Horwich Farrelly and Hastings Direct succeed in claim for tort of deceit and recover exemplary damages
A court has ordered a dishonest claimant to pay over £27,000 to Advantage Insurance Company Ltd following his failed attempt to defraud them out of thousands of pounds for a fabricated road traffic accident. Succeeding in their claim for the tort of deceit, the judge awarded £10,000 for exemplary damages.
The case centred around an accident that was reported to have occurred on 17th January 2017. Mr Elliot claimed that Advantage’s alleged insured had pulled out from a side road into the path of Mr Elliot’s correctly proceeding vehicle. Claims were made for vehicle damage; recovery and storage, credit hire and personal injury.
After making without prejudice payments for the vehicle damage and credit hire, Advantage uncovered evidence that Mr Elliot was in fact connected to a large number of other accidents and insurance company investigations.
It also transpired that Mr Elliot was connected to various accident management companies and to the inception of the policy for Advantage’s alleged insured. The investigations proved that the policy had in fact been incepted fraudulently and solely for the purpose of presenting the alleged accident.
The final nail in the coffin for Mr Elliot was when Advantage was able to prove that he had presented the exact same vehicle damage to another insurer for an accident that was alleged to have occurred only months earlier. His heavily clocked vehicle was also still reportedly in storage from the previous accident, making it impossible for it to have been on the road at the time of this accident.
Tort of Deceit
Satisfied that they were presented with a completely fabricated accident, Advantage commenced Tort of Deceit proceedings against Mr Elliot. They sought reimbursement for the payments made for vehicle damage and credit hire as well as an award for exemplary damages and their legal costs.
When summarising the actions of Mr Elliot the judge described his actions as both sophisticated and dishonest and proceeded to order him to repay the interim payments with interest; £10,000 in exemplary damages and to meet the Advantages’ costs on a standard basis in the sum of £14,125.
The judge acknowledged Horwich Farrelly’s position in the market, commenting that they are the “go to solicitors” for insurers wanting to push initiatives and schemes to fight fraud. She further praised the insurer’s resilience and thorough investigation of the case.
Matthew Stevens, Director of Counter Fraud at Hastings Direct said “We invest heavily in technology to identify fraudulent claims and work closely with law enforcement and our legal partners to bring fraudsters to justice. The judgment in this case reflects the seriousness of this crime and its impact on innocent customers, and sends a clear message that Hastings Direct will not tolerate fraud of any kind”.
Morgan Davies, Fraud Partner at Horwich Farrelly said “This is a great result for insurers willing to take the fight to suspected fraudsters, laying down a real message to deter other fraudsters from taking them on. The award for exemplary damages shows just how serious the courts take these matters and it should serve as a stark reminder of the ramifications of reckless dishonesty.”