horwich farrelly

Sultan v Advantage Insurance Company Limited

August, 5, 2019

This claim arose out of a road traffic accident which occurred on 30/8/15. Liability was not disputed and proceedings were issued for personal injury, credit hire of £10,740 and storage of £460.

Fraud was first suspected when the possibility of cross-hire was identified. The hire vehicle purportedly supplied by Blackstone Credit Hire (‘CHO’) was also recorded as having been hired to another party following an unrelated accident.  The claimant attempted to explain the cross-hire by alleging that the hire documentation was incorrect – he stated that the vehicle supplied to him had been changed but the change of vehicle was not recorded on the paperwork.  The claimant, maintaining his stance, also relied upon a statement from the CHO’s director to support the alleged mistake – it was hardly surprising they took this stance, when both acknowledged under cross examination that they had been known to one another for a number of years.

The claimant was further seeking recovery for storage, alleging that he placed his vehicle in paid storage then removed it to his and/or his sister’s house at a later stage – the obvious implication being that he could have avoided storage charges in the first place.

Close up of wing mirror

At trial His Honour Judge Gregory at Walsall County Court was damning in his judgment. He found that the claim was merely a rouse to generate a claim for hire and that there was no need for storage, going so far as to find, on balance, that the storage claim was not genuine.

The judge found the claimant inconsistent as to where he signed the rental agreement which cast into doubt his contention that he had entered into a genuine agreement for hire. The hire document itself was considered hopelessly incomplete. The judge was entirely understanding of the insurers alarm bells on learning of the cross-hire and critically unsatisfied with the director of the CHO failing to serve agreements in relation to the other hire claim from which the cross-hire concerns materialised.  The judge further highlighted inconsistencies between the taxi suspension notice and a letter from the council.

The judge concluded that the claimant was dishonest regarding the state of his finances to make out that he was impecunious – commenting that the claimant’s contention that his taxi work was his only source of income being “a bare faced lie”.

He found that the claimant did not enter into a genuine agreement for hire and he had fabricated documentation to support his claim.

Had it not been for the dishonesty, the judge would have awarded £2,250 for injury. However due to the dishonesty the judge applied Section 57 and dismissed the claimant’s entire claim for personal injury.

Matthew Stevens, Director of Counter Fraud at Hastings Direct said “This is a significant outcome and sends a clear message that we will not tolerate fraud of any kind. Hastings Direct will continue to invest in technology to further increase detection of credit hire fraud and will continue to defend against such behaviour with firm action”

Morgan Davies said “In the successful appeal in the case Basir v Larizadeh we reported how a finding of dishonesty in relation to the personal injury claim led to a Section 57 dismissal of a genuine credit hire claim. This case completes the circle with dishonesty in respect of the credit hire claim resulting in dismissal of the injury claim and sends the clear message of the courts intolerance of fraud in any aspect of a claim.”

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