Judge Graham Wood QC in the Liverpool District Registry held 6 Defendants in contempt of Court following an application by Churchill Insurance in relation to a fraudulent claim for personal injury arising out of an allegedly staged car accident.
The 6 Defendants named in this application included the Claimant from the original action and occupants of both cars. It transpired that most of the Defendants knew each other, despite assertions to the contrary during the course of the action. The Claimant in the main action withdrew her claim the day before trial but the insurers, believing the accident to be staged and the claim to be fraudulent, obtained permission to bring committal proceedings.
That application was granted by Judge Graham Wood QC on the 10 December 2015 and was reported recently.
This case demonstrates the insurance industries on-going commitment to challenging fraudulent claims and sending a strong message to dishonest Claimants. The case also comes on the back of a recently publicised case in which Aviva successfully rejected claims by 46 passengers on a bus which was involved in a low speed collision with a fiesta.
Aviva claim that for every £1 it pays out in compensation for whiplash it spends another 80p to cover lawyers' fees and used this statistic to support the announcements made by George Osbourne in November's autumn statement.
Claimant Solicitors claim that insurers exaggerate the levels of fraud to support the reduction in the rights of legitimate claimants and it has been highlighted that Aviva's own figures suggest that it was investigating just 5% of claims it receives.
As long as the insurers follow a zero tolerance attitude to fraud and clamp down hard on those who are found to have been fraudulent then legitimate honest Claimants have nothing to fear.