As the government continues to ponder further reform of the personal injury sector, some recent decisions from the County Courts in Liverpool and Manchester suggest that the reforms may not be as pressing as some insurers would suggest.
In a recent case in Manchester, a District Judge awarded exemplary damages against the Claimants on the basis of fundemental dishonesty.
Toby Evans of Keoghs, acting for the Defendant was reported in Litigation Futures as stating:
"robust counter-fraud measures adopted by Zurich, good old fashioned intelligence analysis and a strong collaberative approach between Zurich, Salford Van Hire, their brokers and Keoghs, led to an early detection of fraud and allowed us to be entirely on the front foot in taking the fight to fraudulent Claimants, who now find themselves in the unenviable position of each having a five figure judgment against them".
This was after reports in December of a medical expert being ordered to pay a costs bill in excess of £100,000.00 after questions were raised by the Defendant over the validity of her reports.
Reading the reports of these cases, it struck me that at least some insurance companies are targeting the real source of the problem.
The problem is not whiplash itself or those representing Claimants in low value injuries. The problem is fraud and there is a need for better measures to tackle that problem. The tools are already there as the cases above demonstrate, it is up to the insurers as to whether they wish to use them.
Reforms are fine if they are targeted in the right way, but it cannot be right that many innocent Claimants stand to be undercompensated or not compensated at all for the actions of a small minority.
Any reforms should be targetting the fraudsters, making it easier to bring them to book and providing a greater deterrent against bringing a fraudulent claim. The current proposed reforms do not do that. A fraudster can still bring a claim, it will be just as easy for them to do so, with little in the way of a deterrent other than the fact that they might not get as much of a return as they do at present.
Anyway, here's hoping for more "good old fashioned intelligence analysis".