Claims were worth £23,000 but AXA said it risked incurring an overall bill of £209,000 including legal costs

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A judge has thrown out a six-year-old fraudulent personal injury case after it was proven that four of the individuals who claimed they had been injured were never in the vehicle.

The fraudulent claims were worth a total of £23,000 and AXA said it risked incurring an overall bill of £209,000, including legal costs, in defending the claim.

But the insurer said when the credibility and consistency of the customer’s evidence were compared to the claimant’s continually changing evidence, it made the decision to challenge the claim in court.

Under cross examination, the claimants were found to be lying on several occasions with the judge commenting that the claimants’ credibility “was in tatters” by the end of the hearing, AXA added.

He found that the claimants had never been in the vehicle and awarded costs to AXA.

In November 2009, an AXA motor customer collided with another vehicle which resulted in five whiplash claims being submitted.

When the whiplash claims were scrutinised, the insurer discovered that there were significant inconsistencies between the identity of the claimants and the description of the four passengers at the scene provided by AXA’s customer.

The AXA customer described the passengers in the car as three Asian males aged 60, 40 and 20 and two younger, Caucasian females.

However, the individuals bringing the whiplash claims were a 41 year old male, the driver of the vehicle, a middle-aged woman and three teenagers, one male and two female. None of the claimants were Caucasian.

AXA Insurance head of commercial motor claims Colin Burgess said: “There were several elements of this claim that were suspect including the cause of the event itself, but the clear discrepancy in the eyewitness description of the passengers and the ultimate claimants provided a clear opportunity to fight these claims.

“It has taken six years to get to this stage as we repudiated the claim on several occasions but the claimants persisted in their attempt to commit fraud. If they had accepted one of those repudiations and not taken this to court, they would not now be facing the substantial costs awarded to us.

“It would have been easier and potentially more cost effective to pay these claims when the potential legal costs are taken into account but AXA will not let itself, or its customers, be defrauded. The public must understand that where we identify fraud, we will challenge it through every means at our disposal.”