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Getting in a car accident is bad enough. You have to deal with insurance companies, car repairs, and sometimes even injuries and medical bills. But what if your car accident was actually part of a car insurance scam?
Even if you're not involved in the accident, you're likely still paying the price of car insurance scams in the form of higher premiums as companies pass the cost on to consumers. Below are some common forms of this type of fraud and how you can avoid them.
Probably the easiest and most common car insurance scam is the forced rear-ending. Since most jurisdictions and car insurance companies consider the rear driver automatically at fault for a rear-end collision, scammers will slam on their brakes or cut in front of someone to force an accident. They may even claim to be injured so that you and your insurance company have to cover both the property and injury claims. To avoid this, be aware of traffic ahead of you and always drive at a safe distance, allowing plenty of space in front of your car. Yes, even if this means other cars will hop in front of you at times. It's not worth the headache of an "accident."
Sometimes scammers will become aware of your accident through a tow truck driver or mechanic, and will call or show up at the scene pretending to offer assistance with your claim. They may refer you to an attorney or pose as a consultant or insurance official. They try to get you to use a specific clinic, mechanic, or lawyer in an attempt to get your insurance information so they can file and collect on false claims with your carrier. Avoid this scam by working directly with your insurance company and being discerning about who has access to your information.
Fake Injuries and Victims
While plenty of people suffer real injuries even from seemingly minor accidents, scammers will often claim fake injuries and will even file claims for people who weren't even in the car at the time of the accident. After an accident, take note of how others are acting - if they're moving around without complaint, and the extent of the damage. Also take photos of the damage and note how many people are involved. Ask the other driver to acknowledge how many passengers they have as well as their names.
Car insurance fraud is a huge problem for insurance companies and consumers alike. Insurance companies pay millions of dollars for bogus claims, and those costs get passed on to the consumer. And if you're the pawn of a car insurance scam, you'll get hit with higher premiums, legal hassles, and sometimes even your own injuries. If you think you've been the victim of a car insurance scam, contact an attorney with experience fighting this type of fraud.