According to one of the UK's biggest motor insurers, Aviva, "crash for cash" insurance scams have risen to a record level with a suggestion that there has been a 21% increase in this organised fraud, compared with 2013.
Typically, the accidents are caused deliberately by gangs who then submit claims for compensation for to a whiplash injury. It is thought that the crackdown on speculative whiplash claims is prompting criminals to create real accidents where they can provide more convincing evidence. Insurers are urging motorists to be more vigilant at junctions and crossings, where many of the accidents occur.
Charlene McAuliffe, case manager at Penningtons Manches LLP comments: “It is disappointing to see that this trend continues to rise, despite the wide reaching publicity and restrictions that the Government has implemented into personal injury claims over the past 18 months. This is a serious problem which puts the public at risk of serious injury.
“Last year the fixed fee that solicitors could recover for road traffic accident claims was cut from £1,200 to £500 and, as recently as October this year, further restrictions were applied to the fees allowed for obtaining medical evidence. All these changes were implemented in an effort to reduce the cost of motor insurance claims and relieve the pressure placed on insurance premiums. These latest figures from Aviva do, however, call in to question whether any of these cuts actually make a difference when it comes to tackling insurance fraud.
“It is often difficult for claimant solicitors to know when they have been approached by a disingenuous claimant who is part of a scam. Where the insurance company involved has concerns about the claim presented, sharing the information with claimant solicitors is vital to ensure that these ‘cash claims’ can be stopped at the initial stages. All those involved in this industry need to work together to prevent these individuals from abusing a system which was put in place to help genuine claimants. Ultimately, it is the honest and genuine individual who ends up being the true victim when people try to cheat the system.”