Fraudulent injury claims are not uncommon in minor accidents where a seemingly harmless fender-bender turns into a drawn out battle between insurance companies and the parties involved. It is possible for the at-fault driver to contest a fraudulent injury claim and win. The driver, however, will have to be prepared to prove the case.
At the Scene
When a minor crash occurs, many drivers exchange information and go on their way with little or no thought about a problem arising down the road. The unfortunate truth is that injury claims can come in weeks or even months after a crash, causing problems for the at-fault driver. Motorists can protect themselves from accident fraud and fraudulent injury claims by:
- Making sure the police are notified of a crash. Keep in mind that police often will not respond to minor fender benders. If this is the case, physically go to the station and file a report to make sure something is on the record.
- Taking pictures of the damage that did – or did not occur – as a result of a collision. Make sure to take pictures of all vehicles involved. If there is no visible damage at all, record this, too. The lack of damage can speak volumes about fraudulent injury claims.
- Making sure to get information, including names, addresses, telephone numbers and insurance particulars from the other involved motorists. Also take down information from any witnesses on the scene of a crash.
- Refusing to admit fault for the crash. When speaking with others at the scene, be very guarded about what is said and what isn’t said. Leave the investigating and assignment of blame to law enforcement.
What to Watch for
Even in very minor fender benders, motorists can sometimes notice behaviors that might be indicative of another driver’s willingness to make a false injury claim. Even if damage isn’t evident on the vehicles, pay attention for signs such as:
- The motorist complaining of injuries or discomfort
- The other motorist trying to assign blame even if he or she is clearly at fault
- Insistence on the use of an ambulance even if physical damage is minimal or nonexistent
Why Disputing Claims Matters
While insurance will likely absorb the cost of a fraudulent injury claim if it is not disputed, the end result can prove costly to the driver blamed. Making sure to fight suspected cases of fraud can protect the driver from:
- Inflated insurance charges
- Cancellation of insurance coverage
- Potential legal action to recover money above and beyond what insurance pays
Get a Lawyer
When a fraudulent injury claim is suspected, hiring a lawyer can be the defending party’s best course of action to take. A skilled automobile accident attorney can investigate a crash, request medical documentation and use collected evidence to successfully dispute claims of injury. Standing alone in this instance can prove costly for a motorist who believes injury reports are fabricated.