£800,000 NHS personal injury claimant may be jailed

Posted Jul 10, 2018.
A man who was seeking over £800,000 in a medical negligence injury claim against an NHS Trust is facing a possible prison sentence following allegations of fraudulent exaggeration.  

The claimant, Mr Sandip Singh Atwal, was a taxi driver working in the family business in Huddersfield in West Yorkshire. In June 2008 he was injured in an attack that involved use of a baseball bat, resulting in injuries that included facial lacerations and two broken fingers. Mr Atwal, 33, was treated at the A&E department of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, and subsequently took legal action against Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, claiming that they had been negligent in treating his injuries properly. 

The trust offered £30,000 in settlement of the claim, but this offer was refused, with Mr Atwal claiming that as he was grossly incapacitated and unable to work, the settlement amount should be £837,000 to include compensation for future care and loss of earnings.

Following video and social media surveillance undertaken by solicitors on behalf of the trust in 2015, which revealed that Mr Atwal was in fact working as a courier and as a nightclub DJ, the trust put forward an allegation of fraudulent exaggeration, believed to the first time a health trust had applied for such a contempt of court action. Mr Atwal then decided to accept the original £30,000 offer made over five years before, but the sum was used in its entirety in covering the trust’s legal costs, resulting in Atwal actually owing them £5,000. 

High Court judge Mr Justice Spencer ruled that all 14 contempt of court allegations regarding false statements had been proved, with a final sentencing decision to follow subject to any application to set aside his findings.