Claimant found fundamentally dishonest and ordered to pay costs totalling £50k

Horwich Farrelly has reclaimed more than £50,000 for Aviva after successfully defending a fraudulent personal injury claim and pursuing a counter claim.

On the 15th of November 2018, Kerry Stevenson attended a car dealership insured by Aviva and chose a car to test drive. Unaware the insured car was fitted with a dashcam, Stevenson began his test drive only to collide with the rear end of a Nissan GT-R V6, owned by Munraj Singh Bindra, at a junction.

The dashcam footage provided audio of Stevenson on a telephone call, directing him to the precise location of Bindra’s vehicle, which was stationary at the junction. On approach to Bindra’s car, Stevenson can be seen accelerating, with encouragement from Bindra, who can clearly be heard telling Stevenson to “go, go, go” towards Bindra’s car.

Aviva was made aware of the dashcam footage, which showed the entirety of the staged accident, so when the initial claim for vehicle damage and personal injury was made by Bindra, a 24-year-old site manager, from Datchet, England, Aviva repudiated it.

In response, Bindra issued proceedings against Aviva, who then instructed us to defend. After a review of the evidence and suspicion of collusion between the two parties, we advised Aviva to commence proceedings for a counterclaim in September 2019.

Following disclosure of the dashcam footage, Bindra discontinued his claim in July 2020 – making him liable for Aviva’s defence costs. In September of 2020 Aviva issued an application for a finding of fundamental dishonesty and permission to enforce costs orders against Bindra.

Sovereign Solicitors (representing Bindra), approached Aviva to settle the claim for damages and costs before the case went to trial. Aviva demanded any agreement must include an admission of fundamental dishonesty from Mr Bindra.

With Bindra backed into a corner – his dishonesty glaringly apparent – he agreed to being fundamentally dishonest and was instructed to pay Aviva’s costs in full. This amounted to a final payment of £50k – to be paid by the 15th of January 2021.

Alex Wilkinson, head of our large loss fraud team, said: “We are delighted with the outcome of this case as it reiterates the effectiveness a strong stance has against a wholly dishonest claim and how it allows for full recovery of the insurer’s outlay. It also highlights the benefits of pursuing counterclaims to the general insurance sector and reinforces the need to take a firm approach against claims of this nature.”

Richard Hiscocks, Director of Motor and Casualty Claims at Aviva, said, “This is a shocking example of the reckless pursuit of cash which can put other road users’ lives at risk. The video footage of Bindra encouraging his co-conspirator to accelerate into the back of the car he was sitting in highlights the sad lengths that fraudsters will go to in order to profit from a bogus insurance claim.

“Bindra mistakenly believed that he could profit from a staged accident. However, the price of Bindra’s greed is £50,000, which he has had to pay in costs. This should send a strong, clear message to anyone thinking of committing insurance fraud: not only are you likely to be caught, but you will also face serious financial penalties and reputational damage as a result, which can take years to recover from. Aviva is dedicated to protecting our customers from the effects of fraud on their premiums, and where we detect fraud, we will ensure fraudsters are made to pay for their actions.”