False Whiplash Claim Footballer Ordered To Compensate Insurer
Footballer that made a false whiplash injury claim following a collision to compensate insurer having exposed his lie on Twitter.
A footballer that made a false whiplash claim after a traffic accident then bragged about continuing to play on social media has been ordered by a court to compensate his insurer, thisismoney.co.uk reported. Semi-professional striker Gary Burnett – who at the time played for the eighth tier team Northwich Victoria – tried to claim £2,000 following a collision in a Mercedes-Benz Vito. The impact was at a drive-through restaurant in Birkenhead, in October 2013. No injuries were reported and the damage was minor. However, the part time window cleaner claimed that he could not play for weeks due to shoulder and neck injuries.
Mr Burnett – who is 24 and now plays for Curzon Ashton in the National League North – took to Twitter the next day to highlight a forthcoming match. He said: “nice little trek to Kendal later for footy”. 3 weeks later he returned to the social media site to mention knocking a higher ranked team out of the FA Trophy via a second-half goal. He said: “great result today against higher opposition, the lads were different class and good to get a goal too #vics #FaTrophy.” This Twitter account was publicly accessible.
False Whiplash Claim Investigated By Insurer
Insurance company Aviva instructed Horwich Farrelly Solicitors to investigate the validity of the whiplash claim. A representative found the tweets that mentioned recent football matches. A judge at Wigan County Court therefore said Burnett had misled solicitors, medical experts and the court.
He concluded his actions were fundamentally dishonest and ordered him to pay £11,000 to cover the insurer's costs. Burnett was penalised under new rules that came into force in April 2015. These require a court to strike out any personal injury claim if it is satisfied - on a balance of probabilities - that the claimant has been fundamentally dishonest.
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.” The insurance specialist added: “It shows that we will pursue and prosecute those who commit fraud while taking care of genuine claimants.”
Jared Mallinson, Partner at Horwich Farrelly, added: 'The hapless footballer clearly couldn't resist boasting about his performance on social media despite claiming to have been unable to play. He concluded: “The court's decision to find him fundamentally dishonest is a red card to any would-be fraudster that they will be caught.”