Allianz and BLM found contradictory evidence to a claim where a fraudster said she suffered from severe pain
A fraudster has been found guilty of fundamental dishonesty and has been ordered to pay costs of £4,800 after claiming on a road traffic accident.
Law firm BLM, working with Allianz Insurance won the claim against Paulina Cieluszek after postsshe made on social media conflicted with the evidence she provided to support the claim.
Cieluszek claimed to have suffered from severe pain as a result of the accident which occurred in December 2016, but during cross examination, Allianz and BLM found she had been fundamentally dishonest when evidence of her social media activity was presented, painting a very different story of her mobility during the prognosis period.
She alleged that she had sustained personal injuries as a result of being a passenger in the vehicle involved in the accident, and submitted a personal injury claim against Allianz.
Her claims included: experiencing constant pain for nearly five months and taking painkillers to manage the discomfort, over a year of pain reported for her shoulder and neck which impacted her day-to-day life from lifting, brushing her hair to halting her daily fitness regime when previously she trained for three hours a day.
However, did not seek medical treatment which rang alarm bells for Laura Twist, the BLM lawyer instructed by Allianz to investigate the claim.
BLM conducted an in-depth investigation into Paulina’s social media accounts where further discrepancies were identified.
BLM discovered that Paulina had posted a variety of activities on her social media accounts when she had claimed to be suffering from pain that impacted her day-to-day life.
She shared social media updates in respect of her snowboarding and scuba-diving activities, all undertaken during her claimed prognosis period.
Also, Paulina delayed for almost two years before submitting her claim to Allianz and later stated that the delay was due to feeling vulnerable and fear but that she wanted justice. BLM and Allianz said they took a “robust approach to defending this claim,” requiring Paulina to attend trial and prove her claim.
Paulina’s claims were not only dismissed but she was found to have been fundamentally dishonest after her explanations did not make sense resulting in the court not believing she was not injured as she indicated from the accident. Ironically, Paulina’s desire for justice was met, although not as she envisaged.
Commenting on the finding, BLM solicitor Laura Twist said: “This was a really interesting case as there was only one possible interpretation of the facts once we had the posts from the claimant’s social media accounts which is not always possible when trying to determine fundamental dishonesty. We live in a digital world where people document life events often with great detail. Paulina failed to understand that the level of detail she published publicly would be scrutinised in court against her claims. Ultimately she sabotaged her claim through her own testimony.
“This is a great example of BLM’s collaboration in action with Allianz in the continuing fight against fraudsters. The decision should act as a clear deterrent against submitting exaggerated personal injury claims because not only will they not be unable recover any expenses but more likely end up with a hefty costs order against them.”
Fraud manager, Nick Kelsall from Allianz Insurance added: “This case highlights how naïve some people can be when it comes to posting activity on their social media accounts. This ruling shows how serious the courts will take any level of fraudulent activity and will not hesitate in punishing fraudsters. We will continue to work together with law specialists, such as BLM to ensure that we robustly investigate and defend any claims that are dishonest.”