Dorset

Insurer accused £3m payout man of lying about injuries

A Dorset man has been accused of defrauding an insurance company after they paid him more than £3m.

Mark Noble, 43, was awarded £3.4m after a road accident in 2003 which he claimed left him seriously disabled.

Insurer Direct Line said he lied about the extent of his injuries and has gone to the High Court in a bid to recover most of the money.

The firm said Mr Noble, from Wareham, who contests any deceit, was seen walking without crutches.

He was awarded the sum by Mr Justice Field in March 2008 after motorist Martin Owens admitted liability for the crash in September 2003, in which Mr Noble was knocked off his motorcycle on the A336 near Cadnam, Hampshire.

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 and a serious psychiatric disorder.

Arranged surveillance

However Direct Line later that year arranged surveillance of him after it received information that Mr Noble, who had said he had been left dependent on a wheelchair and crutches, was not as seriously injured as he claimed.

The case went to the Court of Appeal, which agreed it should be referred back to have the compensation re-examined and Mr Justice Field has granted a temporary injunction freezing the £2.25m already paid out.

The court heard from Andrew Hogarth QC for the insurers that Mr Noble and, by inference some of the witnesses who gave evidence for him, were "not truthful".

"We submit that the true position at trial was that Mr Noble was able to walk without crutches for quite extended periods of time and, contrary to what he had told the experts, he did not use the wheelchair when he was out of doors," he said.

He said the insurers had been alerted by neighbours, whose fields adjoined the land attached to the new home Mr Noble had bought with part of his damages.

Medical explanation

They had seen Mr Noble "apparently without any substantial disability, certainly not using crutches or a wheelchair".

Mr Hogarth said Mr Noble claimed that the video evidence was obtained by trespassing on his land and had been edited to exclude parts which showed him using crutches or a wheelchair.

Adding that the entire nine hours of surveillance was carried out from locations outside Mr Noble's property over four months, he asked the court to conclude that the original judgment was obtained as a result of "dishonesty".

Mr Hogarth said that the video, which included footage of Mr Noble working on the roof of his garage, clearly showed that he was in a considerably better state than his evidence in early 2008 suggested.

He said the court would have to consider whether there was a medical explanation for Mr Noble's improvement between early and late 2008.

The hearing is expected to last six days.

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