Claimant to pay £40,000 in costs after court throws out case

Motor insurer Admiral has won a key victory in the battle against phoney whiplash claimants.

In Thacker v Akers, heard recently at Nottingham county court, the claimant's demand was thrown out of court and he was left with a bill for costs for about £40,000.

The accident took place in May 2003 when Thacker, who was insured with Admiral subsidiary Bell, said his foot slipped off his car's brake and "nudged into" the car in front, driven by Akers.

Akers subsequently tried to demand some £6,500 in compensation for vehicle damage and whiplash injury. He also sent a repair bill for £1,200, although Admiral's engineers found only a minor scrape and put the cost of the damage at £548, which was paid.

Akers submitted a report from an orthopaedic surgeon which stated his symptoms from the whiplash injury would continue for the next two years.

Admiral's liability manager, Chris Bolitho said: "This was a low impact accident and we felt, since it happened at walking pace, there were inconsistencies with the amount being claimed."

Bolitho said Admiral's case was helped by the Kearsley v Klarfeld case which was heard recently in the Court of Appeal. The insurer won this case without having to accuse the claimant of fraud, but instead focused on "inconsistencies".

Bolitho added: "You have to pick the right case - and it would have cost us a lot if we'd lost. But, it was a good result for us and the judge made a tough, but fair decision. At the end of the day, we are there to pay for those who are genuinely injured."

It is estimated that each year whiplash costs the UK insurance industry up to £1.6bn. However, it is difficult to prove and often does not show up on an X-ray.