By: 28 February 2024
Allianz successfully defends customers against dishonest claims

Allianz has supported its customers – the defendants – in two recent court cases for noise-induced hearing loss. Both claimants fundamentally advanced dishonest claims involving damages after alleging exposure to excessive levels of noise in the workplace.

 

The first case took place at Wakefield county court

Mr. Taylor claimed at Wakefield county court that he had been exposed to noise while working as a farmer between 1976 and 1992. Documents obtained by Allianz and solicitors DWF showed that the claimant, Mr Taylor, had previously made a claim for hearing loss to the same defendant in 2015.

During questioning Mr Taylor stated that he had simply forgotten about the 2015 claim, but following further cross-examination he agreed that his statement was incorrect and he was aware of the previous claim.

Deputy district judge Rafferty commented on their judgment that: “…the dishonesty was plainly fundamental to this claim. Limitation is vital to establishing a valid claim against the first defendant and appears in the vast majority of noise induced hearing loss claims. … It is therefore a fundamental part of the claimant’s claim that the claim is within the limitation period.”

 

The second case took place at Mansfield county court

In the second case at Mansfield county court, Mr. Cope brought a claim alleging exposure to excessive levels of noise while employed as a driver and mechanic between 2001 and 2016. He claimed that he had been exposed to excessive noise from the tools he operated throughout his shift for the majority of his employment years as a mechanic, with only 2-4 years spent working as a driver.

Following cross-examination, Mr Cope admitted he had worked as a driver for up to 9 years rather than the 2-4 as previously stated. Additionally, his exposure to tools such as grinders, disc saws and ratchet guns accounted for seconds or minutes of a day, rather than amounting to hours of continuous use.

District Judge Carter commented: “His dishonesty went to the root of the claim because it was dishonesty about his level of exposure to noise and that was the key element for the purposes of his claim.”

 

The consequences

James Burge, head of counter fraud, Allianz Commercial said: “Both cases show the lengths that claimants will go to, to fraudulently obtain damages, and why we continue to pursue these types of claims through the courts and ensure that those who falsify claims are fully investigated and held accountable.”

Jonathan Head, director, DWF Law LLP, said: “We are experiencing an increase in disease claims that are dishonestly presented. These judgments show there is zero-tolerance for claimants who try to obtain damages through deception”

Accordingly, both judges disapply QOCS, enabling the defendants to enforce their costs, which have been passed to DWF’s dedicated recovery team to pursue from the claimants.

 

Image: Canva.
Emma Cockings
Emma is a content editor for Claims Media.