Claimant and accident management company ordered to pay exemplary damages
Esure has been awarded exemplary damages of £67,250 in a victory against a fraudulent claimant and an accident management company.
The damages were awarded after the claimant falsely presented a claim for total losses of £51,451.12, including over £42,000 in hire costs following a road traffic accident (RTA).
Keoghs, acting on behalf of Esure, discovered the fraud when an invoice for repairs to the damaged vehicle was found to not have originated from the garage named on the bill.
After contacting the claimant for an explanation regarding the invoice, the accident management company handling the claim visited the garage where the invoice was said to have come from, and presented the owner with a typed statement saying that he did recall repairing the vehicle.
After refusing to sign this statement, the garage owner was subjected to further harassment and intimidation over a period of time.
It was later admitted, after Keoghs started court proceedings against the claimant and the accident management company, that the invoice was created by the accident management company, not the garage owner.
Court proceedings also revealed that the claimant had lied about the type of hire car she received and the recovery of her vehicle following the accident.
The judge hearing the proceedings said it was “hard to imagine a more serious case”.
The claimant was ordered to pay exemplay damages of £7,250 and the accident management company £60,000.
Keoghs credit hire technical director Melanie Mooney said: “This case clearly demonstrates how one phone call can unravel a whole case. It is difficult to understand the claimant’s and the accident management company’s actions in continuing to assert something which was clearly not true. With the assistance of our insurer client, justice has been done and has been seen to be done”
Esure fraud operations manager Andrew Nixon said: “In investigating and taking action against fraud, we will always consider the range of sanction actions available to us. Working in close collaboration with Keoghs, in this case, we believed that a tort of deceit was the most appropriate and effective option. This is an excellent result demonstrating how punitive financial penalties hitting the pockets of the dishonest can be used in the fight against claims fraud.”