Case Studies

Low Velocity Incident
Introduction

We were instructed by our principles on the 3rd September 2013 in connection with a road traffic incident which took place on the 29th July 2013.

The incident involved two vehicles:

Claimant – Mercedes E220 CDI Avantgarde

Defendant – Citroen Dispatch 1000L 1H1

From our understanding a collision occurred between the front of the Defendant’s vehicle and the rear of the Claimant’s vehicle.

Requirements

We were requested by our principles to arrange inspection of both vehicles and based on the findings prepare a ‘CPR’ compliant consistency report.

From receipt of the original instructions contact was made via telephone, text and post with the Claimant and Defendant and engineer inspections for both vehicles arranged.

Problems

The Defendant’s Insurers in this case had concerns that they had received personal injury claims from the Claimant and a passenger. They also had concerns whether the Claimant vehicle recovery fee was justified and in line with images taken at the scene of the incident.

Findings
Defendant’s Vehicle:-

The Defendant’s vehicle was inspected on the 7th October 2013. The vehicle was in good condition with no obvious signs of any recent repairs. There was no evidence of any defects that could be identified within the scope of the inspection. No dismantling of parts took place.

At the time of the inspection nine digital images were taken. Some of the images show a ruler held against the vehicle body work as a reference point for considering damage consistency. The images have not been enhanced or edited.

The Defendant was not present at the time of the inspection.

The vehicle displayed very light collision impact damage to the centre front section.

The damage was contained to the front bumper cover which required a specialist repair and retexture.

Repair reserve was £175 inclusive of VAT.

There was no evidence of transfer of kinetic energy into the front sub structure.

The enclosed HPI report showed no previous total loss history for the vehicle.

Pre-incident market value was £11,300.

At the time of inspection the vehicle appeared roadworthy.

It was our understanding the vehicle was in the use by the owner

Claimant’s Vehicle:-

The Claimant’s vehicle was inspected on 26 September 2013. The vehicle was in below average condition with no obvious signs of any recent repairs. There was no evidence of any defects that could be identified within the scope of the inspection. No dismantling of parts took place.

At the time of the inspection 45 x digital images were taken. Some of the images show a ruler held against the vehicle body work as a reference point for considering damage consistency. The images have not been enhanced or edited.

The Claimant was not present at the time of the inspection.

At the time of our inspection no one was present, an arrangement had been made to meet a representative from the storage company there but they did not meet us in the time arranged, the vehicle was however available for inspection but was locked up restricting access to it.

The mileage of approximately 87,000 was verbally provided by the representative from the storage company who was spoken to on the phone.

The same representative was unsure as to what date the vehicle has been in storage from.

We were restricted from checking the operation of the boot lid as the vehicle was locked with both sides of the boot lid taped to the rear 1/4 panels/wings

The vehicle displayed moderate impact damage to the rear biased to the LH side, the rear bumper is insecure and the LHR lamp was cracked.

The area of damage to the rear panel was biased to the LH side. In our opinion the damage to the rear panel was not consistent with bumper to bumper contact

The boot floor well section had been cracked; although the repair methodology & costs included a “repair” It was suspected the boot floor may well have required replacement.

There was evidence of green paint transfer on the rear bumper cover.

Overall height of rear damage was measured between 17” to 27” from ground level

Our repair methodology was as follows:- Renew Repair

Rear Panel Mount vehicle onto a body jig Rear Panel Inner Pull & realign Rear Panel Inner Trim Cover LH Tail Lamp Bootfloor Complete Rear Bumper Repaint blending both rear wings Carry out engine management resets

Repair reserve was £3,400 inclusive of VAT.  Repairs taking 7 x days to complete.

During the course of the inspection it was also identified the following damaged areas on this vehicle which in our opinion were not related to this index incident under review: –

Pre-existing damage to the LH rear wheel arch & rear bumper area; where the bumper has been secured to the vehicle with cable ties

Dents evident in the RHR door

Front bumper scuffed RHF

LHR alloy wheel scuffed

The enclosed HPI report showed no previous total loss history for the vehicle

Pre-incident market value was £6,500.

During the course of the inspection it was observed that all of this vehicle’s brake discs did not display any evidence of surface corrosion which would be expected as it is claimed this vehicle has been in storage since 29 July 2013; a period of two months

It was therefore our opinion this vehicle has been in recent use.

The storage yard representative advised us of the following outstanding charges:-

a) £250 – Recovery

b) £25 – Per day storage

At the time of inspection this vehicle was not roadworthy due to the damages evident to its rear section

Conclusions

Having examined both vehicles and after comparing the outputs of both inspections against the other it was our opinion there were clear inconsistencies in the damages displayed by each vehicle.

As could be seen in the images of the “underside” of the Claimant vehicle; there were clear deformations and damage profiles which could not have been sustained in a bumper to bumper impact

It was our opinion the manner & profile in which the “underside” damage manifests itself is more consistent with the underside of this vehicle either:-

a) Having had some type of abrasive object underrun its rear section

b) Or the vehicle had been reversed over an abrasive object

It was also noted that during the course of the inspection damage was noted to the LHR wing/bumper area which was not related to the index incident under review; It was not known if this damage was sustained pre or post the date of the index incident

The Defendant vehicle did not display:-

a) A broken front number plate

b) Damage or breakage of the fragile bumper grilles

It was therefore our opinion that it was implausible to accept the Defendant vehicle caused all of the damages being claimed for by the Claimant in this index incident and that it only sustained the damage and costs reported in this report.

After comparing the damage sustained to both vehicles against the incident description, it was our opinion there was insufficient shared physical consistency of damage between the two vehicles allegedly involved.

It was our opinion that the damages being claimed for at the rear of the Claimant’s vehicle have not resulted from this single index incident alone

Outcomes

Further to the disclosure of the consistency report to the instructing principle, further Part 35 questions were presented to our Engineer from the Claimant’s representatives.

Responses were prepared and submitted as a supplementary report.

The Claimants were claiming £176,000 in damages, £161,000 of it in relation to credit hire and storage charges.

The case progressed to trial on 1st June 2016 defended on the basis that the collision was deliberately induced that the contact between the vehicles was minimal and insufficient to cause any injury, that the Claimant’s car had pre-existing damage which the Claimants dishonestly attributed to the collision, their self report of injuries was fabricated, that their attempt to claim £1,026 on physiotherapy charges for treatment that was never undergone was fraudulent and that the resulting hire of a prestige car for more than 500 days at a daily rate of £270 was obscene.

The trial was heard over two days with the court recording that all claims being brought about by the Claimants were fraudulent and fundamentally dishonest.

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