General Insurance Article - Fraudster must pay up after claiming twice for injuries


A personal assistant to ultra-high net worth families must pay over £11,000 in legal costs after she claimed twice for the same set of minor injuries.

 Monique Jayasuriya, 34, of Hanwell, West London, was involved in two car accidents in one month, only one of which resulted in injuries. However, she submitted two claims for injuries after failing to disclose all the facts to medical examiners.

 Judge Ross sitting at Brentford County Court said that Ms Jayasuriya had been fundamentally dishonest and should pay the costs of insurance company Aviva.

 In late 2019, Ms Jayasuriya’s car was involved in two accidents. In November, Ms Jayasuriya’s car was hit on a mini roundabout on St George’s Road, Hanwell. In December, her car was shunted from the rear on Upper Grosvenor Street, Mayfair.

 Although she initially reported she was unharmed after the first accident, during a medical examination in January 2020, she failed to tell the physician that she had subsequently been involved in a second accident.

 Ms Jayasuriya subsequently made two claims. For the first accident, she claimed for personal injuries, physiotherapy, an MRI scan, and the loss of four months’ gym membership. For the second accident, she claimed for migraines, injuries to her left arm and right shoulder as well as nerve damage to her lower back. She again claimed for the loss of gym membership.

 But evidence found by Aviva’s law firm Clyde & Co revealed that Ms Jayasuriya had not told medical examiners that she had been in two accidents, nor had she been honest about the nature of her injuries.

 The judge was also doubtful as to whether Ms Jayasuriya had actually sustained any injuries at all in the first accident. Evidence showed she had told some medical examiners that, at the time of the second accident, she was ‘fully fit’.

 Damian Rourke, Partner at Clyde & Co, said: “Ms Jayasuriya tried to double her money by claiming for the same injuries twice and because of that, she’s ended up with a bill for £11,000. Had she told the truth and claimed once for the injuries she undoubtedly had, she would have been properly compensated. Because of her dishonesty, she’s lost it all.”

 Rob Lee, Director of Casualty Claims at Aviva, said: “At Aviva, we are here to pay genuine claims quickly. But where we detect fraud or fundamentally dishonest behaviour, we will challenge that to protect our customers from the negative impact of fraud on their premiums. Ms Jayasuriya’s experience is a timely reminder that honesty is the best policy and that insurance fraud is a crime.”

 In her defence, Ms Jayasuriya argued that she had not fully understood the legal process and that her solicitors had exaggerated her injuries in order to increase their earnings. The judge rejected her explanation noting that, as an assistant to ultra-high-net worth families, she was used to being precise and multi-tasking. She also, the judge concluded, had enough experience of life to understand the workings of the court.

 Judge Ross said: “The claimant contended she was innocent in not knowing about litigation and how cases work. I reject that…She may consider herself to be a fair person, she did not act fairly.”
  

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