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The spectre of fraud lurking behind RTA claims

Practitioners must be cautious when dealing with doubtful claims, as a loosely pleaded defence could be struck out with painful costs consequences, warns Roger Cooper

20 April 2016

To be involved in a road traffic accident (RTA) with a stranger once is unfortunate, to be involved in two accidents with the same person is remarkable, but to be involved in three such accidents with the same person over the space of a few months suggests fraud.

In Francis v Wells [2007] EWCA Civ 1350, Mr Tyrone Reeves alleged that he had been one of three passengers in a vehicle being driven by a Miss Wells in Manchester when she drove out from a minor road into the path of a Peugeot being driven by Mr Senghore. Wells's motor insurers discovered that over a period of only a few months Reeves had been involved in two other RTAs involving Senghore.

This prompted the insurers to apply to withdraw an admission made on behalf of Wells and to allege that the claims brought by the passengers claiming to have been in Wells's car were fraudulent, arising out of a conspiracy between them and Senghore.

At trial, notwithstanding a number of inconsistencies in t...

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