Innocent victims of a road traffic accident are being sent letters by firms acting on behalf of insurers, which appear to suggest that those who have suffered an injury may be committing a fraud.
One recent accident victim was directly sent a standard 'intimidating' letter, three pages long, which contained a statement warning the victim that “fraud can be punishable by a prison sentence.”
Concern has been expressed that the letter seems to automatically presume that the victim may be guilty of fraud without the insurer possessing any evidence or proof upon which to base their warning. Currently, the victim is making a claim for injuries suffered in a road accident, for which the insurer has already paid for vehicle damage.
Equally worrying is the prospect that the letter may not be an isolated case and could potentially be sent to hundreds of thousands of innocent traffic accident victims. It has been noted that the letter appears to be a standard issue document because the ‘name of solicitor’, which to be entered is printed alongside in brackets.
More alarmingly still, the victim appears to have no protection against further intrusive behaviour by the firm representing the insurers. According to the letter, the victim will have his “personal data passed to the Government, fraud detection bodies and other insurers” and also wants to know why the claim is being made in the first place.
In July 2013, the Transport Select Committee (TSC) Consultation acknowledged Government figures, which show that the number of whiplash claims actually fell to a five year low and continues to decline.
The Committee was also not satisfied with insurer’s figures, strongly advising for the provision of “better data about fraudulent or exaggerated claims.” At one Parliamentary debate held in November 2013, the ministers present were reminded that when the Committee debate the whiplash claims issue, “ it is important to remember that although we wish to root out fraud, we also want to protect the genuine claimant.”