Warning: exaggerated PI claims can seriously damage your liberty!
Contrary to what the insurance companies and some of their allies in Parliament and the media would like us to believe, the vast majority of personal injury claims are legitimate. But there are people who will ‘push their luck’ and exaggerate injuries for personal gain. Jack Waller, from our Head Office in London, shows why it really isn’t worth the risk….
Doubtless you’ll have seen the ‘crash for cash’ frauds reported in the media. Where criminal gangs stage car accidents and then bring bogus personal injury claims, defrauding insurance companies of thousands of pounds. When these are discovered the criminals involved are, quite rightly, given hefty jail sentences.
Such frauds are actually relatively uncommon, despite what some newspapers would have us believe. And the coverage they’re given is often coupled with waffle – beloved by insurance companies – about a (mythical) ‘compensation culture’. It almost gives you the impression that anyone who makes a personal injury claim is attempting to perpetrate a fraud!
Less well publicised, though, are those cases where completely legitimate claimants commit fraud by exaggerating the extent of an injury. Did you realise that the courts treat these equally seriously? The case of MIB v Shikell should serve as a warning to all…
The injured claimant Mr. Shikell – a talented footballer prior to the accident – told the medical expert he had chronic fatigue and could no longer play competitive sport. He signed a witness statement to this effect. Yet he was subsequently filmed playing 90 minutes of football. In fact he was captain of a Sunday league team, and of all the players in the team he had made the most appearances that season!
Although his claim was successful and he recovered compensation for his injuries, the insurers then brought contempt proceedings against him for making false statements about the extent of those injuries. He was found guilty and sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.
And witnesses who make statements supporting personal injury claims brought by friends and relatives should also take note. Mr Shikell’s father said in a witness statement that his son was no longer able to play football when he knew this to be false. He was also sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.
The overwhelming majority of claimants will continue to claim honestly and fairly. And they’ll get the compensation they deserve. But to anyone who thinks they can play the system or tell a few ‘white lies’ with impunity, consider yourself warned!