Ten of the best whiplash whoppers
Despite falling accident rates, compensation claims for whiplash and other personal injuries have hit epidemic proportions.
British insurers now receive 1,500 claims for whiplash every day and it is estimated that up to 60% of these claims are exaggerated or fraudulent.
According to LV= research, almost a third of those who have claimed compensation for personal injuries following a car crash admit they exaggerated their injury to get compensation and a further one in ten say they made up the injury entirely to get the money.
John O’Roarke, managing director of LV= car insurance, said: “Fraud has been seen as a ‘victim-less’ crime for far too long but the reality is that it drives up premiums for honest motorists. Claims for whiplash cost British insurers £2bn a year and add around £90 to every premium.”
The Ministry of Justice is currently consulting on whiplash and is aiming to create new legislation that will reduce the costs of fraudulent whiplash claims on honest motorists.
O’Roarke added: “Those tempted to make a claim when they do not have an injury should think again as making a fraudulent claim could lead to a hefty fine or prison sentence.”
Here, LV= reveals some of the most obscure whiplash claims:
1. The Facebook Fraudster. The insurer received a car insurance claim from a third party claiming she and her daughter were injured when our insured went into the back of her car. The lady later posted on Facebook that she’d been in a car accident that day and it had shaken her up.
When a concerned friend enquired after her daughter, Mrs F replied that she was very relieved that her daughter hadn’t been in the car at the time. When challenged with this information, she quickly changed her story. This claim would have cost LV= an extra £2,500 if the fraud had not been detected.
2. The Silver Screen Scammer. Miss S claimed that she had to cancel her holiday as she had sustained a whiplash injury and was unable to travel. She had travel insurance and wanted to claim for the cost of the entire holiday.
When asked how she had been injured, Miss S replied that she’d got whiplash after jumping back in surprise at seeing a tiger jump out of the water – while at the cinema watching Life of Pi in 3D. Claim amount requested: £1,000.
3. The CCTV Slam-on. When Mr C, a cash-for-crash scammer, slammed on his brakes in front of a van he did not realise that his antics were being caught on camera. The van belonged to a CCTV installer who had installed a video camera in his rear-view mirror.
When the vehicles collided, the camera had a clear view of the inside of the car showing that there was one driver and no passengers. However, when Mr C submitted his claim for compensation, he claimed that there were several other people in the car who were all injured. When challenged with the footage, he quickly disappeared. The total value of this claim was £20,000.
4. The Fibbing Fighter. Mr F claimed that he was suffering severe whiplash after our insured went into the back of his vehicle. He claimed that his symptoms were extreme and that his doctor had said he would be out of action for several months and would have to give up the gym.
He complained that this was a particular problem for him as he was a professional boxer. A quick internet search revealed records of him competing in the ring a mere six weeks after the alleged collision where he was well enough to win a match. Suffice to say he quickly withdrew his claim and gave up the fight. This claim would have cost the insurer £10,000 if the fib had not been detected.
5. The Luxury Goods Liar. Miss L claimed that when she was injured in her accident the impact had been so great that it had broken her Gucci sunglasses. When asked for proof of ownership, Miss L sent in a pair of broken imitation shades and claimed she had lost the receipt.
Despite her protestations, the insurer’s loss adjusters confirmed that the shades were not genuine and therefore worth less than the cost of the postage to send them in. Not content with this, Miss L then claimed she had also lost a Pandora bracelet at the scene of the accident, which would have to be replaced. She submitted a hand written receipt for this bracelet which turned out to be just another poor quality fake. Claim amount requested: £1,000.
6. The Baby Blagger. A woman who had recently given birth claimed she had been in a car accident and sustained whiplash while her friend was driving. On inspection of her medical records, it transpired that she could not possibly have been in the car as she was in hospital giving birth at the time. This claim would have cost £3,000.
7. The Two-Pints-of-Lager-and-a-Tall-Story Trickster. When Mr T saw a few bricks falling off a truck and the police being called, he saw his opportunity to cash in. Mr T claimed that he had been driving past the truck, when the bricks had fallen onto their car.
He wanted £3,500 compensation for vehicle damage and personal injuries. When the insurer checked the police report, it transpired that the two scammers had not been driving at all but had been sat drinking in a beer garden with a clear view of the incident. Mr T had in fact gone over and talked to the police about the incident he had witnessed and they recorded his name on the report.
8. The Persistent Perjurer. Mr P claimed that he had been hit by a car that was insured and requested compensation for his injuries and the damage to his vehicle. When the insurer’s engineers inspected the vehicle they found that the car had not been in a collision at all and that Mr P had simply reversed the car into a wall.
What he did not realise is that the damage from the wall was much higher than a car bumper and the damage quickly gave him away. When challenged in court, Mr P insisted that he had collided with the other vehicle and signed a witness statement to this fact. He later admitted he had lied under oath and was found guilty of perjury, which resulted in a custodial sentence. The total value of this case including legal costs was £120,000.
9. The Family Affair. In 2005, a car went into the back of Mrs A and left her with injuries that she claimed left her severely disabled, unable to work and in need of care for five to eight hours a day. Mrs A was in receipt of incapacity benefits and the claim overall was valued in excess of £650,000.
Her husband and daughter also signed statements to the court confirming the claimant’s allegations. The insurer was later tipped off that Mrs A was not disabled as alleged, but that she was actually working. Mrs A was found guilty of contempt of court and given a custodial sentence.
10. The Lazy Liars. The B family took the cake when they didn’t even bother to have an accident but instead used photos of car damage resulting from a previous collision to allege that they had been in an accident that never took place.
There were initially seven claims for personal injury running to tens of thousands of pounds. However, when the insurer checked the number plate against the insurer claims database, they found that one of the cars involved had been in an identical accident on another junction a few months before.
The insurer took the family to the Royal Courts of Justice in the first ‘contrived collision’ case of its kind, where the guilty parties received custodial sentences. The total value of this claim for all the injuries involved would have been £75,000.