National Express West Midlands v Mykel Joseph-Allen
BLM and National Express West Midlands joined forces to defend a fraudulent whiplash claim, resulting in the claimant, Mykel Joseph-Allen being sentenced on 24 March to nine months in prison for contempt of court.
Joseph-Allen witnessed a collision between a National Express West Midlands bus and a taxi in June 2015. He then boarded the bus post-accident and alleged that he had sustained injury during the collision. BLM and National Express West Midlands, suspecting his claim to be fabricated, investigated his claim further. The team uncovered the scam when CCTV footage on the bus showed him boarding the bus after the collision. The footage also showed Joseph-Allen taking pictures of the crash before boarding the bus.
Joseph Millington, counsel for National Express, said: “This was an entirely fabricated claim. Mr Joseph-Allen wasn’t on board the bus at the time it collided with the private hire vehicle. In fact, he happened upon the aftermath of the collision. Within minutes he must have concocted this scam to bring this fraudulent claim. This was a cynically opportunistic attempt to deceive West Midlands Travel, but having concocted his scam in the moments following this collision, Mr Joseph-Allen pursued his dishonest claim until less than one month before the trial."
Joseph-Allen spent over a year pursuing his claim, signing legal statements and liaising with claims handlers, lawyers and medical experts throughout. When presented with the surveillance evidence, the claimant dropped his claim one month before the case went to trial. National Express West Midlands brought a claim against him for contempt of court and he was sentenced on Friday to nine months in prison.
After the case Peter Coates, managing director of National Express West Midlands, said: "A clear message must be sent to those who pursue fraudulent claims and that the consequences will be a prison term. National Express will investigate thoroughly every claim against us.”
Verinder Bedi, lawyer at BLM, represented National Express West Midlands. He said: “We are pleased with the outcome. It is important that the courts continue to take a hard stance against those seeking to interfere with the course of justice. Would-be perpetrators wrongly believe that bringing claims like these have no impact upon the general public. The judge made it clear that these types of claims strike at the heart of the British justice system. He was right.”
Simon Hammond, BLM fraud partner, said: "BLM continues to work with our customers to ensure fraudsters are investigated and punished accordingly. This case is a further example of taking a pro-active approach to managing fraud and ensuring that prospective fraudsters are aware they cannot make fraudulent claims without the risk of serious consequences once discovered."