7th January 2016
Insurer Aviva detected a massive £250,000 worth of bogus injury claims made by passengers arising from a low-speed accident involving a double-decker ‘party bus’.
The insurer said the majority of the 46 partygoers on route to a local nightclub were unaware of the collision at the time, which occurred in September 2012 at a roundabout in Crewe.
Aviva’s policyholder, driving a Ford Fiesta, collided with the bus at less than 10 miles an hour, resulting in a mere £70 worth of damage to the bus.
All of the partygoers continued on to the nightclub without seeking medical attention, yet subsequently submitted 46 claims for whiplash injuries, totalling more than £250,000.
Aviva discovered the claim as part of an operation in the North West focusing on staged accidents involving buses and multiple claimants.
Tom Gardiner, head of fraud at Aviva, said: “This claim highlights the outrageous scale of whiplash fraud in the UK being driven by the current system, and which frankly has become a national disgrace.
“We believe our customers are fed up paying for spurious and fraudulent injury claims through their premiums and they expect us to defend these claims on their behalf.
“In this case, our customer described the impact as ‘minimal’ – neither he nor anything else inside his vehicle was moved by the impact. In fact, the only damage to his vehicle was a one-inch split on his bumper. Given this, and the £70 worth of damage to the bus, it was highly unlikely that such a minor bump could result in so many injuries.”
Gardiner added that despite evidence the claims were bogus, 21 of the 23 litigated claimants were still represented by just two firms of solicitors at trial, resulting in considerable legal costs being incurred.
“This also highlights the abuse of courts and the significant drain on public resources as a result of fraudulent claims,” added Gardiner.
Aviva currently has over 4,000 suspect whiplash claims linked to organised “cash for crash” claims, and detected 19% more organised scams in 2015.