A Cautionary Tale

It is not unusual for the insurers for the allegedly negligent driver in a road traffic accident to allege fraud against a claimant.

However it does not always work out for them. We recently had a case where the Firm was acting for two passengers in a vehicle, who were claiming against the driver of the vehicle.

The accident circumstances were that the driver of the vehicle lost control of the vehicle, which left the road and collided with a hedge. The accident did not involve any other vehicles and occurred late at night. There were no independent witnesses and the emergency services were not involved.

The insurers for the driver refused to deal with the claims, on the basis that they had concerns regarding the validity of the claims. They asked for more information from the clients, and obtained an engineer’s report regarding damage to the vehicle.

The case progressed until Court proceedings had been issued and we got to the point where witness statements were exchanged. The Defendant’s solicitors disclosed a witness statement from the driver freely admitting that he had lost control of the vehicle and an engineer’s report which was inconclusive as to whether the accident damage was not consistent with the description of the accident or not. As a result of this weakness in their evidence they decided to put forward a settlement offer which was accepted.

The moral of the story is that just because allegations are made it does not mean that they are going to be proved. If the evidence in support of an allegation of fraud is not sufficient then it will not be proven and it is still possible to achieve a settlement of the claim.