Unfortunately, due to the tough economic times, people are taking desperate measures to make some extra money. It is becoming more and more common for people to try to make a living off of filing fake insurance injury claims in Connecticut. This is a very serious crime that can result in heavy fines or even jail. There are also consequences for law-abiding people; a fraudulent claim against you could result in inflated insurance charges, insurance coverage cancellation, or pursued payment beyond what the insurance company pays.
The costs of fraudulent claims to insurance companies and policy holders are obvious, because the scammers benefit from an insurance policy they’re not entitled to. However, since insurance companies have to protect themselves, fraudulent claims have made insurance premiums more expensive for everyone. The situation is stressful and frustrating to deal with, but what few people realize is that the consequences of fraudulent claims harm more than just the insurance company; in some ways, insurance fraud hurts everyone. In a state like Connecticut, the higher premiums also lead to many uninsured drivers.
There are many different forms and strategies people use in committing insurance fraud. It happens in the Waterbury, Danbury, and Norwalk areas more than you would think. The most common is when people file for an injury that is nonexistent, exaggerated, or unrelated to the accident they are filing for. In some cases, people will even choreograph and rehearse accidents before going out on the road and causing a real accident on purpose. Staging accidents is one of the most dangerous, as it can go very wrong and hurt or even kill the victims of the accident. For example, one method of staging an accident occurs at intersections. In this scenario, the person will wait for your car to go through, claim you ran a stop sign or a red light, and t-bone your car.
Another situation is when people wave you on and purposely hit you, claiming that they never gave you a wave and the accident was your fault.
Some other forms of fraud include:
- Jumping in front of cars
- Slamming on the brakes so that you rear-end their car
- Faking injuries after an accident (Back pain and whiplash are the most common because
they are difficult to disprove)
- Reporting a car missing
- Inflating injuries or damages from an accident
- Faking a slip and fall
- Blaming an injury that occurred somewhere else on an accident
If you are involved in any kind of motor vehicle accident, follow these steps to defend yourself
against a potential fraudulent claim:
1. Call the police and file police report of the accident. Do not fall for the trick that if you
just exchange information everything will be fine.
2. Take extensive pictures and notes of the damages
3. Get the contact information of all people involved, including passengers, drivers and
– Driver license number
– Vehicle registration information
– Car insurance information
– Name, address, phone number
4. Keep all of your records
5. Do not try to settle the matter on site with cash
Be careful not disclose personal information that could be stolen and used for identity theft purposes. Also, be careful about what you say at the scene of the accident and after. Do not admit fault at the scene. Instead, let the police officer decide who is to blame. Afterwards, watch what you say on social media because nothing is actually private and a seemingly harmless tweet or status could come back to haunt you.
An insurance company will look at a person’s claims history as one method of determining the likelihood of a fraudulent claim. Someone who has submitted a lot of claims in their life would signal a red flag for insurance adjusters. Insurance companies also notice if there are any patterns in a person’s claims history.
Keep in mind that the more information you have, the weaker their false claim becomes. If you experience any injuries, seek medical care immediately with a doctor you know. Medical reports are used to investigate claims, so don’t let strangers badger you into going to a specific doctor, mechanic, or lawyer that they recommend because they could give the other person false endorsements. If you need representation, get experienced auto accident attorney that you can trust to defend you.
The best way to protect yourself from becoming a victim to fraudulent claims is to always drive safely and defensively. Obey the area’s traffic laws so that you can not be blamed for an accident. This means never tailgating, avoid texting, properly signaling, and carefully watching other drivers and pedestrians on the road.