The All-Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court (ASSPIC) has sided with HF Scotland and Zurich in a legal proceeding as both have attained the disapplication of Qualified One-Way Costs Shifting (QOCS) protection due to fraudulent representation and manifestly unreasonable conduct by the pursuer.
The case, Natalia Musialowska v Zurich Insurance Plc, revolved around an incident where the pursuer acted as a passenger in a stationary vehicle within a line of traffic. Zurich’s insured individual was in the vehicle ahead and cautiously attempted a U-turn, realising the need to reverse as the manoeuvre couldn’t be completed. During this slow reversal, the vehicle in which the pursuer was a passenger moved forward, resulting in a minor collision.
After hearing accounts from the pursuer and her partner, the court reached several conclusions:
Given the unsatisfactory background, the court deemed both the pursuer and her partner as incredible and unreliable witnesses, leading to the failure of the claim. A motion was submitted to disapply QOCS and hold the pursuer responsible for legal costs, which was fully granted in a written decision from ASSPIC.
The court also labelled the pursuer as a “wholly incredible witness” and highlighted the fraudulent representation, citing significant issues with her evidence that surpassed the usual scenario of competing versions of events. The conduct was deemed manifestly unreasonable due to the pursuer’s premeditated decision to present false allegations.
“Zurich takes a very serious approach to responsibly detecting dishonest claims and defending our policyholders. I am delighted that the specialist personal injury court in Scotland has acknowledged that in the course of issuing a written decision disapplying QOCS protection in a fraudulent claim. The common-sense approach applied to the relevant legal tests should act as a clear deterrent for anyone tempted to rehearse a story to try and obtain damages,” Zurich head of claims fraud Scott Clayton said.
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