Aviva General Insurance has welcomed the decision by Mr Justice Bernard Barton to dismiss the claim for damages taken by a member of the public arising out of injuries he sustained having fallen from a window at the Old Bank House Hotel in Kinsale, Co Cork. In his judgement delivered this morning at the High Court in Dublin, the judge said he found the evidence given by the plaintiff in sworn affidavits and to the court “neither honest, credible, nor reliable”.
Aviva, acting on behalf of its customer, Old Bank House Hotel, had submitted to the court a video of surveillance evidence showing that the plaintiff had grossly exaggerated the extent of his injuries. Mr Justice Barton found the surveillance evidence to be the truth and “in stark contrast” to the presentation of his injuries by the plaintiff to his own and the defence’s medical experts. He added that the defendants had “discharged the onus of proof” required by Section 26 of the Civil Law Liability Act 2004.
Commenting on today’s judgement, Allan Archer, Head of Claims at Aviva, said: “This judgement vindicates Aviva’s decision to fight this long and costly case over the last six years. The plaintiff had greatly exaggerated the extent of his injuries, claiming he was virtually bed bound and had sought compensation, including special damages amounting to £1.5m sterling. Aviva was awarded its costs in the case.
“Making false or exaggerated personal injury claims for monetary gain is a crime under Irish law. It is also imposes a huge cost on customers who must ultimately pay for insurance fraud. The higher the total claims cost, the higher the premium we must charge. Aviva is determined to take whatever action is needed to fight fraud so as to keep premiums affordable.
“Without insurance cover, business owners like our customer in this case cannot operate and the cost of cover is a very significant outlay for them. Small and medium sized enterprises, particularly those in the hospitality sector have been the lynchpin of our economic recovery. Those who pursue false claims through the courts are not only damaging the insurance sector; they are also damaging the competitiveness of our economy and our ability to create jobs. In that context, today’s judgement is a victory for all our business customers and for the economy.”