Insurance Company Seeks to Recover Damages Paid to Injured Biker


When Mark Noble was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in 2003, his insurance claim was met with an admission of liability on the part of the car driver involved in the accident. Damages were assessed and paid at some £3.4 millions, on the basis that Mr Noble was dependent on a wheelchair and crutches, required daily assistance, and would never work again.
In 2008, however, the insurers received confidential information that Mr Noble may not have been as seriously disabled as he had previously claimed. The company obtained several hours of video footage showing Mr Noble moving about a yard quite freely, driving a dumper truck, sawing wood and moving heavy items. This led the company to believe that they may have been misled over the extent of the injuries and so, following an initial injunction against further spending of the compensation money, entered an appeal against the award.
The Appeal Court judges agreed that, on the basis of the video evidence, Mr Noble had made a better recovery than had been anticipated. However, it was far from clear whether this had been a consequence of deceit on the part of Mr Noble. For this reason, and out of fairness to Mr Noble, the court ruled against setting the damages aside. It would also have been very costly to have had to go back to the beginning of the case.
However, given what was described by reference to a similar case as a "dramatic change of circumstances since the learned judge has made his award" it was agreed that the question of fraud should be tried before a high court judge, LJ Sedley ommenting that "This court has had to form a preliminary view as to whether the evidence now before the court is capable – no more – of showing that the trial judge was deliberately misled about the claimant's capacities. Having formed the view (for my part not without hesitation) that it is, we are able to make an order which enables that issue to be properly tried but protects the claimant from the loss of his award unless and until it is proved that he obtained it in some significant measure by fraud.” .

It was further ruled that, subject to availability, the original trail judge should hear the case, given his detailed knowledge of the matter. If the judge finds that fraud is proved, he will reassess the amount of the damages.

Share this article