Video Evidence Allowable, Rules Court

A woman who injured her back whilst working at a hospital in Tunbridge Wells has failed in her attempt to prevent covert video surveillance evidence being used by Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust in defence of her claim for loss of earnings resulting from her injury.

The woman worked as a cardiac physiologist at the Kent and Sussex Hospital. The case arose because, as she was transferring a patient from a trolley, she suffered a prolapsed disc in her back. After she brought a claim against the Trust, it admitted liability for her injury. She underwent surgery to rectify the damage, but claimed that continuing symptoms prevented her from going back to work.

A claim for loss of earnings was made, amounting to nearly £1.5 million. An expert in pain medicine examined the woman and wrote a report saying that he was concerned that her medical problems were not as severe as she made out and that she was 'grossly exaggerating for the purposes of financial gain'.

In the circumstances, the Trust put her under surveillance and made video recordings of her activities. Following this, it applied to the court to serve a defence to her claim on the basis that she 'consciously exaggerated the consequences of her accident'.

There followed a lengthy legal battle over whether or not the video evidence should be allowed to be used in court when assessing the amount of damages payable. The Trust has now prevailed.

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The use of video evidence obtained as a result of covert surveillance is becoming more common, especially where there are substantial claims based on injuries that are not clearly visible.

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