Sunderland man who made 'fundamentally dishonest' £4,500 personal injury claim against council hit with huge legal bill

Sunderland City Council was awarded legal costs in the case.
Sunderland City Council was awarded legal costs in the case.

Sunderland residents who make dishonest injury claims against the council have been warned they could be hit in the pocket after one man was slapped with an £8,500 legal bill.

The man had lodged a £4,500 personal injury claim against Sunderland City Council stating he had injured his ankle in Bognor Street, Castletown, back in September 2014.

Coun Paul Stewart

Coun Paul Stewart

His claim was heard at Sunderland County Court earlier this month by District Judge Howard who, following cross-examination, found the man had lied while giving his evidence, had given an embellished version of events, and that the claim was "fundamentally dishonest".

The man was ordered to pay £8,512 of costs to the council within 14 days.

Sunderland City Council's Cabinet Secretary, Coun Paul Stewart, said: "The council deals diligently and robustly with all claims made against it. If discrepancies are found then the council will and does act in the interests of the public purse.

"It is not acceptable for anybody to think that they can make up a false claim and then expect council tax payers to pay up. All insurance claims made against the council are thoroughly investigated and if we find discrepancies these can be used as evidence in court.

"This is public money, council takes all claims against it very seriously and those who submit dishonest claims can end up paying all the council’s costs.

"A case like this shows how expensive it can be trying to defraud the council and the city's council tax payers.

"The council is determined to pursue its costs in this matter."