Sunday 22 April 2018

Call for new laws to punish fraudsters after spate of dodgy cases

Male stripper Nauris Zeps lost a €40,000 damages claim. Photo: Collins Courts
Male stripper Nauris Zeps lost a €40,000 damages claim. Photo: Collins Courts
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

The Government has been called on to speed up legislative changes in a bid to clamp down on fraudulent personal injuries claims.

It comes after a number of dodgy claims, where drivers falsely alleged they were injured in car crashes, were thrown out of court.

Brokers Ireland urged the Government to speed up the legislation for a national claims information database as recommended in the Government's 'Cost of Insurance Working Group' report published earlier this year.

The organisation, which represents 1,300 broker firms, also wants wider use of automated plate recognition technology.

This would show if cars are taxed and insured and would have a huge impact in eliminating or substantially reducing the number of uninsured drivers, Brian McNelis of Brokers Ireland said.

Ahead of the annual general conference of Brokers Ireland, Mr McNelis said the recent spate of court cases throwing out fraudulent claims sends "an important signal to all those with less-than-honourable intent".

He said excessive insurance costs had the most severe impact on the "squeezed middle" and young people.

The Motor Insurers' Bureau of Ireland has estimated one in every eight claims is suspicious.

Earlier this week a male stripper, who claimed he couldn't lift his children after being injured in a car crash, lost a damages claim for up to €40,000 after a court was shown footage of him performing on stage.

Nauris Zeps (32) claimed he had suffered back pain since a collision at a roundabout in 2014. But solicitors acting for Liberty Insurance unearthed footage on Facebook of Mr Zeps, originally from Latvia, showing him cavorting on a stage, taking his clothes off.

In another case, the president of the Circuit Court directed the legal team of a leading insurance company to provide papers in a fraudulent €60,000 damages claim to gardaí for investigation.

Mr Justice Raymond Groarke described Angela McDonagh as "a fraud" who had deliberately set a trap for an unsuspecting driver behind her by slamming on her brakes and causing a rear-ending accident.

The two cases prompted employer group Isme to question why "blatantly exaggerated and fraudulent claims" end up before the courts.

Irish Independent

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