By: 3 August 2019
BLM secures fundamental dishonesty ruling

Law firm BLM has secured a finding of fundamental dishonesty against an opportunistic fraudster on behalf of AXA Insurance.

The defendant, insured by AXA Insurance and represented by BLM, reversed from a parking space on a petrol station forecourt and collided with the claimant’s stationary vehicle, situated at the petrol pumps.

While the defendant accepted there had been contact between the vehicles, the claimant, Nighat Rani, pursued a claim for vehicle repair costs of £1,723.08.

She also brought a claim for personal injury, alleging she had sustained neck and back pain, which took four months to fully resolve.

Contradictions between the damage caused to the stationary car and the alleged injuries sustained by Rani raised the suspicions of the BLM Fraud Hub, which pursued a fundamental dishonesty charge.

Discussing the reason for following this line of defence, BLM solicitor Timothy Russell said: “Given the circumstances surrounding the collision, compared with an assessment of the damages, we identified the potential for a case of fundamental dishonesty.”

“The claimant’s description of extensive vehicle damage could not have been caused by the minor collision, nor could she have suffered the injuries she claimed as the defendant specifically recalled the claimant putting the fuel nozzle back into the pump after he had gotten out of his vehicle.”

During the trial, Rani provided inconsistent accounts of the incident, contradictory medical evidence, and asserted that her vehicle was a total loss when it wasn’t, admitting she hadn’t read all the necessary reports and wasn’t present at the time of inspection.

The judge found in favour of the defendant and felt that Rani could not prove that she was in the car and had made contradictory assertions.

A costs order was issued against the claimant for £6,892.64 to be paid within 28 days.

Timothy Russell added: “The claimant was exposed during cross examination for the shameless way that she intended to take advantage of the situation, intent on financial gain. Meanwhile, the judge commented on the strength of credibility attached to the defendant’s evidence, in addition to the disparity between damage and injury.”