A security guard injured in the course of his work won almost £300,000 in damages as a result of his lawyers’ pioneering use of surveillance video.
The man, a cash-in-transit security officer who does not want to be named, hurt his hand in a drum in 2005 and soon developed complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). This rare, chronic condition is marked by intense burning or aching pain, and sometimes swelling and hypersensitivity, and often follows an injury.
In 2006, his firm captured him on video polishing his car with his injured right hand on two separate occasions and driving, although he had claimed that he did not drive. They alleged that he had made a full recovery and exaggerated his injuries, and offered him £12,700 to settle his case against them.
His union lawyers urged him to accept the offer, but he instead engaged Brian Barr Solicitors, who obtained the footage and subjected it to careful analysis.
The claimant, it emerged, was only captured polishing the car for 13 minutes, not two-and-a-half hours as claimed. Even while he was using his right hand, it was functioning abnormally. There was also extensive video the same day showing him using his non-dominant, left hand.
Brian Barr extracted the relevant clips onto a separate DVD, and the case went to trial in 2009.
In his judgment for the claimant, the judge said that the clip collection had been crucial.
“I have spent several hours reviewing these videos and the frame by frame action in the DVD selections. I cannot persuade myself that the claimant demonstrates anywhere near normal function.”
He found in his favour on every count and awarded him £360,000 – reduced to just under £300,000 due to an agreement between the parties on liability.
“I owe everything to Brian Barr Solicitors,” said the claimant. “I was going nowhere with the previous Union solicitors as they tried to get me to settle for a ridiculously low amount. I believe that if it was not for Brian Barr I would never have achieved the result that I obtained.”
He noted that the firm had also realised that the GP notes and Pain Clinic records used by the union lawyers were out of date, and managed to show that he was receiving physiotherapy and Pain Clinic treatment during the relevant period. This was crucial in obtaining supportive evidence from the pain consultant during the trial.
“This was a really good outcome on a case that was in dire straights when we took it over,” said Brian Barr. “Our client was clearly an honest and decent individual and we were proud to help bring about an outcome which gave him back his self-respect.”