A semi-professional footballer has had to drop his case and pay the defendant’s full legal fees after misleading the Court in an insurance claim. Following an investigation by Aviva and Horwich Farrelly, the UK’s leading counter-fraud legal specialists, it was found that he had scored a hat trick for his club Arbroath, despite claiming to have suffered whiplash injuries in a car accident just hours before.
On 15 September 2018, the claimant, Robert ‘Bobby’ Linn, was driving his vehicle on the exit road from Tesco Extra in Dundee when Aviva’s customer exited a petrol station and collided with his vehicle. Liability for the incident was admitted. However, the collision was so minor that the customer disputed Mr Linn could have possibly been injured in the accident.
Mr Linn produced a medical report and lodged pleadings in Court which stated that he had suffered soft tissue injuries to his neck with the pain and restrictions having lasted for a month. However, while his occupation as a binman was recorded, in every document produced Mr Linn omitted to mention that he was also a footballer and had continued to play without restriction.
The specialist investigations team at Horwich Farrelly found extensive social media footage and press reporting of Mr Linn playing for the then Scottish League One leaders Arbroath just hours after the accident! Not only had he played for the club that day, but he had scored a hat trick and was awarded SPFL Player of the Week for his performance during the game. He went on to play a further four matches during the period he was allegedly suffering from his injuries.
Despite this, the action was not dismissed at the outset and was continued with for 15 months before Mr Linn abandoned his claim with the prospect of having to give evidence in Court under oath looming. He also agreed to pay the defender’s full legal fees.
Steven Smart, Partner at Horwich Farrelly, added: “In the English and Welsh courts, such behaviour is called fundamental dishonesty and the claim would have been dismissed at an early stage. Despite a clear decision to withhold information from the court to secure payment for an, at best, highly dubious claim, this action was dragged out until the eve of a civil trial. Fortunately for the policyholder who would have been impacted, Aviva’s robust counter-fraud stance and partnership with Horwich Farrelly led to my outstanding colleagues in our investigations and legal teams maintaining a successful defence. The just outcome was eventually reached, albeit at unnecessary cost and wasted court time.”
Rob Lee, Fraud Prevention Director at Aviva, said: “Mr Linn’s bogus claim highlights the importance of the whiplash reforms which Aviva championed and which were brought in last year. These new rules should help to reduce the incidence of such flagrant exaggeration of injuries for personal gain. We will not tolerate fraudulent and inflated claims, and we have a duty to detect and deter these claims from impacting on our customers’ premiums.”