First it was ‘crash for cash’, then ‘flash for cash’, now another variation appears in the whiplash fraudster’s “dirty driving” manual – ‘crash the bus for cash’. Not exactly a new tactic but London bus companies say they are now increasingly concerned over the number of claims being made against them for whiplash injury.
Recently, both the recent Transport Select Committee (TSC) Report and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) have found that a small number of gangs operating with a high number of gang members were shown to have been responsible for creating the insurance industry’s so-called “whiplash capital of the world.”
Apart from the TSC finding that the real figure for fraudulent whiplash compensation claims was actually just 7 per cent, a freedom of information request submitted by the APIL disclosed that in 2012 /13 there were 488,281 whiplash claims – a reduction of 60,000 on the previous 12 months and the lowest level for five years.
Staging of elaborate operations...
Similar to deliberately causing a victim’s car to be shunted by a gang member’s vehicle suddenly braking, the variation involves driving into buses, sometimes when the gang member is not even in the vehicle.
Increasingly, investigations discover elaborate operations where accidents are staged with all the passengers on board a coach which is in contact with a gang vehicle will all be colluding in the fraud to claim whiplash injury.
One example includes a full coach taking 30 men to a Manchester dog track from Bootle, Merseyside, supposedly hit in the rear by a vehicle despite the driver feeling no impact and with no damage to the coach, yet all 30 men on the coach claimed whiplash compensation. Later investigation found there was no booking at the dog track for the coach group.
Deliberately driving into buses ...
In a similar case, a vehicle was driven into the side of a bus and a total of 36 fake claims were made. The organisers of this crime are thought to belong to an underworld gang.
In August, a bogus bus crash was staged in Sheffield by 26 “passengers “ including the bus driver who deliberately drove his double decker into the back of a car.
One year earlier, a 30 year old man who had claimed for 17 whiplash accidents in eight years alleged that he and three others were in a parked car when it was hit by a National Express bus. At the subsequent court hearing, it was found that the collision victim had claimed for three separate whiplash accidents every year since 2003.
Currently, there are proposals to implement a more rigorous and thorough examination by a board of independent medical specialists. The aim is to prevent any fraudulent claims being made based on a lack of genuine supporting evidence.
More importantly, the process should help protect the legal entitlement of the 9 in 10 genuine victims of car collisions who make a claim for whiplash.