The Effect of Making a False Claim
The practice of applying for compensation has become considerably more frequent in recent years. This has, in great part, been attributed to the advent of 'no win no fee' arrangements, by which the applicant pays nothing in the event of an unsuccessful claim. This can seem like an attractive proposition; if you are confident of the validity of your compensation claim then this can offer some peace of mind, while it offer much needed security if yours is a borderline compensation claim of which you are unsure of the result. However, in no case should you consider making a false claim; while the number individuals with a false claim continues to fall, attempting to claim for something completely spurious not only places you at financial risk but also undermines public trust in the compensation system as a whole.
No Win No Fee
As a result of recent legislation, regulation of the no win no fee industry has been tightened. In the past, false claims were a fairly frequent problem; as there was perceived to be no financial risk, some unscrupulous individuals would take clearly false claims as far as the courts simply to 'try their luck'. This had disastrous consequences, particularly for some medical practitioners, with claims being made against doctors when there was, in fact, no negligence. As has been mentioned, regulation of the compensation industry has improved, and claim companies have introduced more rigorous standards by which to judge the cases that they will and will not take on. However, there are certain firms that offer to handle any claim. You should be wary of these organisations, particularly if you are considering pursuing what could be construed as a false claim.
Many claim companies insist that their clients take out insurance before they will take on a case. The implication is that there is some financial risk involved, and this is indeed the case. If it is judged that you are making a false claim, or that there is insufficient evidence to support your compensation claim, then you are likely to be liable for court costs. This means that you will be required to pay not only your own solicitor's fees, but also those of the defendant. Compensation cases can be lengthy, and these fees can be significant. Furthermore, it is common practice for organisations to counter-sue, either to deter the claimant from taking further action, or if they genuinely feel that there is no basis for the claim. As such, you may also find yourself liable for damages if it can be proven that the reputation of the defendant was tainted by the case. Similarly, the original defendant may choose to attempt to make a claim for income lost as a result of the time spent fighting the compensation claim.
If you are confident that you have a genuine claim then the legal system is there to help you pursue your case. However, the repercussions of a false claim can be significant, both for you and for the justice system at large. As such, individuals considering making a false claim should consider that it is in their best interests to take it no further.