Fraud Future Series: Casualty Fraud

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Fraud Future Series: Casualty Fraud

Published 31 mayo 2022

Welcome to the third instalment of the DACB Fraud Future Series, where we continue with our appraisal of predictions made prior to the Whiplash Reforms, using analytics to understand what has transpired.

In this instalment we look more closely at the expected insurgence of COVID-related claims and increases in public liability claims.

A Rise In COVID Claims

Prediction: COVID related EL/PL claims are expected to rise.

The large insurgence of COVID-related EL/PL fraud claims expected has not yet materialised despite the efforts of claims farmers who reacted at speed to the pandemic setting up specific COVID claims management companies. However, we have seen a 143% increase in numbers of non-fraud claims involving COVID between 2020 and 2021. COVID has undoubtedly  led to casualty claims, although in lower numbers than expected to date, and this is likely to follow into the casualty fraud arena with COVID providing fraudsters with a new opportunity, albeit that the impact of such claims may not be seen for another year or two.   

We expect that COVID claims will still feature in the future of casualty fraud, albeit that given the complex causation arguments, it may be that claimant lawyers will avoid direct COVID claims. We have seen indirect COVID claims, such as discrimination claims brought by those who have not worn facemasks when it was a legal requirement to do so and public liability claims arising from slips and trips on hand sanitiser though volumes are still relatively low.

Verdict: Untrue – on current data our prediction is untrue in respect of EL/PL fraud claims, as the expected rise has not occurred… yet!  We will keep this under review.

Increase In Supermarket Claims

Prediction: A rise in supermarket claims.

Our claims volumes confirm that the predicted rise in supermarket claims has occurred with an increase in both PL and EL claims in supermarkets. The reason for this may be because the opportunity to slip and trip in other locations was reduced during the various lockdowns coupled with the effect COVID had on staffing levels and numbers of visitors inside the stores thus creating more opportunity for “accidents” to occur but overall we have seen proportionate increase of these claims.

Verdict: True.

Increase In Slips, Trips And Falls

Prediction: An increase in fraudulent slip, trip and fall claims.

The number of fraudulent claims involving slips, trips and falls has remained largely static over the last three years.

We have however, seen an increase in the extent of exaggeration in such claims, which we also predicted as claimants and their representatives seek to increase the value of claims with injury and costs layering and special damages in order to avoid the small claims limit. The number of slip, trip and fall claims involving exaggeration has increased over the last three years as follows:

Verdict: Untrue in respect of the number of claims involving slips, trips and falls, which have remained static but there has been a steady increase in exaggeration of these claims.

What Next?

Whilst the outcome of our predictions is, to some extent, still inconclusive, perhaps due to the unavoidable restrictions and pressures on the general public, claimant law firms and the court system over the last couple of years, it is clear to see that casualty fraud continues to grow and is currently the focus of many claimant law firms who are migrating from the motor arena into casualty. As we have emphasised in previous Fraud Future alerts, early fraud identification together with focused strategic and intelligence-led investigations are key. For further information, please contact:

Authors

Claire Laver

Claire Laver

Birmingham

+44 (0)121 698 5730

Helen Laight

Helen Laight

Newcastle

+44 (0) 191 404 4087

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