Natasha Palmer 31, says a rear-end shunt has played havoc with her focus and balance, meaning she sometimes ‘can’t walk in a straight line and people watching me might think I was inebriated’
A mum who is fighting for a £2.2 million payout after claiming a road crash left her with symptoms which make her act like she is drunk has been branded a liar by the insurance company – who think her claim is worth just £5,000, a court heard.
Natasha Palmer 31, says a rear-end shunt in her car has played havoc with her focus and balance, meaning she sometimes “can’t walk in a straight line and people watching me might think I was inebriated”.
As a result of the 2014 accident she wants millions, but The Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Ltd, who covered the driver who hit Ms Palmer, despite not disputing liability for the crash, insist Ms Palmer’s claim is worth no more than £5,407.
As well as being so “clumsy” she walks into doors and household objects, Ms Palmer also has “double vision” and loses her temper, “lashing out” at people, London’s High Court heard.
The former marketing executive says her career has been wrecked and that she has gone from training for a marathon to struggling to run, cycle or to dance.
But lawyers for motor insurers claim she is lying and that her claims are undermined by post-accident social media posts which show her doing vigorous exercise, travelling, socialising with friends and attending gigs.
Judge Anthony Metzer QC heard lawyers for Ms Palmer, who once handled publicity at London’s Ministry of Sound nightclub and later at the Hippodrome Casino, say her life and career have been wrecked by the 2014 accident.
The rear-end “shunt” accident happened on the M25 seven years ago, leaving her with vertigo, migraines, stuttering and double vision – as well as acute problems with memory and concentration, the court heard.
“Sometimes I can’t walk a straight line and people watching me might think I was inebriated,” Ms Palmer said.
Even walking around the house is hazardous, she told the court, leading to her walking into a fridge and door, and also suffering oven burns.
“I am a lot more clumsy,” explained the mum.
“My mum is my carer. I get very stressed out by change. I get road rage as well as anger. I’ve lashed out at people. I’ve lost my friends because I can’t keep in touch on the phone.”
She told an examining doctor that, apart from her chest, she “hurt everywhere else” and “had stopped dancing cycling and running” and found it “hard to walk for more than 15 minutes.”
Charles Woodhouse – for the insurers – argued that Ms Palmer did not suffer “any or any significant brain injury”, insisting that she can still hold down a full-time job and continue with the sports she previously enjoyed.
He accepted that Ms Palmer sustained minor “soft-tissue and psychological injuries in the accident,” but claimed they should have resolved within five months.
The medical evidence suggested that her “whiplash injuries” would have caused pain for a “finite period of time” – six months at the most, he said.
Despite Ms Palmer’s claims that she “lost her spark” and became socially isolated, the barrister highlighted extracts from her social media allegedly showing her doing vigorous exercise, travelling, socialising and attending gigs.
The insurer argues that Ms Palmer has been “fundamentally dishonest” due to “her exaggeration of her disability.”
But Ms Palmer’s barrister, Marcus Grant, said the dishonestly claims were groundless, adding that she had been entirely honest with doctors who examined her over the effects of her accident.
Ms Palmer said she online posts of her engaging in exercise are merely her attempt to re-engage with sport.
The hearing continues.