A motorcyclist accident victim who sustained severe injuries in a road accident eight years ago has won his battle to keep his compensation after the defendant insurance company accused him of exaggerating his injuries.
Mark Noble, from Wareham in Dorset, suffered a fractured pelvis and injuries to his spine head, left leg and both wrists when the driver of a car pulled out in front of him on the A336 near Cadnam, Hampshire, in 2003. Mr Noble successfully brought a personal injury claim against the driver of the car and was awarded £3.4 million, most of which was to cover the future cost of medical care, home modifications and to compensate for his past and future lost earnings.
However, following a tip-off by one of his neighbours – seemingly disgruntled by him appearing to make a better recovery than expected – the insurers, Direct Line, obtained an order to freeze £2.25m of Mr Noble’s award and sought an appeal of the award. Direct Line alleged that Mr Noble had lied about the extent of his injuries following the collision. Private detectives covertly filmed Mr Noble walking, using a chainsaw and driving a dumper truck after giving evidence at the time of the payment that he was virtually wheelchair-bound.
At the hearing on 16th March 2011 the judge said, “At the time of the quantum trial, Mr Noble was determined to try to walk unaided and may have been confident that somehow he would succeed in doing so, but he did not dishonestly conceal from the court or the expert witnesses his then true state of disability, or dishonestly emphasise his disability. The claim that he dishonestly misled the court at the trial is accordingly dismissed.” He also said that a claimant making a better than expected recovery should not be penalised for doing so and could not be assumed to have lied at the outset.