carter, the founder and Director of Carter & Carter Solicitors, is a renowned personal injury law firm leader in the UK.

Chris has 25+ years of experience and has gained trust as an expert in the field.

He and the team are dedicated to aiding injury victims and has a strong record of winning claims and securing compensation.

Chris and the team at C&C Solicitors prioritise client support during challenging times, going the extra mile to ensure their well-being.

For more information about Chris, C&C Solicitors, and their legal services, visit www.candcsolicitors.co.uk/about-us/ or call 01663 761890.