A fitness fanatic mother is fighting an insurance company for a £2.2 million payout claiming a crash on the M25 left her with symptoms ‘that make her act drunk’.
Natasha Palmer, 31, claims she has been left with bizarre symptoms that play havoc with her focus and balance following a rear-end shunt on the orbital motorway back in 2014.
She says she cannot ‘walk in a straight line’, has ‘double vision’ and now regularly loses her temper.
Lawyers for the insurance company, though, claim she is lying about the ordeal and point to post-crash posts on social media appearing to show her vigorously exercising, travelling and socialising with friends.
They have accused the mother of being ‘fundamentally dishonest’ and exaggerating the impact of the crash.
Natasha Palmer pictured outside the High Court, where she is claiming £2.2 million from an insurance company following a crash on the M25 back in 2014
London’s High Court heard Ms Palmer, who once handled publicity at London’s Ministry of Sound nightclub and the Hippodrome Casino, has had her life and career wrecked by the 2014 collision.
Her lawyers say the incident has left her with vertigo, migraines, stuttering and double vision in addition to acute problems with memory and concentration.
Ms Palmer said: ‘Sometimes I can’t walk a straight line and people watching me might think I was inebriated.’
‘I am a lot more clumsy.
‘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.’
Walking around the house is a hazardous task, she added, as she often walks into a fridge and door, as well as suffering oven burns.
Ms Palmer told an examining doctor she was suffering pain ‘everywhere’ aside from her chest.
She also said she had to stop dancing, cycling and running and found it ‘hard to walk for more than 15 minutes’ despite having previously planned to run a marathon.
The Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company, which covered the driver who hit Ms Palmer, does not dispute liability for the crash.
However, they insist the claim is worth no more than £5,407.
The fitness fanatic mother says she cannot ‘walk in a straight line’, has ‘double vision’ and now regularly loses her temper
Charles Woodhouse, representing the insurers, said Ms Palmer had not suffered ‘any significant brain injury’, before adding she can still hold down a full-time job and continue to participate in sports she enjoyed prior to the crash.
He accepted the mother had suffered minor ‘soft-tissue and psychological injuries in the accident’, but claims this should have been resolved within five months.
Medical evidence suggests her ‘whiplash injuries’ would have caused pain for only a ‘finite period of times’, up to a maximum of six months, he added.
Mr Woodhouse argued that Ms Palmer is being ‘fundamentally dishonest’ and had exaggerated her disability as he highlighted extracts from her social media showing her exercising, travelling, socialising and attending gigs.
He said the social media posts ‘show Ms Palmer has been engaged in much more significant physical exercise than she admits in her witness statements – or to any of the medical experts’.
Ms Palmer’s barrister, Marcus Grant, said that any claim of dishonesty on her part were groundless.
He added that she had been entirely honest with doctors who examined her over the impact of the collision.
Ms Palmer said she was an intensely fit 26-year-old and had been training for a marathon, but now struggles to cope with serious exercise.
She told the court she had tried running and other forms of exercise to reduce the pain, including a 3km run and a 10km Bear Grylls event.
The mother also employed a personal trainer to strengthen her core muscles and went out dog walks most days for up to an hour, achieving a distance of up to a mile ‘on her good days’.
Mr Grant told the court the insurers had commissioned a secret video surveillance operation to track Ms Palmer’s movements in the hope of catching her our.
He said the footage added nothing to the case.
Ms Palmer’s lawyer added: ‘It is submitted that the 17 days’ of surveillance evidence collated between 2017 and 2019 corroborated the evidence of Ms Palmer and her witnesses about her restrictive lifestyle since the accident.
‘At almost all times on the surveillance, save when she was driving between her own home and her mother’s home and one trip to the local tanning centre, she was accompanied when she left the house, usually by her mother and on one occasion by her boyfriend and father.’
The hearing continues.