Dishonest motorists, passengers and pedestrians are involved in numerous auto accidents each year, and while actual damages from these accidents may be insignificant, these scammers make fraudulent claims for nonexistent injuries and property damages that can result in big bucks.
In many instances, these accidents are even staged by crime rings that target numerous innocent drivers throughout the year. Some of the more advanced crime rings even include physicians, other healthcare professionals, and entire clinics who take a cut of the claim payout. According to a study by the Insurance Research Council, approximately 10 percent of fraudulent claims are caused by organized accident staging rings.
While these criminals pad their own pockets, it’s the unsuspecting American consumer who is left to foot the bill. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, it’s estimated that falsified insurance claims cost American families approximately $200 to $300 each year in additional auto insurance premiums. Unfortunately, that amount is menial when compared with the overall impact fraudulent claims have on honest consumers.
- In addition to the monetary costs that consumers must face, these fraudulent claims often make it more difficult for true victims to receive fair compensation for actual losses and injuries, and according to Chicago auto accident lawyer Howard Ankin, “many times legitimate auto accident claims are faced with intensified scrutiny”.
- Even more disturbing, when these staged accidents go wrong, innocent victims can be left with serious, sometimes disabling injuries and even death.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help lower your risk of becoming a victim.
- Be weary of individuals who approach you and try to convince you to use a specific clinic, doctor or other health care professional, or auto repair shop.
- Pay attention to details like the number of passengers in the other car, how they are acting, and the damages that occurred.
- Report all accidents to the police and obtain an accurate police report.