- Allianz and DWF expose false claim following alleged accident at a fireworks display.
- Claimant tried to pursue compensation and costs in excess of £100,000.
- The claimant lied throughout and ordered to pay back £25,000 in costs.
Allianz and partners DWF have won a recent fraudulent case after a claimant's injury was found to be fundamentally dishonest, despite them attempting to withdraw the case a month before the trial date.
The case highlights a marked increase in casualty fraud that Allianz have seen compared to 2022 figures, with current casualty fraud claims sitting at 20% above mid-year expectations.
The alleged incident took place in November 2019 at a firework display at a Cricket & Sport Club where the claimant, Miss Woodfin, said she tripped over a concrete block, fracturing her shoulder. She subsequently brought a claim for compensation and legal costs of over £100,000 against the club, however there were suspicions that the incident didn’t take place from the start.
Following a hearing before a Judge at Manchester County Court, Allianz’s customer, and solicitor firm DWF were successful in pursuing its indemnity costs from the claimant, in excess of £25,000 – despite the claimant stating she’d rather ‘do time than give them the money’.
Evidence gathered surrounding the claim highlighted discrepancies right from the start which included:
- The incident and injury were not reported at the time, despite marshals being across the site for the duration of the event.
- Miss Woodfin relied on the evidence of a man she claimed helped her up, despite initially stating two girls assisted her in the situation.
- Concerns about the witness were intensified when he was said to have come forward a year after the supposed incident, after a chance meeting of the claimant's boyfriend in a local shop.
Further social media investigations indicated a far closer relationship between the witness and Miss Woodfin, resulting in the claimant withdrawing her claim, rather than answer questions about their connection.
The catalogue of errors continued following a review of Miss Woodfin’s DWP records by a medical expert, which highlighted extensive historical medical problems that she had not disclosed to either her own expert, or the defendant's expert at the time of the claim. This threw further doubt into the validity of the incident at the firework display.
Summing up at the hearing the Judge confirmed that the claim was fundamentally dishonest both in terms of the incident itself, the fake witness, and the claimants failure to give a proper account of her medical history. The Judge set aside the "shield" of QOCS and ordered Miss Woodfin to pay the defendant's costs in excess of £25,000.
James Burge, head of counter fraud at Allianz Commercial, commented:
“Despite not ending in a trial, the UK legal system shows that there are ways and means to ensure that people dishonestly filing personal injury claims against our customers, do not get away scot-free.
“The results highlight the tenacity that we have across our teams and partners in ensuring that our honest customers are supported each step of the way”
Jonathan Head, director with DWF, said:
"This outcome is a testament to the teamwork between Allianz, DWF, Allianz's customer and the team of legal and medical experts working with us. It showcases that, even where claims are withdrawn, defendants can recover their costs – claimants should think again, if they believe they can abandon a false claim, and walk away without consequence."
The case continues as the move is to now recover costs for the club.
*Qualified One-way Costs Shifting – a shield which usually protects unsuccessful claimants from having to pay defendants’ costs.
DWF is a leading global provider of integrated legal and business services. Delivering legal services, legal operations, and business services across eight key sectors.
For further information please contact: Sara Robinson, PR Consultant, Corporate Communications, Allianz Insurance plc.
About Allianz Holdings plc
Allianz Holdings plc is the non-regulated holding company which owns the principal insurance operations of Allianz SE in Great Britain including Allianz Insurance
The Allianz Group is one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers with more than 122 million* private and corporate customers in more than 70 countries. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life and health insurance to assistance services to credit insurance and global business insurance. Allianz is one of the world’s largest investors, managing around 717 billion euros** on behalf of its insurance customers. Furthermore, our asset managers PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors manage about 1.7 trillion euros** of third-party assets. Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business processes and investment decisions, we are among the leaders in the insurance industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2022, over 159,000 employees achieved total revenues of 152.7 billion euros and an operating profit of 14.2 billion euros for the group***.
*Including non-consolidated entities with Allianz customers.
**As of March 31, 2023
***As reported – not adjusted to reflect the application of IFRS 9 and IFRS 17.
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