AN insurance company sent private detectives after a Huddersfield woman who was badly hurt in a crash.
But a court has decided that the grandmother who was badly injured when her car was hit by a lorry should get £1.7m in compensation after a High Court battle.
Slava Josefine Davies, 63, of Almondbury, was accused of “deliberately exaggerating” the injuries she suffered in the 2005 smash – and had private investigators put on her tail by the insurance company faced with paying her compensation.
Two DVDs of footage showing her shopping and driving her car were shot by private eyes.
But yesterday Top judge Mr Justice Wilkie ruled in her favour at London’s High Court and awarded her £1,765,584 in compensation.
He said all the DVDs had proved was that she “psychologically fights” to do as much as she can for herself and to minimise her disabilities.
Mrs Davies, of Somerset Road, was driving her BMW on the rural B6451 road in North Yorkshire in April 2005, when her vehicle was struck from behind by a tipper truck and smashed into a drystone wall.
She was on her back in hospital for three weeks after the crash and she was unable to even bend one leg until five weeks later.
She was in hospital for four months and has been left with weakness in her lower limbs and a lack of strength and dexterity in her hands.
It means she can only walk short distances and has had to move to a more accessible home. She has also had to hire a live-in personal assistant to help her with everyday tasks.
The court heard she cannot play with, or even pick up, her grandchildren. Simple tasks such as peeling a banana, changing a pillow case or loading small items into a washing machine cause her great difficulty.
Art work used to be an important part of Mrs Davies’ life, but her injuries have left her unable to pursue the hobby.
Before the crash, she was the boss of a home care business. She still works, but is unable to do the hours or range of tasks that she used to.
However, it was alleged during the week-long hearing that Mrs Davies had “underplayed” what she was able to do for herself.
Motor insurers for tipper truck driver Craig Bradshaw, of Summerbridge, near Harrogate, and his employer, Hansons Franchisee, also of Summerbridge, admitted their liability to pay Mrs Davies for her injuries.
But they disputed the amount the payout should be and hired private detectives to secretly gather video evidence that she was exaggerating her disability.
However, Mr Justice Wilkie rejected their claims.
He said: “She is determined to do what she can and she can do certain things competently, such as driving and walking short distances unaided. I do not accept the contention of deliberate deceit.”