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Chronic fatigue sufferer wins income protection claim

A bank employee who had to give up his job because he suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome has won his claim that he was entitled to receive payments under an income protection insurance policy.

The court heard that the employee's payments were stopped after four years because the insurers believed that he had fabricated or exaggerated his disability.

It alleged that he had been caught out telling lies with respect to his condition and income. It also produced covert surveillance footage showing the employee riding a bike, going out in his car, shopping, attending his daughter's nativity play, and going to the pub.

The High Court heard evidence from the employee, his wife, mother and friends. It also heard from medical experts for both parties. It held that the central issue was whether the employee's more energetic activities were due to genuine fluctuations in the level of his symptoms or to inconsistencies arising from exaggeration.

The judge said he was not satisfied that the alleged discrepancies proved that the employee's evidence was dishonest.

It was improbable that his witnesses were victims of any persistent deceit on his part. Even the most cunning performer would struggle to fool all those people all the time. Although the employee's wife was not an independent witness, that did not make her a liar.

She was genuinely trying to avoid misleading the court even when she was under the clear temptation to advocate her husband's case. As for the other witnesses, the insurer was unable to point to any specific lies. They were doing their best to help the court despite their feelings of loyalty to the employee.

The surveillance evidence fell very far short of undermining the employee's case that he was telling the truth about his levels of disability.

The employee had not deliberately fabricated or exaggerated the extent of his disability. He was therefore entitled to judgment in respect of the payments which he had not received since September 2013 up to 26 July 2017 together with interest.

For further advice on any of the issues raised in this article, or for employment law advice more generally, please contact JPP Law on 020 3468 3064 or email info@jpplaw.co.uk

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