With news of the latest fraudulent claims in the holiday industry, the importance of all parties in the claims industry of having effective deception detection techniques and culture is crucial. Finding someone to blame appears to encourage a section of the population to consider bringing a claim, sometimes legitimately, sometimes not. Fraudulent holiday sickness claims is likely to be a primarily seasonal challenge, but the veracity of other claims in the usual areas of traffic accident, medical care and work injury still present a challenge to lawyers, experts and the courts alike.
Inconsistency of evidence from different sources remains a key area for investigation – with access to GP and hospital records, occupational health records, multi-witness statements and the evidence from digital (mobile phone; Facebook) and CCTV sources supplementing the direct face-to-face interview data. The latter still exercises many commentators both in and outside the industry in terms of research and beliefs about how experts utilise their advanced communication skills of active listening, focused questioning and complex deception detection techniques – these face-to-face skills highlight how verbal and non-verbal behaviour can reveal untruthfulness to the experienced eye and ear.
An impartial and neutral perspective on claimant self-report often 6 – 24 months after an index event is that accurate recall can be compromised by many different factors and, of course, compounded significantly if the claimant has the intention to mislead. Lawyers, experts and the court generally have, in the UK, significant levels of skill (medical, psychological, legal) to ascertain what constitutes a robust and balanced opinion, typically as a result of using their advanced communication skills – these have been learnt in basic training, ongoing experience and continuing professional development.
Recent research has suggested that inviting a claimant to describe his/her experience backwards is so unsettling that an over-learnt and untruthful script teller trips up and reveals unreliable and unsupported information – I’m not sure if this will be a best seller technique but is interesting to consider! Writing this article backwards would have been one challenge too far for this (truthful) editorial writer. So I shall say hello at this stage and start my article.
Koch HCH, (2018. Telling it as it is: The impact of advanced communication skills. Modern Law Magazine. April 2018).