An appeal court ruling has confirmed that trial judges don’t have to confirm that fraud has taken place in order to dismiss a claim.
Two claimants seeking over £25,000 in damages had their claim dismissed today by the Court of Appeal as they failed to prove the accident had occurred as they alleged.
The claimant driver, Mr Rizan, and his passenger, Mr Rilshad, had stated the collision had occurred when Allianz’s policyholder, Mr Hayes, had driven his van into them as long ago as 2008 in Slough and they had sustained injuries as a result.
Suspecting a staged accident, Allianz, advised by the motor fraud team at DAC Beachcroft, had pleaded fraud and argued in court that the accident was not genuine.
The claimants said they had been moving at 30-40mph at the time of the collision. But expert engineering evidence, found that the claimant’s vehicle must have been stationary on impact. Allianz claimed the collision was staged or contrived.
The trial judge ruled out the claim. When pressed to say whether he positively found fraud he said “if it were necessary to do so, which it isn’t, I would find that this was a fraudulent claim.”
The claimants appealed the ruling, arguing that the trial judge either had to expressly make a finding of fraud or find that an accident had happened and award damages.
However, the court of appeal ruled that it was not for the defendant or the courts to explain how the damage occurred: that was the duty of the claimants. The appeal court said a finding of fraud is unnecessary: the claimant has to prove their claim or it fails.
Tony Newman, head of motor claims, Allianz Insurance, said: “This is a really significant and helpful decision. This is a victory for the motor insurance customer. Anyone who sees motor insurance as a means to turn a quick buck needs to rethink.”