Lawyers Praised for Exposing ‘Cash for Crash’ Fraud on Unprecedented Scale


Dishonest orchestration of road accidents with a view to compensation is a blight on society, driving up insurance premiums paid by honest motorists. Fraudsters do not have it all their own way, however, and, in one case, lawyers received judicial praise for their tireless work in exposing a so-called ‘cash for crash’ conspiracy in which a supermarket chain was targeted on an unprecedented scale.

A woman launched a compensation claim against the chain, asserting that one of its trucks had reversed out of a side road into her Mercedes. She withdrew her claim after the chain asserted that she and the truck’s driver – its own employee – had, with the assistance of other unknown individuals, stage-managed the crash. The chain alleged that the incident was just one of over 30 orchestrated ‘accidents’ involving certain drivers employed at one of its depots.

Ruling on the matter, a judge found that the truck’s driver and certain colleagues at the depot had been targeted, by persons unknown, to be involved in stage-managed crashes. The driver was incensed that he had been swindled by his co-conspirators and had not been paid for his involvement. He was motivated by his straitened financial circumstances and his belief that his employer could afford to pay compensation claims, whether or not they were legitimate. In denying that the collision even occurred, he had repeatedly lied to both his employer and the court.

The woman and two others, who said that they were passengers in the Mercedes at the time, had made fraudulent representations in support of the compensation claim and had, together with the truck’s driver, engaged in an unlawful means conspiracy. The chain was awarded compensation in respect of the damage to its vehicle and, as an expression of the court’s condemnation of their outrageous conduct, the four conspirators were each also ordered to pay £18,000 in exemplary damages.

Noting the unprecedented scale of the conspiracy, the judge observed that it would not have been brought to light without the diligence and forensic work carried out by the chain’s legal team. Unravelling the plot had involved five weeks of continuous litigation and lawyers had worked tirelessly to ensure that all the evidence was placed before the court in a comprehensive and objective manner.

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