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Surrey Council defeats insurance fraud case

Surrey Council defeats insurance fraud case

Surrey Council defeats insurance fraud case A man who claimed a raised kerbstone in Surrey County Council’s area caused him to trip and injure his wrist has been sentenced with jail time after his claim was defeated in court, all thanks to a little help from Facebook.

Mr Wootton, of Ashford, claimed he tripped on the kerb in December 2010 which caused him to damage his wrist. He sought several thousand pounds in compensation from Surrey County Council, holding them responsible for upkeep of the kerb.

However, he withdrew his claim in April 2015 when DWF, the law firm acting on behalf of Surrey County Council, found a Facebook post that indicated something else entirely. Wootton jokingly messaged a friend “alcohol and icy pavements don’t mix”, and hospital records also showed he initially told doctors he slipped on a patch of ice.

Sitting at the High Court, His Honour Judge Simpkiss sentenced Wootton to 12 months in prison for contempt of court. His jail time was suspended due to his personal circumstances. Stuart and Lorraine Harris, who claimed to have witnessed the accident, were also sentenced to six months. The defendants were also ordered to cover the Council’s legal fees.

Insurance manager for Surrey Council Andrew Prior said fighting fraudulent insurance claims is a high priority for the authority.

“We have a responsibility to all residents when it comes to spending council taxpayers’ money,” said Prior. “As yesterday’s judgement shows, we will, where necessary, tackle fraudulent claims through the courts. We would strongly urge residents who are contacted by so called ‘no win, no fee’ personal injury firms to think about the implications of making false claims.”


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