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Posted on 4th September 2017

Victims Of Negligence Under Surveillance

NHS Resolution are watching more than 50 medical negligence claimants every year in an attempt to reduce exaggerated claims and fraud.

The use of private detectives is up from 24 in 2013-14 to 55 in 2016-17.

The intelligence gathering exercise has helped reduce some exaggerated compensation pay-outs. In one specific case, a 42 year old woman was claiming £2.5m after the surgical procedure she had went wrong. Part of her claim for compensation was for daily activities that she could no longer perform.

Surveillance footage was used to show the judge that the claimant was able to undertake most daily activities. The judge ruled the claim was “in part dishonest and in part grossly exaggerated”. The claimant was awarded £115,000.

In another case where a NHS staff member was injured lifting a 16 stone patient, surveillance was used. The evidence led to a nine year battle in which the claimant was subjected to allegations of exaggeration and fraud but the judge cleared the claimant of all alleged dishonesty and awarded her a substantial amount running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

NHS Resolution found that in 23 of the 55 investigated cases, exaggeration was established.

The chief executive of the charity Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA) commented “This is outrageous. This is an invasion of the privacy of patients who have already suffered untold misery through negligent treatment”


Over exaggerating compensation claims for clinical negligence cannot be condoned but there are two aspects in assessing the value of a claim. General damages is assessed by a solicitor who acts on behalf of the claimant. Solicitors use the medical reports prepared by independent expert witnesses in calculating the general damages part of the claim.

Exaggeration of claims happens in the special damages part of a compensation claim where solicitors act on the information provided by the client. Solicitors will have a checklist of activities that the claimant may have performed in their normal day to day life and they will ask whether these tasks can still be performed either in part or at all.

The examples above clearly outline the steps NHS Resolution will take if they suspect exaggeration. When high value claims are submitted, we would expect more instances of surveillance to occur.

If you think that you have suffered an avoidable injury due to being misdiagnosed or if your condition has worsened due to a delay in diagnosis, you may have grounds to make a compensation claim. Contact us on 0330 355 9210 or for a free claim assessment.