Can voluntary redundancy form the basis of an unfair dismissal claim?
A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case demonstrates some of the issues that may arise in a voluntary redundancy situation.Read more
The claimant claimed damages for significant neck and back pain and a psychological reaction arising out of a road traffic accident, whereby the defendant, our insurer client’s policyholder, collided with the rear of the claimant’s vehicle.
The claimant’s orthopaedic expert considered the injuries that he sustained to be severe enough to cause an indefinite impact on his ability to carry out day-to-day activities and paid employment. This resulted in him seeking over £203,615.38 in his schedule of special damage, plus general damages to be assessed.
Challenging the claim, the defendant maintained that the collision was innocuous, and while capable of causing minor injury, the claim presented was highly exaggerated.
Careful consideration of the claimant’s medical records and expert medical evidence revealed altering and inconsistent symptoms across the timeline and a failure by medical experts to fully consider his history before and after the collision.
Evidence highlighted by the defendant’s medical expert suggested that of the injuries sustained by the claimant, the neck pain would have lasted no more than a few weeks in duration and the back pain would have subsided within six to 12 months.
Proving this was difficult as the claimant stated within his witness statement that he has “good days and bad days”; therefore, surveillance alone was unlikely to uncover enough evidence.
In an attempt to back up the inconsistencies already identified, including those with the claimant’s employment history and past earnings, our team turned to social media. The claimant’s Facebook account revealed regular posts about his participation in activities such as partying in Ibiza, which contradicted the contended disability, need for care and capability to work.
Although there was little doubt that the claimant did have spinal problems, be they degenerative or otherwise, their extent and attributing them entirely to the incident aroused suspicion.
Following the cross-reference of the claimant’s social media activity with forensic consideration of expert medical reports and medical records, the evidence culminated in putting the claimant at considerable risk of a finding of fundamental dishonesty at trial.
Upon presenting our findings to the claimant, the claim promptly settled by the late acceptance of a £10,000 Part 36 offer which our client had offered seven months earlier, achieving a substantial saving on damages and costs for our client and affirming the importance of an early tactical Part 36 offer.
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