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Our Insurance Litigation team recently defended a fraudulent claim where there were concerns about liability, and we also suspected low-velocity impact, phantom passengers and significant exaggeration fraud by the claimants.

The defendant was stationary in a supermarket drop-off/collection area, having just dropped off a fare-paying passenger, and was loading his navigation system ready for his next job.

The claimant came from behind the defendant and drove into the rear of the defendant’s vehicle at low speed.

This was a minor collision, and there was little to damage to either of the cars.

The defendant checked the claimant’s vehicle and noted that there were no passengers inside.

However, four claims were subsequently presented from alleged occupants of the claimant’s car at the time of the incident, all of whom stated that the defendant had reversed into another vehicle.

Two of these passengers went on to issue their claims on the cusp of limitation, and claimed severe injuries, alleging that the incident resulted in long-term psychological problems and huge future losses. Their claims included approximately £50k for future care, Smith -v- Manchester compensation, driving lessons and cognitive behavioural therapy treatments.

Between the two claimants, they were pursuing a combined claim of approximately £160k, with their combined costs budgets totalling around £140k.

We filed robust defences for both claims and had them consolidated into one set of proceedings.

The claimants increased the value of their claims to £80k each, to include exaggerated specials, consisting of future loss of earnings and Smith -v- Manchester compensation.

We made an application to strike out the specials and obtained unless orders due to the claimants’ failure to comply with directions. This included an order that declared the claimants were debarred from recovering their medical expert costs, comprising of GPs, orthopaedics and psychological experts. The second claimant complied, but the first claimant did not, and her specials were effectively ‘knocked out’. We were awarded a total of £6.2k costs from the two claimants in respect of our application.

The second claimant disclosed copious medical records from various medical institutions, revealing long-standing and pre-existing injuries, with little to no mention of the alleged accident-related injuries. We put these findings to the claimants’ solicitors and made it clear that we would be seeking a finding of fundamental dishonesty at trial and, due to the value, that we would take further action afterwards, including but not limited to committal proceedings.

Both claimants discontinued shortly before a three-day trial was listed.

Rehana Ahmed, a solicitor in our Insurance Litigation team, commented on this case:

“When damages and costs are so high, it can be nerve-wracking to defend these cases at trial. However, when the evidence is so overwhelming, we have to push back to defeat these fraudulent claims.”

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