And of course, with so many cars on the roads of Port Charlotte and Sarasota, there’s always the chance that an accident may occur. If it does happen, auto insurance is there to quickly provide whatever funds may be required to ensure a quick repair or, in some cases, financial compensation for damages or even medical treatment.
Unfortunately, as with any system where significant amounts of money are involved, there are some people that would like to get their hands on that money through illegitimate means. Insurance money is, to some people, regarded as free money if they can create the right conditions. And we got a shocking example of this recently from the United Kingdom.
Staging An Injury
In July of last year in the United Kingdom, a woman was driving her car down a quiet suburban street when she was involved in an accident. However, it wasn’t an accident at all. A man wearing a helmet and pushing a scooter ahead of her suddenly moved in until he was just ahead of her, causing her to brake. He then backed up with the scooter, tossed it aside as he got near the car, and threw himself backwards so that he landed on the hood and windshield of the car before rolling off back onto the ground.
The woman, of course, was shocked, and got out of the car, only to be even more shocked when the man, claiming an injury due to being struck by the woman, had his argument reinforced by a witness that claimed he saw everything and could verify that the woman ran into the pedestrian. What neither person knew, however, was that the woman had an active dashboard camera that had been recording everything.
When she informed that she was calling the police, and that the entire incident had been filmed, the two fraudsters, in a panic, ran away in separate directions, the “accident victim” having miraculously recovered from his injury enough that he could run away at top speed once it became clear that charges and an arrest might be on the table.
A Global Phenomenon
Sadly, this type of staged injury attempt is not something that is relegated just to the United Kingdom. All over the world, including the United States, and even right here in Florida, there have been attempts to fake an injury in the hopes of getting “free” financial compensation through money from an insurance company. There’s a school of thought that believes that even though deception is involved in such incidents, this is largely a “victimless crime,” since no one really gets hurt, and the insurance company has “plenty more money where that came from,” so it’s essentially a harmless activity.
Of course, none of this is actually true. Staging accidents means victimizing someone else for false blame, which, in and of itself, is a grueling unpleasant experience. An insurance company that pays out too many false claims must, as a matter of survival, change its premiums in order to keep up with the numerous payouts, which in turn affects the many customers.
In other words, while there is no one physical victim for insurance fraud that gets hurt, the domino effect of a successfully staged injury can have negative consequences on many people. It can happen to you at your home, if someone blames an injury on your home’s construction. It can happen at your place of business, if someone pretends to slip on the floor and claims it’s because of something faulty in your building. And it can happen on the road when someone claims that they are injured because negligence on your part.
If you know that you were acting with all reasonable care and caution at home, at work, or on the road, that doesn’t mean that someone claiming an injury against you must automatically get it from your insurance company. But this is not a battle you want to fight alone either. If you think that you are the victim of an insurance fraud scam, don’t give in, get help, and seek the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer to find out how to defend yourself and your insurance company from an attempted scam. It serves everyone’s best interests to not give in.