The latest from Clyde & Co;
A worker in a meat processing plant who tried to claim over £100,000 for an injury with a knife will have to pay his employer £20,000 after a judge ruled he had been ‘fundamentally dishonest’. 26-year-old Ramis Cjapi from Romford – of Albanian descent – had, according to HHJ Lethem at Central London County Court, ‘engaged in a systemic attempt to mislead the Court’.
Mr Cjapi accidentally cut himself with a knife while working in a meat processing plant in Brentwood, Essex in 2017. He claimed the injury was so severe it ‘destroyed his life’ to the extent that he could not pay his rent and could barely afford to buy food. His employer did accept liability for the accident.
However, Aviva, the insurance company representing the meat processing plant, became aware that Mr Cjapi’s recovery was taking much longer than was usual for this type of injury. Investigators working for Aviva’s law firm Clyde & Co found that Mr Cjapi’s social media showed him to be living an apparently normal life, socialising and taking trips to Italy. Mr Cjapi posted photographs of himself swimming, taking driving lessons and cycling.
During the trial, Mr Cjapi claimed that most of the social media images were taken prior to the accident, however this was inconsistent with his witness evidence.
Mr Cjapi also admitted to being employed by another abattoir during the period when he said he could not work due to his injury.
Although he was initially diagnosed with PTSD, Mr Cjapi’s psychological expert subsequently changed his mind and agreed with Aviva’s witness that Mr Cjapi had no psychological injury at all.
HHJ Lethem said: “I conclude Mr Cjapi made a conscious attempt to hide from the court and the defendant the level of income he was receiving, and his lifestyle did not reflect that advanced in his witness statement. Mr Cjapi knew the truth and deliberately suppressed it.”
Damian Rourke, partner with law firm Clyde & Co that investigated the case, said: “While working as a butcher, Mr Cjapi injured himself – but then greed got the better of him. He lied about his injuries in an attempt to make more money but now that he’s been found out, he’s the one who’s going to pay.”
“What opportunists like Mr Cjapi don’t realise is that the moment you start making serious exaggerations in an insurance claim, a court can dismiss the entire action, even if there was a real injury.”
Rob Lee, Fraud Prevention Director at Aviva, said, “Insurance is there to compensate those who suffer legitimate injuries, such as that sustained by Mr Cjapi. However, by lying to his employer and to Aviva, Mr Cjapi not only lost the benefit of the compensation to which he was entitled, but he now must pay his employer’s court costs which total £20,000.
“We sincerely hope that anyone thinking about exaggerating or lying about their injury will learn what Mr Cjapi has learned the hard way: that insurers are not soft targets, and we will not tolerate opportunistic claims which push up the cost of insurance for everyone.”
The hearing took place in the Central London County Court on 1 April.