In 2014, there were an estimated 2 million accidents across the United States. Higher premiums are one of the ways that honest citizens are paying for fraudulent claims with insurance companies. Insurance companies spend millions of dollars each year to investigate fake injury claims. Ordinary citizens are often unaware of the ways to protect themselves from fake injury claims because they don’t think like a criminal.
First, it is important to understand the two types of fraud that can occur when it comes to faking an accident:
Hard fraud occurs when someone manipulates a situation to force an accident to happen. After the accident, they’ll claim to be injured, and they will often have more than one occupant in the vehicle. The police take fraudulent accidents very seriously, and those who are caught face the possibility of jail.
This type of fraud is more common. Soft fraud occurs when those involved in an accident inflate or exaggerate their injuries to claim more money in a settlement. They might even use an old injury in a claim.
While you can’t stop a con artist from making a claim against your insurance, a DC personal injury lawyer knows you can do everything in your power to make sure that a fake claim isn’t rewarded.
After an accident, call the police to the scene. Most of the time, the police won’t respond to an incident unless there’s been an injury or the accident is blocking the roadway. While the other driver and passengers might seem to be uninjured, they could still claim injuries later. In this case, it will likely be your word against theirs without a police report.
Directly after an accident, the other driver or passengers might claim that they’re not injured. These statements are often admissible in court since the court believes that in the moments after an accident, the participants are usually truthful. Essentially, drivers usually blurt out the truth after an accident. These statements are referred to as “Res Gestae,” which are admissible in court when backed up with police reports and other facts of the case.
In a populated area, there will most likely be people who witnessed the accident. It is important to ask those near the scene of the accident if they witnessed it. It may be crucial to get their contact information and statement before they leave the scene.
If you do not gather this information, it may be extremely difficult to find these witnesses later. The witness may have seen the accident occur, or may have even seen the other driver walking around after the accident without injury. Having witnesses might sway a judge or jury to rule against the other driver.
Some of the strongest pieces of evidence in a claim are photographs. Photos may show the cars immediately after the accident or the state of the driver and passengers. If the other driver sees you taking photographs of the accident scene, they’ll likely think twice before making false claims of injury. Showing that you’re a vigilant individual demonstrates that you won’t be easily fooled.
Contact your insurance company immediately after an accident to make a report. If the other driver and passenger don’t seem to be injured, let the representative know that as well.
To deny a fraudulent injury claim, the insurance company will first need to investigate and gather evidence. Taking the steps outlined above will likely help them in the case of an investigation.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into fraudulent personal injury claims.
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