Invisible illnesses, such as fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions, are unfairly susceptible to what is known in the legal industry as ‘fundamental dishonesty’. This is when a claimant is found by the court to have been dishonest, or at least to have been economical with the truth, in relation to part of their claim. It can be difficult to prove the impact fibromyalgia has on an individual as every case is different, and in personal injury cases the symptom’s claimants report to experts is often the only thing to be relied on.
This is why it is it is imperative that you have expert and specialist solicitors on your side as soon as possible, who understand your condition and how to prove it.
Brian Barr Solicitors recently successfully defended a claimant who was accused of serious and significant allegations of fundamental dishonesty. Our client, Ms K, was involved in a road traffic accident whereby the defendant drove into the back of her car. She developed persistent aching in her neck, shoulders and back and in the months following the accident her symptoms became more widespread and she was subsequently diagnosed with fibromyalgia which was triggered by the accident. This resulted in Ms K being unable to continue with her current job. She subsequently decided to take a new career path and retrained as a beautician in order to become self-employed, allowing her to manage her own work time in light of her condition, whilst at the same time earning a living.
The defendant admitted that the car accident was caused by his negligence. However, not only did the Defendant argue that the fibromyalgia was not linked to the accident, the Defendant then (wrongly) accused our client of fabricating the truth regarding her ability to work and the extent of her disability. The Defendant attempted to use hundreds of pages of social media, including countless social media posts, in order to discredit the claimant.
To make matters even worse, the Defendant threatened to report the Claimant to the DWP as she was in receipt of disability benefits. The Defendant accused our client of being dishonest with her benefits as well.
A finding of fundamental dishonesty could have left our client with thousands of pounds to pay back in benefits and a six-figure sum in legal fees to the defendant. However, as experts in this area, Brian Barr Solicitors were able to prove that Ms K was indeed telling the truth and subsequently secured our client £200,000 in damages in a complete turnaround. We were able to show that the Claimant was indeed honest in her representation.
Fundamental Dishonesty is a big risk in claims involving chronic pain. Therefore it is imperative that you have a solicitor who really understands the condition, has access to the appropriate specialist medical experts, and is experienced in this area not only to prove your case but to defend you against unfounded accusations of dishonesty.