In some recent years the number of motor claims went up although the number of accidents went down! This is probably because more people were claiming for injuries even in minor accidents. Some of these claims could have been genuine! A motor fraudster may target an insurance company or another motorist or both.
Common types are:
- Accidents which never happened
- Exaggerated damage or injuries from a real accident.
- Staged accidents involving an innocent victim
- Staged Accidents between two fraudsters
- False or exaggerated claims for hired replacement vehicles.
Pro or Am? Some fraudsters are “amateurs” – ordinary people who see an opportunity for a quick profit – but types 2 and 3 are usually committed by “professionals”, who are organised gangs and often involved in other crimes. When accidents are staged they usually pick a victim travelling alone so there will be no witnesses and so they can intimidate him or her into agreeing to what they say, or to not taking photos. Challenging them can be dangerous and any suspicions should be taken to the police and/or your insurers or official investigators.
A recent example of a series of type 4 and 5 scams involved a broker who used to add items to genuine claims and get the insurers to pay him before he paid the motorists for what they had actually claimed. A doctor was also involved, writing medical reports on people he had never seen, who were usually unhurt. They always dropped the claim if it was to be investigated, and usually kept the amounts low enough to be paid without question. And they knew which insurers were the easy targets. The police investigation was started as a result of a claimant’s suspicions being aroused when he contacted his insurers direct and learnt about all the payments they had made to the broker for things he had not claimed.
National trends? Type 2 is more common in the USA whilst type 3 is more common in the UK.
What can you do? Always keep a camera in the car. The one on your mobile will do. If you are involved in a motor accident (or any other kind now I think about it) take lots of photos.
- Take both/all the vehicles and take the number plates.
- Take the other driver(s) and any passengers or others involved so they cannot say they were not there and so nobody else can take the blame for them. And the claim may be made by someone who was not there but did have some injuries caused in another way).
- Take the overall scene to identify where it happened.
- Take the scene showing the position of the vehicles in relation to each other to give some evidence of how it happened.
- Try to make notes as soon as possible while you still remember everything.
- You may want to just be left alone and get home as quickly as you can, but that is probably what the other driver is counting on if they are dishonest.