Footballer ordered to pay Aviva’s £11,000 costs after phony whiplash claim

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A footballer who made a dishonest claim for whiplash after a car accident has been ordered to pay Aviva’s costs of £11,000.

Twenty-four-year-old Gary Burnett, a semi-professional player with Cheshire-based Northwich Victoria, made the claim following an accident at a drive-thru restaurant in Birkenhead, Merseyside.

However, Insurance Age reports that his insurer Aviva became suspicious of the claim after no injuries were reported at the time of the accident and the damage was minor.

Burnett also posted a message on Twitter about playing 24 hours after the collision.

He had claimed that he suffered injuries to his neck and back, leaving him unable to play for his team, Cheshire-based Northwich Victoria, for around four weeks.

The claim was worth up to £2,000. Aviva immediately launched an investigation into the football player and found his Twitter account where he had tweeted about playing when he had claimed he could not.

The claim was ruled fundamentally dishonest, which removes the protection claimants have from paying the other party’s costs and opens the door to a criminal conviction, and the case was dropped by Burnett’s solicitors.

A hearing was held at Wigan County Court on 13th July and the Judge ordered Burnett to pay Aviva’s costs of more than £11,000.

Aviva global claims director Dave Lovely said the case highlights how a minor claim can be seen as an open-goal for fraudsters.

“We are determined to tackle these fraudulent claimants and stop them scoring against us and our customers. It shows that we will pursue and prosecute those who commit fraud, while taking care of genuine claimants,” he said.