Newcastle-based foster carer Shirley Paxton submitted bodily injury claim to Covéa


A woman has been handed a four-month custodial sentence for contempt of court for submitting a false bodily injury claim to Covéa Insurance.

The defendant claimed she was pestered into making the claim by “a number of telephone calls and text messages”.

Shirley Paxton, a foster carer from the Walker area of Newcastle upon Tyne, was handed the sentence, which is suspended for one year, at Newcastle Crown Court on 1 July.

Paxton submitted a bodily injury claim after her vehicle was hit by a Covéa policyholder. But she withdrew it at the last minute when evidence was disclosed showing that she could not have been injured as she was not in her vehicle when it was hit.

Paxton admitted in court that she had lied about her injuries, but it was accepted that she had been pressured into making the claim.

Her witness statement from 14 September 2014 read: “I only made the claim after I had been pestered by a number of telephone calls and text messages asking me to bring a claim for personal injuries in respect of the accident on 25 February 2011.”

She pleaded guilty to contempt.

Covéa believes this is not an isolated case, and wants to raise awareness of the consequences of submitting false claims as a result of being pressured by claims management activity.

The sentence closely follows the government’s pledge to review the regulation of claims management companies.

Covéa claims director Adrian Furness said: “Road accidents are being ‘sold’ as an opportunity to make easy money and we see many examples of firms using hard sell tactics that tempt individuals into making claims with little regard for whether or not there was a genuine injury.

“This behaviour is damaging to people’s lives, it’s damaging to the reputation of our industry and it pushes up insurance premiums for everyone.”

The insurer’s head of financial crime Steve Jackson added: “Claims management companies and legal firms are spending millions of pounds on advertising and using hard sell tactics which we know often prey on the most vulnerable in society, possibly luring people into thinking it’s ok to make a false injury claim.

“We believe it’s important to publicise cases like this to make people aware of the very serious consequences of making a fraudulent claim.