Aviva Insurance Ltd v Aleksandar Kovacic: Video Surveillance and Contempt of Court
It is well known that surveillance evidence is frequently used by insurers in some injury claims. The aim is to show any difference between the alleged level of impairment/injury and the truth.
There are several consequences to the successful deployment of surveillance evidence that results in the discontinuance or settlement of claims, including: costs sanctions and the potential for contempt of court proceedings (pursuant to rule 32.14 of the Civil Procedure Rules which provides that “Proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against a person if he makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth”).
The case of AVIVA INSURANCE LTD v ALEKSANDAR KOVACIC  EWHC 2772 (QB) serves as a stark reminder that the insurers may take proceedings against a claimant for contempt of court in cases where video surveillance shows that they have made a false statement.
In this case the defendant in the contempt proceedings (who had the claimant in the injury claim) had sustained severe injuries in a road traffic accident in 2010. Liability was admitted, and in 2013 the claim was pleaded in excess of £1 million. The defendant maintained that he continued to struggle with a number of daily activities because of his injuries. However, the insurer obtained video surveillance evidence that showed he had consistently lied in his particulars of claim, witness statements and interviews with medical experts. The judge considered that the surveillance footage showed that the defendant had exaggerated his continuing disability (including his ability to walk, use of walking sticks, and ability to drive) and awarded him just £95,114. Following the award the insurers were granted permission to bring contempt proceedings and, after the court studied the surveillance, succeeded in proving twelve allegations of contempt to the required criminal standard of proof.