British family suspected of 40 staged crash injury claims in Republic of Ireland
A British family is currently under investigation suspected of involvement in a number of alleged staged crashes in the Republic of Ireland.
Several members of the family have brought a total of 40 personal injury claims worth over €1m (£884,000) .
They have been involved in 15 accidents between 2007 and 2015 in the Republic and the UK.
An investigation by Aviva Insurance showed they had been travelling to the Republic of Ireland every year since 2005 and had been involved in a car crash each time.
Some of the cases were rear-ending incidents and occurred on roundabouts.
Aviva, whose policyholders were involved in defending some of the claims, believes them to be fraudulent and is determined to vigorously fight them.
"Fraud tourism" has become a rising problem in the Republic of Ireland due to our high level of compensation payouts, Aviva Insurance said.
Payouts for personal injuries in the Republic are on average 4.4 times higher than in the UK, according to analysis carried out by the Government's Personal Injuries Commission. Whiplash accounted for a massive 80% of all motoring-related personal injury claims taken.
The average payout for a whiplash injury is €15,000 (£13,200) per case, compared with €5,000 (£4,400) in the UK and €3,000 (£2,700) in France and Spain.
Insurance companies have uncovered evidence of fraud tourists flying into the Republic of Ireland to make bogus car insurance claims.
A spokesperson for Aviva's investigations unit said the evidence of gardaí and emergency services personnel at the scenes of accidents had been "crucial" in helping them defend exaggerated claims.
In some cases, they found damage at the scene did not match the damage shown in photographs by the plaintiffs.
"An immediate investigation is essential. We get investigators out immediately and try to interview the third-party drivers straight away, but needless to say, some don't cooperate," said Patricia Bergin, who works with Aviva's investigations unit.
"Our policy is strictly no settlements. We are going to fight these claims all the way and then go after them for costs."