“Arrogant and argumentative but not a pathological liar” – bikie awarded $164K in CTP claim

Date: March 14, 2017


Mashaghati v Anderson & Allianz [2016] QDC 245

Key Point


On 1 May 2011 the plaintiff suffered multiple injuries including a lumbar spine, head, dental and psychological injuries when he hit a parked car whilst taking evasive action to avoid a collision.  Other than broken teeth, there was no clinical evidence such as medical imaging to corroborate any long term complaint.

As the trial judge put it, the insurer’s case was that the plaintiff was “a liar and convicted perjurer who has no credit and who has sustained a minor injury, exaggerating its effect to pay off debts to the Hell’s Angels”.  The defendant had a fair bit of ammunition including:

The Decision

Unfortunately for the insurer, the court found there was “insufficient evidence to draw an inference that the plaintiff had a predilection or motive to lie and even less so, that the plaintiff was dishonest in relation to this case”.  Further, that it was “too great a leap and speculative to tar the plaintiff with guilt by association”.

Despite the demonstrably untrue statement in relation to previous injuries in the claim form, his Honour found that much of the insurer’s attack on the plaintiff’s credit relied upon collateral matters.  While finding that the plaintiff’s credit was “diminished”, and that there was inaccurate reporting to medical practitioners, he found that he was not shown to be a “notorious” or “pathological” liar.

Given the insurer’s failure to fully erode the plaintiff’s credit, the court accepted the plaintiff’s medico-legal evidence including that of Dr Todman who despite accepting that neuropsychological tests were inconclusive, assessed a 10% impairment over the insurer’s medico-legal evidence which either concluded that the plaintiff did not have a permanent impairment or that the cause of his problems was multifactorial.  In the end the Plaintiff was awarded $164K in damages.

Lessons Learnt

As identified by the trial judge, the assessment of damages for personal injury depends to a very large extent on a plaintiff’s honest reporting of his or her symptoms.  As insurers are painfully aware, even in the case of invisible injuries it is exceedingly difficult to prove that a plaintiff is not telling the truth.

In this case the judge formed the view that the collateral evidence was too speculative to not accept the plaintiff’s evidence.  Particularly given the plaintiff appeared to treat the entire process with disrespect and materially lied in respect of the claim itself, we would respectfully ask the question whether there was any reason to believe the plaintiff.

We understand that this matter has recently been appealed and insurers would no doubt be hopeful of a more favourable result on appeal.  More to come.


For more information on this article, please contact:

Chris Murphy
T: +61 (0) 7 3307 5504


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