A claim arising from a low speed impact road traffic accident in Bexhill-on-Sea has become insurance law firm Horwich Farrelly’s 500th finding of fundamental dishonesty in six years.
The law firm has racked up a ratio of seven fundamental dishonesty findings per month since the term was first introduced under CPR 44.16 in 2013 and under Section 57 of the Criminal Courts and Justice Act 2015.
Horwich Farrelly’s 500th fundamental dishonesty finding came in the case of Yvonne Aziz, who was a passenger in a stationary vehicle that suffered minor damage after another car reversed into it from a parking space.
A contradiction between the damage caused to the stationary car and the injuries alleged by Aziz raised a red-flag for Horwich Farrelly’s fraud team and an investigation of the evidence was initiated.
Following a short trial at Hastings County Court earlier this month, Aziz’s claim was found fundamentally dishonest after providing an inconsistent account and relying on contradictory medical evidence.
She was found to have exaggerated her injuries for the purposes of dishonestly claiming compensation from Aviva, the insurer of the driver at fault. Aziz will now have to pay the legal costs of around £17,000 for pursuing her dishonest claim.
Jared Mallinson, a fraud partner at the Manchester-based firm, said: “Our experience of dealing with fraudulent insurance claims proves that there is no such thing as a typical fraudster. Opportunistic fraudsters can be anyone, of any age, from anywhere.”
“Here, the claimant exaggerated her injuries totally out of proportion to the low speed of, and the lack of any discernible damage to, the vehicles involved. It was a straightforward, small ‘bump’—one that occurs many times every day across the country—but she nevertheless claimed for injuries which she just could not have sustained and her dishonesty was apparent the minute questions were asked of her in court.”
Richard Hiscocks, director of casualty claims at Aviva, added: “Too often, a minor bump is used as an excuse to make an injury claim. So when our customers tell us they’ve been wrongly accused of causing injury in an accident, we listen. Not only do exaggerated and bogus claims put pressure on premiums for honest customers, but for the driver involved, they face the premium impact that a fault claim can have. Working with solicitors such as Horwich Farrelly, we defend our customers from those who might use a minor fault claim purely for their own financial gain.”
Horwich Farrelly recently warned insurers not to chase the easy positive PR that comes from settling claims early and appearing high on acceptance league tables.