This is the first case of its kind, where we have collaborated to bring a fraudulent taxi driver to justice both in civil proceedings and then with the licensing authorities.
A taxi driver has had his licence revoked by Sheffield Taxi Licensing Authority (“TLA”) after he admitted that the claim he and seven other claimants brought for £100,000 was dishonest.
Following a full investigation, carried out by Esure Insurance and HF, it was established that the accident did not take place and then went that step further by ensuring that the public was protected from future criminality from this group.
It was alleged on 27 January 2020 that three vehicles – a BMW (insured by Esure) a VW Golf and a Taxi – collided in Sheffield. As a result of the collision, seven claims were presented by the occupants of the three vehicles with Esure’s (now ex) customer accepting fault.
Esure had concerns that the collision was “staged”. As part of their investigation, they contacted Sheffield TLA to verify whether the taxi driver had reported the collision to them and contacted HF to highlight this as a case of concern, who advised Esure on the prospects of bringing a tort of deceit and tort of conspiracy claim against the drivers of the BMW, Taxi and VW Golf underpinned by engineering evidence. It was quickly established that the BMW had sustained significant fire damage to its engine which rendered it undriveable, so the accident could never have happened.
Shortly before HF could launch the claim, the driver of the VW Golf issued proceedings. Seizing this opportunity, a counterclaim was brought against all the drivers for exemplary damages and during proceedings several issues were identified which strengthened Esure’s claim. For example, the taxi driver alleged that he was unable to speak, read or write in English thus needing all documents to be translated. However, HF obtained a transcript of an interview between him and Sheffield TLA, under caution, in which he spoke perfect English. Additionally, he signed several documents such as tax returns and a hire agreement in English.
Accepting that his case was doomed to fail, the taxi driver provided a witness statement in which he accepted that his claim was dishonest, the information he provided to Sheffield TLA was false and that the collision did not occur. The taxi driver has now paid Esure £12,500 in damages and costs. In addition, Judgment has been entered against Esure’s ex-customer (with a figure to be determined) and the driver of the VW Golf. Including legal costs, the savings are £175,000.
Graeme, Mulvoy, Partner at HF said “Over the last 3 years, HF have developed strong relationships with over 45 taxi licensing authorities and this case is the perfect example of the fruition of that hard work by everyone involved. This is the first case of its kind, where we have collaborated to bring a fraudulent taxi driver to justice both in civil proceedings and then with the licensing authorities. Aside from this outcome, it also demonstrates the savings insurers can achieve by working with licensing authorities on claims by taxi drivers”.
Andrew Nixon, Fraud Operations Manager at Esure said “We have sent a clear message to all drivers who may consider bringing dishonest claims. We are aware that the referral fees being offered to taxi drivers are very attractive, but this case should act as a stark reminder that we will not only recover our legal costs but take their livelihood to protect our honest customers”.
Representative from Sheffield TLA said “Our primary aim is to protect the public and ensure we have honest taxi drivers on our roads. With the hard work and diligences of our officers we have uncovered a large fraudulent offence and for the first time collaborated with the insurance industry to bring the culprits to justice. We are extremely pleased with the outcome and our officers will continue to take the same approach with any other licensees who commit similar offences. We believe HF have a unique offering to other taxi licensing authorities to safeguard the public”.
You may also like
HF Scotland and Zurich have secured a significant judgment in which a specialist Sheriff in the All-Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury...
HF Northern Ireland has been working with their insurer clients to fundraise for a local charity, which helps with homelessness...
HF are significantly strengthening their presence across new, diversified lines of business, investing heavily in the London market with the...
HF are delighted to appoint Jennette Newman as Partner & Head of London Markets. With over 25 years of experience...