17th March, 2011

Gerard McDermott KC acts for critically injured man vindicated in fraud proceedings

A critically injured man today won his fight to retain compensation awarded 3 years ago against insurer Direct Line.

Mark Noble, 43, of Wareham, Dorset sustained life threatening and grievous injuries in an accident in September 2003.

The case was most unusual because after an earlier trial, an insurance company was accusing the injured party of lying about the extent of his injuries, as opposed to how they came about, judgment was handed down against Direct Line in favour of Mark Noble, which said "quote judgement tomorrow".

Mr Noble was awarded £3.4million damages by Mr Justice Field in March 2008 after motorist Martin Owens admitted liability for the September 2003 accident, in which Mr Noble was knocked off his motorcycle on the A336 in Hampshire.

Before the trial, Direct Line arranged video surveillance in an unsuccessful attempt to show Mr Noble was exaggerating his injuries. At the trial, they also attacked his credibility as a witness by accusing him of lying about various aspects of his claim.

In spite of these attacks, Mr Justice Field found that Mr Noble’s evidence as to the impact of the injuries on his daily life was truthful. The judge said Mr Noble, a builder by trade, could no longer work and needed daily care after a “severe and life-threatening” fracture to his pelvis left him with considerable pain, serious ongoing disabilities so that he was dependent on a wheelchair and crutches and developed a serious psychiatric disorder.

However, in the months following the judgment, Direct Line arranged fresh surveillance of him after it received information that Mr Noble was apparently not as seriously injured as he claimed. Relying on this evidence, and medical evidence said to be the only realistic interpretation of it, they forced the grievously injured Mr Noble to defend himself in a second trial in which they claimed Mr Noble had lied about the extent of original injuries. This too has now been judged to have had no basis and the original judgment has been confirmed.

His solicitor David Williams, from RWPS Law, said:

"After three uncertain and troubling years it is at last time for Mark Noble to get on with his life. Over a year ago the majority of his damages were frozen meaning that he was unable to put in place many of the arrangements he wanted to so that he could get on with his life following these devastating injuries. He and his partner have had to endure a second trial in which they were accused of lying but their account has been accepted and the challenge to the award rejected. . It is a victory of sorts for Mark's integrity to be vindicated but he will never have the life he had before the accident and the extra pain and suffering he has had to endure. This is a most unusual case which has taken considerable fortitude on the part of Mark and his partner to fight. We are naturally pleased that a just result has been achieved.”

Mark Noble said: "Not a day has passed in almost 8 years that I haven’t felt the effects of the accident. Direct Line's allegations that I have lied and profited from this tragedy are sickening. I lead a life of painkillers and antibiotics. My life and that of my family will never be the same again. I wake up never knowing how I will feel and what I will have to face.  Direct Line have made a tragedy more painful and extreme and I can't forgive them for what they have put me through. I try to make the best of every day and continue to work hard for a better quality of life. My legal team have worked tirelessly on my behalf and I would like to thank them together with all the doctors, family members and friends for all their help and support.” 

Read the full article at www.guardian.co.uk

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