The Azimi Group Litigation – (Fraud)
Lawtel - 8 WLUK 243 – HHJ Mitchell
Orchestrated slam-on staged accidents “swindle” exposed.
Marcus Grant, instructed by Keoghs LLP (Fiona Snow and her Team), acted for the Defendants and their Insurers in five cases heard consecutively over 12 days before His Honour Judge Mitchell, the Designated Civil Judge at Central London County Court. In each case the Claimant claimed that he or she had braked in reaction to the sudden and erratic manoeuvre of a car ahead. In contrast, the Defendant drivers (all driving commercial vehicles) claimed that the Claimant had braked with wholly inappropriate force and with the deliberate intent of causing a collision to occur, acting in collusion with a decoy vehicle. The Judge found that each of these 8 collisions had been deliberately induced. In three of the cases he also found that the Claimant and / or the Claimant’s alleged passengers had not even been present at the time of the collision. Use was also made of similar fact evidence showing how many claims passing through the same accident management company had been abandoned. The Judge concluded his judgment by stating in unequivocal terms that the message must get out to the public that if they engage in such a “swindle” then they face the risk of contempt proceedings and a sentence of immediate imprisonment, even if of previous good character. All the cases were dismissed with orders for indemnity costs and substantial interim payments on account of costs.
This was a ground-breaking case in that it was the first time that a Court has been invited to consider similar fact evidence from conjoined cases when considering alleged deliberately induced car crashes, colloquially known as ‘slam-on collisions’. This type of fraud is considered by motor insurers to be endemic across the country. The similar fact evidence was critical in enabling the Court to discern recurring themes of the modus operandi of the fraudsters.