Claimant said there were three passengers in his vehicle at the time of the crash, there was only one

A fraudster has had his claim dismissed after it was found that he lied about how many passengers were in his car.

He alleged that on 14 October 2015, an Aviva policyholder had reversed her BMW into his Vauxhall Vectra at a give-way junction. As a result, he sought damages for whiplash.

Aviva accepted liability for the collision but had concerns with the claimant’s allegation that he had three passengers in his vehicle when the accident happened. Aviva’s policyholder was adamant that there had only been one passenger in his car.

The claimant issued proceedings against Aviva’s policyholder in December 2016. His three alleged passengers submitted claims notifications forms to Aviva on the same day but they did not issue proceedings.

The trial judge said that, while the claimant had lied about how many passengers were in his car at the time, he had been injured as alleged and was therefore entitled to £4,400 in damages.

The judge refused to dismiss the claim under s57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act  2015 for being linked to ‘phantom passenger claims’. This was because the three passengers’ claims had remained pre-issue and therefore did not constitute ‘related claims’.

Aviva and DAC Beachcroft appealed this decision, and the appeal judge agreed.

Her Honour Judge Melissa Clarke dismissed the claim and ordered the claimant to pay Aviva’s costs of the entire action.

 She ruled that the definition of ‘related claim’ in s57(8) encompassed the pre-issue claims that had been submitted to Aviva.

Catherine Burt, head of Counter Fraud at DAC Beachcroft, said: “We are delighted with HHJ Clarke’s judgment. Had pre-issue claims been excluded from the definition of related claims this would have significantly diluted the impact of s57 CJCA 2015. This is precisely the type of claim the legislation was intended to address.”

Rob Lee, Aviva’s head of Casualty Claims, said: “Phantom passengers are seen as an easy way for fraudsters to increase the payout from a claim, so it’s great to see the Court take tough action. Bogus claims, such as this, only increase premiums for honest motorists and so we will continue to fight for justice.”