There can’t be many of us who haven’t heard the phrase “crash for cash”, which is where fake road accidents are set up in order to claim bogus “damages” for non- existent injuries.
Sometimes, the “accidents” don’t even happen at all.
Final sentencing of those involved in such a scam in Newport Cron Court, South Wales has just been completed. The scam was done on such a scale as to be almost unbelievable.
The Yandell family’s “crash for cash” swindle in South Wales went undetected for years due to the sheer number of people involved. Over 150 people have been convicted, with some receiving prison sentences and it is thought that the main players obtained in the region of £2 million pounds by defrauding insurance companies between 2011 and 2016.
Those claiming to have been injured all went to the same GP to have their “injuries” examined and verified, leading to the judge handing down sentences, Judge Williams, to say to one of those convicted that the doctor’s practice “……could have been sustained by members of your family.” The doctor is not part of the investigation and is still practising.
Many people are hurt in road accidents each year, though fortunately many of them do not sustain severe life changing injuries. Nevertheless, the injuries they do receive cause pain and inconvenience, not only for the injured person, but for their family as well, who often have to provide care. Time off work can lead to loss of earnings and it doesn’t take long before many are struggling to manage on sick pay or running up credit card debt that will take a long time to clear. It is worse for those self- employed or on zero hours contracts and for these people, loss of earnings insurance should be considered.
These scams and bogus claims lead to suspicion of those genuine claimants and complaints of a “compensation culture”, which statistics (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) show does not actually exist.
Things are going to get worse for genuine claimants as the government is currently committed to bringing in legislation to curb compensation for more minor, but nevertheless real, injuries by way of the Civil Liability Bill. If this becomes an Act, as it almost certainly will, there is likely to be a “tariff” system of compensation for injuries, which in many cases will not properly compensate those who have suffered injury, loss and expense through no fault of their own in a road traffic accident. The law is likely to restrict claims “worth” up to £5000.00.
Will this put an end to scams and dishonest claimants? Possibly not. Will it prejudice honest claimants? Probably. The law is clear. Where it can be proven or is accepted by an insurer that an injury has been suffered in an accident by someone through no fault of their own, then they are entitled to be put back in the position they were in before that accident and injury happened, as far as can be done financially. Many are going to find out that this will not now be the case and through someone else’s fault, they are worse off.