Because of the worldwide economic downturn, fake vehicular accidents are on the rise. COVID-19 and its impact on economies everywhere mean that many individuals are experiencing the kind of financial hardship that can push honest people into desperate actions, including insurance fraud.
“When push comes to shove, the normal mind is sometimes convinced to change into a fullback,” Sigmund Freud famously quipped.
Staged accidents occur when one or more people fake an accident or conspire to create circumstances that cause real or imaginary injury to one another. These accidents can result in real injuries and high costs to insurance companies and law enforcement organizations.
This kind of fraud is illegal under both civil and criminal law according to Aaron Allison. Soft fraud is much more prevalent than hard fraud. It most often happens in legitimate claims when claimants exaggerate their injuries to get more compensation than they actually deserve. Claimants may also fake an injury by portraying a former injury as the foundation for a current claim.
One of the keys to combating vehicle insurance fraud is ensuring there is solid documentation for an accident. Poor documentation of an accident and resulting injuries can be a clear sign of fraud. For that reason, individuals who have been actually harmed in a car accident should take every measure to ensure they have proper documentation of the accident and any resulting injuries. Otherwise, they risk being lumped with those who may be overstating their damages to try to trick insurers into undeserved payouts.
Likewise, it’s smart to carry uninsured motorist coverage. After all, if you’re a driver in an accident with a scammer trying to get a payout from your insurance company, there is a chance that they themselves lack insurance. Even if they provide “proof” of insurance following what you perceive to be a totally accidental crash, there is a chance such proof could be fake. Regardless, take down whatever information you can, and take as many pictures as possible of their documentation, ID, and the accident scene.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s important to seek the legal counsel of an experienced car accident attorney who has your best interests at heart. Such an attorney can conduct its independent investigation to determine whether you’ve been the victim of a scammer who purposely staged your accident to get your insurance to pay out. This can include subpoenaing the alleged victim’s medical records. It can also mean providing your own medical records if you’ve been injured in someone’s attemmpt to collect an easy paycheck. That can help ensure that your premiums don’t go up as the result of a fake car accident or faked injuries.
Being on the road can be dangerous on its own. You shouldn’t also have to worry about people seeking to commit insurance fraud by purposely crashing into you and faking insuries. Unfortunately, this happens more than you might think, so it’s important to be aware of this problem and how to protect yourself if you’ve been in an accident and someone is claiming damages that seem overblown.