On 31 March 2023 at the County Court at Pontypridd, District Judge Barcello dismissed the claims of a mother and son arising from a road traffic accident in 2018 as fundamentally dishonest ordering them to pay the Defendant's costs of £9,989.08.
The mother presented a claim for whiplash, psychological injuries and tinnitus, such claims becoming increasingly common since the introduction of the whiplash reforms. It was the mother's evidence that the impact from the Defendant's car caused hers to be pushed forwards four car lengths. She was still suffering with the injuries four and a half years later.
The son presented a claim for physical injuries only, but alleged that these were still symptomatic at the time of the Trial, four and a half years later, obtaining various medical reports in support.
The Defendant was insured by Admiral Insurance who resisted the claims on the basis that the car was fitted with a telematics device, commonly known as a 'black box', which showed that the speed of the car was 7mph when the impact occurred. The insured driver could not attend the Trial due to health problems but had expressed doubt as to any injuries.
District Judge Barcello rejected the Claimants' evidence that the accident was as significant as alleged. He found that the most reliable evidence in relation to the speed and magnitude of the impact was the telematics data from the Defendant's car.
During cross-examination the Judge found that both Claimants evidence was very inconsistent and that reports of the accident and injury in the first days and weeks after the accident failed to mention any of the serious injuries the Claimants alleged were immediately apparent to them.
The Judge found that whilst potentially possible that both Claimants sustained some type of injury of some nature, their evidence was so unreliable that he could not begin to discern what those injuries were and the extent of them.
Benedict Harper, telematics lead for DWF, and the lawyer handling the case said "This case can be considered a crystal ball as to what Trials will look like over the coming years, with extensive multi-sited injuries to try and escape the whiplash tariff. DWF and Admiral have been using telematics data for over half a decade to discredit claims like this, but in a new world where the claims are exaggerated to an even greater degree, having all the tools available to defend these claims is critical to the insurance industry's ability to fight fraud effectively."
Ceri Newman, Telematics Team Manager at Admiral said, "This is a fantastic result for Admiral but more importantly our customer. It is great that the telematics data has helped us successfully dispute the exaggerated claims presented. We have been able to support our customer and prevent a fraudulent claim."
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