Representing the defendant via their European insurer in connection with an accident involving a lorry and a taxi.
A claim was presented by a passenger in the taxi who was three month’s pregnant at the time of the accident. A GP report was disclosed in July 2010 which detailed that the claimant reported pain in her neck, severe ongoing back pain, severe ongoing wrist pain and ongoing severe visual disturbance with associated headaches. The GP expert recommended a referral to a neurologist and an orthopaedic expert to comment further upon her injuries.
An orthopaedic report (dated July 2011) was disclosed in July 2012. The orthopaedic expert recommended a referral to a rheumatologist. The orthopaedic expert also recorded that the claimant reported subsequent problems in her pregnancy (including sickness and pre-eclampsia which resulted in the birth being induced) which she considered to be accident related. Rheumatologists were duly nominated by the claimant’s solicitors.
In August 2012 the claimant served her witness evidence, verified with a statement of truth. In the statement she confirmed that she was 4 months pregnant at the time of the accident and that her morning sickness had stopped. She described how she became sick and the problems with her pregnancy developed after the accident.
Reference was casually made in her witness statement to a neurology report, the content of which the claimant confirmed she agreed. Given that no neurology report had been served to date, this was of course requested and finally disclosed over 18 months after it was obtained. In this report the expert expressed his "extreme uncertainty" as to the accuracy of the claimant’s account. On examination, the claimant had reported to him that she had been sick "continuously" following the accident, and that she had had no vomiting at all prior to the accident. On reviewing the medical records, the expert concluded that this was "simply not true". He noted that the claimant had in fact been admitted to hospital on a number of occasions in October and November 2009 (pre-accident) with extreme sickness and dehydration in connection with her pregnancy.
In light of the medical evidence, the claimant’s solicitors were invited to remind their client of the gravity of signing a statement of truth. An offer was made to the claimant to reflect the serious discrepancies in the evidence presented, and settlement was reached at a significantly discounted figure in light of the queries arising as to the claimant’s credibility.