horwich farrelly

Horwich Farrelly secure a fundamental dishonesty verdict against a ‘lucky dip’ fraudster

February, 24, 2015

In a case handled by Horwich Farrelly for LV=, the claim of a fraudster who sought compensation after he received a cold call from an accident management company saying money was “waiting for him” has been found fundamentally dishonest by Portsmouth County Court . In dismissing the claim District Judge Ackroyd said: I am satisfied he knew exactly what he was doing and have no hesitation in finding he was fundamentally dishonest. I would like it to be widely known that for people who try to bring this type of claim it is not some lucky dip.”

Michael Figg, a 32-year-old carpenter, was driving along Burrfields Road in Portsmouth on 13 September 2012 when another driver was temporarily blinded by sunlight and drove into his van. The other driver immediately admitted that the accident was their fault and notified her insurer, LV=, the same day.

A claims handler from LV= telephoned Mr Figg to arrange for his van to be repaired and during this call, Mr Figg confirmed that he had not been injured in the accident. The van was repaired within a matter of weeks and the claims handler had another conversation with Mr Figg where he repeated that he had no injuries. Both telephone calls were recorded, which Mr Figg had been made aware of at the start of each call.

Mr Figg claims he received a cold call from a solicitor in early 2014 asking whether he had ever been injured or involved in an accident and Mr Figg said he had. He was then told that “there was money waiting to be awarded to him” and so Mr Figg agreed to begin a claim for compensation in the region of £1,000.

Mr Figg went to a doctor on 25 March 2014 to get a medical report to substantiate his injuries in court. The doctor’s report stated that there were no injuries to be seen at that point but that Mr Figg claimed he had been thrown violently during the accident and that his injuries had affected his quality of life afterwards. Mr Figg also claimed that in the two weeks following the collision, he had had trouble sleeping, had taken painkillers every two hours and that he had been reduced to “light duties” at work. However, the doctor stated that he had could only go on what Mr Figg told him as it was eighteen months after the event.

On 18 February 2015 the case was heard in Portsmouth County Court, where the tape recordings of Mr Figg claiming that he had not been injured in the weeks immediately following the collision where submitted. Evidence was also presented about the incident proving that it was a minor accident and it was unlikely that Mr Figg had been injured.

District Judge Ackroyd dismissed Mr Figg’s claim, saying that it was only a minor collision and that he would be surprised to find any injury whatsoever. He then went on to say that Figg had clearly seen this as an opportunity to get some compensation. Mr Figg’s claim was found to be fundamentally dishonest and he has been ordered to pay over £5,000 in legal costs to LV=.

John O’Roarke, Managing Director for LV= car insurance, comments: “In this case, Mr Figg clearly stated that he had not been injured in the weeks immediately following his accident, so it was clearly not credible of him to subsequently claim he had been injured some eighteen months later. Mr Figg was fooled into believing that he would easily get a compensation payout for claiming he had an injury, when he did not, and has instead been left with a rather large bill.

“LV= takes a hard line on fraud, investigates all suspicious claims and pushes for the toughest sentences for those who are prosecuted, in order to protect our honest customers. We hope this sends a message to other fraudsters to deter them from committing this type of crime.”

LV= undertook research with GPs in January 2015 that revealed the extent to which injuries are being exaggerated or invented in order to obtain compensation. Details can be found by clicking here.

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