Car accidents can be a traumatic and stressful experience, and unfortunately, some people try to take advantage of the situation by committing fraud. Car accident fraud is a type of insurance fraud that involves staging or exaggerating car accidents to collect insurance money. In this article, we’ll discuss what car accident fraud is, how to recognize it, and what to do if you suspect you’ve been a victim of fraud.
What is Car Accident Fraud?
Car accident fraud can take many forms, but it typically involves intentionally causing a car accident or exaggerating the damage or injuries resulting from an actual accident. The fraudster then files an insurance claim to collect a payout from the insurance company.
Types of Car Accident Fraud
There are several types of car accident fraud, including:
- Staged Accidents: These are accidents that are intentionally caused by one or more drivers involved in the accident.
- Paper Accidents: These are accidents that are completely fabricated, with no actual accident occurring.
- Phantom Passengers: This is when the other party claims that there were passengers in their car at the time of the accident, even if there weren’t any.
- Exaggerated Injuries: This is when a fraudster claims to have more severe injuries than they actually do to collect a higher payout from the insurance company.
For a more concrete example, say you are turning left, and a driver intentionally sideswipes you in order to make a fraudulent insurance claim. You did nothing wrong in this situation. An attorney can help you defend yourself from these fabricated claims.
How to Recognize Car Accident Fraud
Recognizing car accident fraud can be difficult, but there are some signs to look out for, including:
- Suspicious injuries, such as injuries that don’t match the type of accident or injuries that aren’t consistent with the severity of the accident
- Inconsistent or conflicting statements from drivers or witnesses
- Unwillingness to involve law enforcement or exchange insurance information
- Irregular activities at the accident scene, like drivers involved in the accident leaving, or outside parties approaching you immediately at the scene.
What to Do if You Suspect Car Accident Fraud
If you suspect car accident fraud, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Contact your insurance company: Let your insurance company know that you suspect fraud and provide any evidence you have.
- Report the fraud to law enforcement: Report the suspected fraud to your local law enforcement agency or the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
- Consult with an attorney: If you’ve been a victim of car accident fraud, consult with an attorney who specializes in car accidents to explore your legal options. The car accident lawyers at Smith LaCien, LLP in Chicago can help you fight back against these fraudulent claims and get fair and just compensation.
How to Protect Yourself from Car Accident Fraud
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from car accident fraud, including:
- Drive defensively: Be aware of your surroundings and avoid risky driving behaviors that could lead to an accident.
- Keep detailed records: Keep a record of your car’s maintenance, repairs, and any accidents you’re involved in.
- Take photos at the scene: Take photos of the damage to your car and any injuries you or your passengers sustain.
Car accident fraud is a serious issue that can cost insurance companies and consumers millions of dollars each year. By being aware of the signs of fraud and taking steps to protect yourself, you can help prevent yourself from becoming a victim.