Personal injury claimant foiled by social media posts

A personal injury claimant was ordered to pay around £40,000 in legal costs after Bristol County Court found him to be fundamentally dishonest.

Andy Airey was involved in a collision with a QBE-insured driver, whilst cycling to work in 2015. He made a £60,000 claim for pain, suffering and loss of amenity, medical treatment and handicap on the open labour market. Fault for the collision was admitted by the driver, but the insurer questioned causation for the injury.

The fraud intelligence team of insurance specialist law firm, BLM, working on behalf of the insurer, found numerous social media posts contradicting the claimant’s allegations.

According to the law firm’s director of intelligence, Ben FitzHugh, these included several Facebook and Strava running, cycling and triathlon posts, before and after the collision and the medical examination supporting his claim in March 2016.

The insurer saved around £145,000 in damages and legal costs.

BLM associate Edward Smethurst said: “This is another lesson to fraudulent injury claimants and practitioners alike as to the importance of a claimant’s social media presence.

“Although fault for the traffic collision was not contested, claiming an impaired ability to run or cycle whilst posting significant evidence to the contrary online will come back to bite you,” he added.

Claims manager, special investigation unit at QBE, Jon Radford said: “Gross exaggeration of genuine injuries is just one of the many types of fraud that is prevalent in the insurance industry.

“We are pleased with the fundamental dishonesty outcome of this case and hope it serves as a clear deterrent,” he added. “Fraud remains a serious issue, but by working to prevent these types of cases, we can help keep our customers safe from similar behaviour.”

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