Fraudulent Claim Conspiracy Prompts Exemplary Damages Award


The ripple effect of fraudulent personal injury claims continues to be felt by many members of society, as insurance premiums are driven up and genuine claimants pay the price. It is no surprise, then, that the courts take a dim view of fraudulent ‘cash for crash’ conspiracies, as was evidenced by the awarding of exemplary damages in a case that involved staged crashes on an ‘unprecedented scale’.

The case centred on a supermarket delivery driver who, it was revealed, had been part of a number of staged, targeted accidents involving a number of drivers at one of the supermarket’s depots. Vehicle owners had paid an unknown individual, who then paid a supermarket driver to deliberately drive a delivery van into the vehicle owner’s car. These ‘crashes’ were stage managed to recover compensation from the supermarket by way of personal injury claims and special damages in respect of the loss of their vehicles and credit hire.

The supermarket had successfully brought a number of actions alleging conspiracy and deceit against other drivers involved in the plot. In this instance, the court found that the delivery driver’s actions in deliberately crashing and lying about his involvement were a gross breach of trust that struck at the heart of the supermarket’s business.

The court found that the case, along with the other actions linked with it, were distinguished by the wholesale nature of the fraud and the extent of the conspiracy. In considering the amount of exemplary damages that should be awarded to the supermarket, the judge highlighted the ‘fraud and conspiracy of unprecedented scale which engaged this court in five weeks of continuous litigation involving the consideration and reference to 31 related matters embodied in 60,000 documents’.

The supermarket was awarded £18,000 in exemplary damages, which accorded with the ‘extent of the egregious conduct and the extent of this conspiracy’.

Share this article