Lies, damned lies and outright fraudulent claims

Lies, damned lies and outright fraudulent claims

Honesty is the best policy. I received one of those lovely calls telling me that as a result of my entirely non-existent road traffic accident and my even less real whiplash injury that I was entitled to £3300, and all I needed to do was sign a few pieces of paper and be seen by a local doctor who would confirm my non-existent injuries. Of course I knew I had no injuries, and I had not had a crash. As the salesperson got a sniff that I was interested, the pressure started going on.

I was told about my entitlements, how people should be punished for their negligent driving ‘mate’, how it was basically free money and so on. It was persuasive stuff, delivered by a skilled salesman. All the tricks of his trade were there. I then told the salesman that I was a 20-year-qualified lawyer, and suggested that he might be encouraging me to make a fraudulent claim. The phone snapped off, unsurprisingly quickly.

But times are hard. £3300 could make a big difference to somebody who is struggling to meet their mortgage or rent. These are not tiny sums of money. I understand that desperate people, or just greedy and foolish people might be tempted. This cold call actively encouraged me to make up a claim. I know what would happen if I did, and we motorcyclists are particularly targeted by these claims farmers.

If you make a knowingly fraudulent claim or dishonestly exaggerate the level of your injuries then the courts are quick to send fraudulent injury claimants to prison. If you start along this path and then try and get off it, you will find yourself liable for not only the fees of the solicitor appointed by the claims management company (who might have actually encouraged you to make the claim) but also the solicitors for the insurers.

I deal with claims for some very badly injured people, and I believe almost all of them have undergone video surveillance. However I only ever see video surveillance about once every couple of years as I drum it into my clients that honesty is everything. Get caught out with one biggish lie or material exaggeration and the trial judge and defence lawyers will tear you to pieces.

One of my saddest cases was one where a youngish lad, old enough to know better, was actively encouraged to exaggerate his injuries by his father. I was a younger and much more naive lawyer. The video evidence arrived on the first day of the trial (any lawyers reading this will know this was a very long time ago) and my lad was shown to be a liar. Things which he had said he could not do, he was filmed doing. What could have been a substantial case disappeared in his own dishonesty.

Andrew Dalton

Bike Magazine November 2013

Nov 2013 Cover 200

Posted by Andrew Dalton. Posted on: October 23, 2013 at 12:00 am

Andrew Dalton is a highly experienced trial lawyer who delights in taking on difficult and demanding motorcycle cases. He has a tough and relentless litigation style and is utterly focused on getting the best possible outcomes for his clients.