14th May 2014
A gang who are accused of faking road crashes in order to make a personal injury claim have been ordered to return to court in April after proceedings began this week.
Yusuf Mohammed Wasway, Aziz Bham, Ibrahim Seedat, Ismail Seedat, Sabina Patel and Ahmed Patel, from various addresses in Blackburn, stand accused of fraud by false representation after claiming they had suffered neck injuries as a result of an incident at junction six of the M65 in 2008.
The incident centred on a blue Audi A3 that was driven by Wasway and a black Vauxhall Astra which was allegedly driven by Ibrahim Seedat, according to police. The other four were said to be passengers at the time of the crash.
Wasway's insurers paid him £1,800 in damages for the damage to his car, but did not pay out the personal injury claims submitted by the group, instead choosing to contact police when they became suspicious.
False neck injury claims after staged car accidents are becoming more common, as criminals see it as an easy way to make money. Recently, Chief Superintendent Geraint Anwyl of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) told a Commons select committee that "major frauds that are now occurring are linked to organised crime. An entire incident is contained within a group, often related to each other."
According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), there were around 30,000 crashes staged in the UK last year, with each personal injury claim averaging out at £17,000. The criminals often regard it as a victimless crime, but this isn't the case for two reasons – for one, insurers are having to pay out for more accidents as a result, meaning that the premiums for all of their customers need to increase to plug the gap.
Another consequence of the false claims is that it leads to a certain level of stigmatism for drivers and passengers who suffer genuine neck injuries in crashes, as they fear that their personal injury claim could be seen as adding to the perceived 'compensation culture'.
However, genuine people who have suffered a neck injury needn't worry, as their personal injury claim will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, so the behaviour of scammers won't affect their situation.
Whiplash can often take a few weeks to manifest itself into noticeable pain too, so if you suffer a sudden jolt whilst in a car or on something else that travels at speed like a rollercoaster, you could still make a personal injury claim some time later.