Don’t Over-Egg the Pudding

3rd Dec 2014

Many years ago I worked in defendant personal injury, with particular focus on serious injury claims. When somebody has been seriously injured in a road traffic accident, it is hard to think there are people employed to minimise the amount of compensation you should receive. However, it is important to realise there are, unfortunately, people who try to defraud insurers by making their injuries appear much worse than they are.

This is similar to what you sometimes see in the news, where individuals have been found guilty of benefit fraud, and are claiming thousands in incapacity benefits for being unable to walk etc, but are then caught playing football or jogging in the street. Unfortunately, this also happens in personal injury claims and insurers are using an increasing number of measures to catch people out. And quite rightly so. No personal injury solicitor, or any solicitor for that matter, wants clients who exaggerate.

One case comes to mind (fortunately not one we dealt with) where an insurer used covert surveillance over a period of weeks to prove the claimant was exaggerating his claim. The private investigator filmed the claimant going into a medical examination in a wheelchair, and filmed him playing football later the same day.

Insurers spend hundreds of thousands of pounds each year combating fraud. I for one, although I cannot see the problem ever going away, hope the amount of fraud reduces over the coming years as, unfortunately, it affects the genuine claimant. Recent rule changes now encourage judges to not allow the progression of any claim, however serious, if it is shown the claimant exaggerated his or her claim. Time will tell whether this has the affect the government hopes.

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