ARE YOU SURE THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED? – RTA – NEGLIGENCE – FRAUD

colin_richmond By Colin Richmond

 

MOHAMMED ADRIS AZIZ v (1) ANSAR ALI (2) ESURE SERVICES LTD: ABDUL JAMIL v (1) SHERZAD SERWAN (2) LIVERPOOL VICTORIA INSURANCE SERVICES: (1) FARHANA KAZMI (2) SHAMILA SALEEM v (1) SHERZAD SERWAN (2) LIVERPOOL VICTORIA INSURANCE SERVICES LTD (2014)

[2014] EWHC 1846 (QB)

BACKGROUND

These claims arose from two alleged road traffic accidents which the Defendant insurers said had not actually taken place. There were four claimants altogether. The issue to be decided was, in essence, whether or not the two accidents had occurred as described by the claimants.

THE FACTS

In the first claim, X alleged that his moving vehicle was struck by another vehicle that pulled out from a side road. X stated that the driver of the other vehicle, Z, exchanged details and admitted liability.

X gave three different versions of how he had brought his claim and what he had done with his car following the accident. Expert evidence was obtained which stated that the damage to X’s car was not compatible with the accident circumstances that he described.

Separately, evidence was produced to show that insurance claims (one of which involved X) has been made in relation to five alleged accidents involving five different vehicles. The insurance polices of the five drivers alleged to have caused the accidents had been incepted shortly beforehand, with the same bank details used to pay for each of them.

In the second, third and fourth claims, J, K and S alleged that a vehicle had failed to stop at a give way and collided with their moving vehicle (driven by J), causing injury to each of them. K later gave evidence that the accident had not occurred and that the claims were simply set up as a way of obtaining money. Again, expert evidence was obtained which stated that the damage was incompatible with the alleged circumstances, demonstrating, as it did, that J’s vehicle had been stationary when it was hit.

THE DECISION

It was held that the first accident did not take place as described by X and the alleged negligence had not, therefore, occurred. The insurance evidence and the expert evidence regarding the vehicle damage gave further weight to that conclusion. X’s evidence had changed several times and the inference was that he was not telling the truth. It was not credible that the same bank account had been used to pay for five different policies for five different people.

In relation to the second accident it was held that the claimants had failed to establish that it had occurred as described and they had therefore failed to establish that the alleged negligence had occurred. The expert evidence made clear that the accident could not have occurred as described and the position was reinforced by K’s evidence.

All of the claims were dismissed.

IN CONCLUSION

There is probably very little to add here other than to say that these were clearly not the most sophisticated of frauds. Nonetheless, there will undoubtedly have been a significant amount of work put in by the insurers to secure the necessary evidence. It is perhaps interesting to note that none of the claimants were represented at trial (indeed some of them did not attend trial at all). It remains to be seen whether or not committal proceedings will follow

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