Understanding fundamental dishonesty in personal injury claims

If you are making a personal injury claim, it is important you are honest about your symptoms and losses.

Don’t exaggerate them or make false statements.

Claimants found guilty of being fundamentally dishonest with their personal injury claim can face severe consequences.

This article will explain the concept fundamental dishonesty and how it could affect your personal injury claim if you are found guilty.

What is fundamental dishonesty in personal injury?

Fundamental dishonesty is a concept that was introduced in the UK under Section 57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 in a bid to deter fraudulent or exaggerated personal injury claims.

The defendant must prove the claimant has been fundamentally dishonest. Usually, fundamental dishonesty will either be discovered before the trial or arise from evidence during it.

Examples of fundamental dishonesty include an individual claiming that since the accident, they can no longer carry out a particular task when this is untrue. The dishonesty must be related to something fundamental in the case rather than a minor part of the claim.

In some cases, defendants may undertake surveillance of the claimant to gather evidence of their dishonesty. Evidence may also be gathered from the claimant’s social media posts or eyewitness accounts.

Consequences of fundamental dishonesty

Claimants that are found to have been fundamentally dishonest could find themselves facing the following consequences:

  • They become liable to pay legal costs for both sides – Usually, under the Qualified One-way Costs Shifting (QOCS) principle, claimants do not bear liability of cost in personal injury claims. However, if a claimant is found to be fundamentally dishonest, then QOCS protection is lost. If a claim is fundamentally dishonest, the claimant loses protection under QOCS and is required to pay the legal costs on both sides.
  • The case is dismissed – If a claimant is found to have been fundamentally dishonest, the judge may dismiss their personal injury case altogether. This can even happen in cases where the claim is otherwise genuine but contains elements of dishonesty. This could also mean the claimant loses the right to raise the same kind of claim in a court of law in the future.
  • Prosecution – In extreme cases, the claimant could even be prosecuted for perjury/contempt of court.

Does fundamental dishonesty only apply to personal injury?

Whilst dishonesty can lead to serious consequences in many areas of the law, the concept of fundamental dishonesty is specific to personal injury claims. It can also only be applied to the claimant.

If you have sustained injuries after an accident that wasn’t your fault and require help with a personal injury claim or fundamental dishonesty personal injury, contact Mark Reynolds Solicitors.

Call us today on 0800 002 9577 to arrange a free consultation with one of our solicitors.