It’s almost an inevitable fact of human life that the criminal mind, like a constantly mutating virus strain, will always find another way to get round a previously exploited illegal activity, which has been exposed and is no longer a secret seam to mine for ill gotten gain.
It’s barely been a week or so since the Transport Select Committee (TSC) published the findings of their year long consultation into whiplash injury and the impact upon the insurance industry.
Their report clearly sides with the legal and medical profession that has stated all along that the majority of whiplash claims are totally genuine and it is the insurance industry driving up hysteria with grossly exaggerated claim figures, which they linked to increased insurance premiums. The real figure for whiplash compensation claims was actually revealed to be just 7 per cent.
It has been reported that as many as fifty criminal gangs were responsible for much of the fraudulent activity, consisting of “crash for cash” scams involving the sudden and unexpected “slamming on of the brakes” of a gang member’s vehicle travelling just ahead of a chosen victim’s car. Inevitably, the victim is unable to stop in time and ploughs in to the rear.
The gang member then puts in a claim for whiplash injury, which has been found was rarely checked by insurers for medical authenticity nor followed up with a proper criminal investigation. Instead, the ordinary unfortunate victims of a collision were collectively “demonised” and their voice, which often simply calls for their legal representatives to obtain “justice” above all, would be drowned out by the condemnation of insurers.
In the light of the intense publicity over the last few years, culminating in the TSC report and the forthcoming government legislation aimed at reforming the claims system, it’s not surprising to hear that the criminal gangs have devised another similar but equally devious scam.
Already dubbed as “flash-for-cash”, car drivers – especially the most vulnerable, such as women with children and the elderly – are being duped by criminals who flash their headlights to allow other drivers to pass through then deliberately crash into them.
As most drivers are aware, the long-established “courtesy” gesture of briefly flashing the headlights does not mean that permission has been given by the driver to allow another driver through but is simply a warning alert. According to the Highway Code, the flashing of headlights is simply “to let other road users know that you are there.”
In other words, it should never be assumed that flashing headlights is a signal to invite another vehicle to proceed. Unfortunately, it’s all too likely that the unsuspecting driver will move forward and be instantly caught in a deadly trap as the gang member’s vehicle simply crashes into the victim’s car.
Already, it’s been reported “flash-for-cash” cases are more of a challenge to positively resolve at a court hearing as it can simply be the innocent driver’s word against the criminal’s word.
Camps Solicitors are concerned that, once again, the pursuance of justice on behalf of claimants could be compromised. Insurers must take more decisive steps to tackle yet another variation of “crash for cash” criminal fraud before crying ‘whiplash wolf’ if and when figures start to rise once more.