Direct Line loses court battle after they claimed that claimant 'faked injuries'
The adverts may be a jolly old romp with the voices of Stephen Fry and Paul Merton, but Direct Line are licking their wounds after a critically injured man won his battle to retain £3.4m in compensation after the company cheerily accused him of telling lies about his disabilities after a traffic accident.
The Guardian report that this is the first case of its kind, where an insurance company have contested the validity of disabilities rather than merely trying to establish who was responsible for an accident.
Mark Noble sustained a broken pelvis, a spinal fracture, injuries to his left leg, both wrists and his head after a driver pulled out in front of his motorbike. 11 operations later and the problems that go along with all that, including MRSA, he still suffers from incontinence, chronic pain and has to use a wheelchair.
But Direct Line weren't having it.
After he was awarded £3.4m in damages, Direct Line decided to start questioning him after being tipped off by one of Noble's neighbours (the grassing shitehawks). And so, Direct Line did some snooping and surveillance before getting an injunction freezing £2.25m of the award pending appeal.
It appears that Noble had recovered a better than expected, which was too speedy for Direct Line's liking. The judge dealing with the trial argued that this didn't mean he'd lied.
"At the time of the [initial] 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 [initial] trial is accordingly dismissed."
David Williams of solicitors RDPS Law, who represented Noble, said he thought the appeal by Direct Line was partly initiated by the size of the damages, but added: "I think it was also an opportunity to take a headline case to court and make an example of someone. It's backfired on them."