Woman wins £1.7m after Instagram posts accused her of lying about disabilities

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Natasha Palmer, 34, was charged with misleading the court after her Instagram posts painted a positive picture of her traveling and enjoying sports.

Natasha Palmer, who claimed £2.2 million in damages after a road detour, outside the High Court in London
Natasha Palmer, who claimed £2.2 million in damages after a road detour, outside the High Court in London

A media executive was awarded £1.67m after “glowing” Instagram posts about her “positive and exciting” life led to her being charged in court with lying about her disability.

Natasha Palmer, 34, suffered a brain injury after a drunk driver crashed into the rear of her Renault Clio at high speed on the M25 in 2014.

She was left disabled and unable to work due to severe migraines, poor memory and concentration, sensitivity to light and anxiety, as well as dizziness that she described to a doctor as making her “walk like she was drunk.”

But after she sued the other driver, Seferif Mantas, her insurance company accused her of “fundamental dishonesty” and exaggerating her problems.

Lawyers for Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Ltd brought “over seven hundred pages of social media posts uploaded by the claimant to her Instagram account” to the High Court.

They claimed that the posts, which showed her enjoying skiing and vacations in India, attending music events and completing sporting challenges, including a Bear Grylls 10km steeplechase, proved she had been lying about the effects of the accident.

Insurance company Liverpool Victoria Ltd.
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Image:

Geoffrey Swaine/REX/Shutterstock)

But judge Anthony Metzer QC has now awarded him a massive compensation payment after agreeing that his Instagram posts “didn’t present the full picture as it would tend to put a positive shine on how he was doing because he wanted to get more likes.” . .”

“Social media tends to paint a bright picture of the cartel’s life,” he commented, awarding him £1,679,406 in damages.

The court heard that Ms Palmer suffered brain damage, as well as damage to her neck, chest, back and ribs.

it was said that he was left with a disjointed memory after the accident, while his car, which had been an 18th birthday present, was written off.

Seferif Mantas was later convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Solicitors for Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Ltd accepted liability but strongly disputed the extent of Ms Palmer’s claimed injuries, charging her with “fundamental dishonesty” in exaggerating her case.

Although he claimed damages of more than £2m for injuries he said ruined his career, defense lawyers said his case was worth just £5,407.

Lawyers for Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Ltd disputed the extent of the injuries claimed by Ms Palmer.
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Image:

Geoffrey Swaine/REX/Shutterstock)

Ms. Palmer, a once very fit athlete and skier, faced claims that she had lied about the accident’s impact on her life and that her Instagram posts proved it.

The insurer’s attorney, Charles Woodhouse, claimed that her posts showed that Ms. Palmer had engaged in “far more significant physical exercise than she admits in her witness statements or to any of the medical experts.”

He added: “Ms Palmer’s social media posts also show her attending music and other events with large numbers of people and noise.

In addition, he noted that she had also gone on a trip to India four months after her accident and had gone on a skiing vacation in the Rocky Mountains in February 2016.

The judge said: “It is certainly clear that some of the images portrayed on social media of the plaintiff beg for an explanation.”

But he continued, “In determining how much trust to place in those social media posts…social media tends to paint a bright picture of cartel life.”

The plaintiff repeatedly denied that she had intended to mislead anyone, the court heard.

“She described her social media posts as a snapshot of what you want people to see, the bright and exciting side of your life, not the day-to-day struggles,” the judge said.

“It was…important to the identity of the claimant that his friends or other people saw him doing normal things.”

The judge considered that she was not being dishonest about her sports activity being seriously affected, despite the images she published.

“She had always been competitive, she had been a sports captain, she had been in competitions and she had skied,” he said.

The sporting activity he did afterward and posted about was “relaxing” by comparison, he continued, noting that it took him three hours and 40 minutes to finish the Bear Grylls event with “an easy jog” and missed several obstacles.

“I found the plaintiff to be an honest, helpful, impressive and worthy witness in her own case.

“I find that the substantial number of symptoms the claimant now has arose from the beginning of the accident and were caused or substantially contributed to by it.”

It concluded that Ms Palmer, who previously worked in media and marketing for the Ministry of Sound nightclub and the Hippodrome Casino, would have progressed in her career to become a marketing manager at a salary of £75,000 a year if It wouldn’t have been for the accident.

He handed her £1.2m for future lost earnings as part of her £1.67m payout.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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