Weightmans and Zurich team up to fight fraud

National law firm Weightmans has been working with Zurich to crack down on fraudulent claims faced both by insurers and public authorities.

As the Insurance Fraud Bureau recently announced a new intelligence sharing agreement to allow intelligence on known fraudsters to be shared between the insurance industry and local authorities, national law firm Weightmans has been working in partnership with Zurich to crack down on fraudulent claims faced both by insurers and public authorities in recent months.

Zurich and Weightmans have recently fought a number of claims which raised concerns ranging from a claimant who alleged he fell down an uncovered drain to an alleged incident in the workplace which was lost at trial when the claimant failed to come up to proof.

In many of these cases, the claimant has been ordered to pay the insurers’ costs. In one case in particular, a Civil Restraint Order has been issued to prevent the serial claimant from making any further claims against his local council for the next two years.

Zurich, in partnership with Weightmans, is taking a hard line on false personal injury claims. To ensure claims are 100 per cent genuine extensive investigations are carried out where required.

Partner at law firm Weightmans Kieran Jones explains:

“Where genuine claims are brought insurers will compensate. However, the problems facing the insurance industry today are twofold, firstly false claims and secondly those claimants who have a viable claim but consider it fair game to exaggerate the damage or injuries they have sustained to increase compensation and who believe they have nothing to lose by doing so.”

This was certainly so in the significant case of Summers v Fairclough Homes, which was heard by the Supreme Court recently. The claimant, Shaun Summers, exaggerated his injuries after a fall from a forklift truck and attempted to claim £838,000 from Zurich. The insurer fought for both the fraudulent and any genuine elements of the claim to be disallowed by striking the claim out entirely and although the Supreme Court rejected that in the specific case, it did agree with the principle that there is power to strike out a fraudulent claim at any point in the proceedings.

“We have been working with Zurich and the wider insurance market to pursue a number of measures to punish fraudulent claims, including some high profile contempt of court actions that have resulted in fraudulent claimants going to prison,” Kieran explained.

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