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Lying injury claimant left in 'parlous' position after losing £1.2m

The High Court has dismissed in full a claim by an injured motorcyclist who lied to pursue an insurer for £6.6m in compensation.

His Honour Judge Sephton KC said Matthew Shaw had been ‘unrepentant’ in his lying and had believed that the court would not punish him. But despite having a legitimate case worth £1.2m, Shaw was found to have been fundamentally dishonest and was ordered to repay interim payments amounting to £150,000.

The judge said Shaw would have to rely on state support for his ongoing treatment and accepted that the dismissal of his claim would leave him in a ‘parlous’ financial position.

He added: ‘[Shaw] gambled that his lies would not be found out or that the court would excuse them, although he was aware of the risk that his claim might be dismissed if he were found out. Although the dismissal of his heavy claim will cause Mr Shaw significant financial hardship, I have concluded that it will not inflict substantial injustice.’

The court heard that Shaw, now 32, was injured in a motorcycle accident in Stockport in 2018. He suffered multiple fractures in his arms and legs and spent more than a month in hospital. He has undergone 23 surgical procedures.

A claim form was issued in July 2019 seeking £6.5m plus the cost of future aids and equipment.

In his statement of truth, Shaw said he could only walk up to 200 metres without using a stick and that for longer trips he used a mobility scooter. He had difficulty standing for more than 10 minutes and needed two handrails to climb stairs.

In September 2020, Shaw made an interim payment request by letter, seeking £1.5m. This was to fund continued rehabilitation, single-storey accommodation in an affluent area with an average property cost of £566,000, and a Land Rover Discovery or Mercedes GLE. He later reduced this request to £300,000.

But at-fault insurer Hastings Direct obtained surveillance evidence showing him walking 900 metres without a stick, prompting defendant firm Keoghs to issue a warning email indicating he was not being truthful and asking him to reconsider or withdraw an application for interim payment.

Shaw proceeded with the application and was subsequently filmed walking without aids, shopping using a mountain bike, driving an SUV and biking at a remote location.

Further investigation found he had been certified by his GP as fit for a tandem skydive, had undertaken a BASE jump in Italy and participated in indoor and outdoor climbing in the UK. Records revealed Shaw had managed to ascend Mount Snowdon with a friend on an electric mountain bike.

Keoghs said this was the largest case to date to be dismissed for dishonesty, both in terms of the £6.6m sought, and the court’s valuation of the genuine claim at £1.2m.

Mike Pope, partner and case lead at Keoghs, said: ‘We’re delighted with the judgment of this case which culminates years and months of diligent work.

‘The judgment provided by the court represents a precedent for all similar future cases in its analysis of dishonesty sufficient to dismiss a very serious claim, the circumstances when such dishonesty may be excused, and the costs orders which flow from these decisions.’

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