Source: Insurance Age | 16 Jul 2015
Tags: Aviva | fraud
Football player ordered to pay Aviva's costs of more than £11,000 after his whiplash claim was dropped.
A court has ruled that a semi-professional football player made a dishonest claim for whiplash following a minor car accident after he tweeted about playing 24 hours after the collision.
Gary Burnett, 24, made the claim following an accident at a drive-thru restaurant in Birkenhead, Merseyside, where no injuries were reported and the damage was minor, which made his insurer Aviva suspicious.
Burnett claimed he had suffered injuries to his neck and back, leaving him unable to play for his team, Cheshire-based Northwich Victoria, for around four weeks. The claim was worth up to £2,000.
Aviva immediately launched an investigation into the football player and found his Twitter account where he had tweeted about playing when he had claimed he could not.
The claim was ruled fundamentally dishonest, which removes the protection claimants have from paying the other party's costs and opens the door to a criminal conviction, and the case was dropped by Burnett's solicitors.
A hearing was held at Wigan County Court on 13 July and the Judge ordered Burnett to pay Aviva's costs of more than £11,000.
Dave Lovely, Aviva global claims director, said: "This case highlights how a minor claim can be seen as an open-goal for fraudsters.
"However, we are determined to tackle these fraudulent claimants and stop them scoring against us and our customers. It shows that we will pursue and prosecute those who commit fraud, while taking care of genuine claimants."
Jared Mallinson, partner at Horwich Farrelly, the solicitors representing Aviva, added: "The hapless footballer clearly couldn't resist boasting about his performance on social media despite claiming to have been unable to play.
"The court's decision to find him fundamentally dishonest is a red card to any would-be fraudster that they will be caught."