Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law

Personal Injury Fraud

When someone suffers injuries because of someone else’s negligence, they can file a personal injury lawsuit for damages. But when someone falsely claims an injury or exaggerates their damages to get more money, it can be personal injury fraud.

Personal injury fraud is a criminal offense; anyone suspected of fraud can face criminal penalties. If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, have a professional attorney review your case to ensure you don’t accidentally put yourself at risk of criminal charges. Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney for legal advice about your case.

What Is Personal Injury Fraud?

Personal injury is an area of liability law involving accidents caused by negligence. Types of personal injury cases include:

  • Auto accidents
  • Slip and fall
  • Dog bites
  • Bike accidents
  • Product defect injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Workplace injuries

For example, car accident victims can sue the driver responsible for causing the accident. The other driver or their insurance company may have to pay for any health care, property damage, and other losses caused by the accident.

In a fraudulent personal injury claim, the alleged victim may have coordinated a staged accident, faked a whiplash injury, and inflated claims to defraud the insurance company.

Common Personal Injury Scams

Many types of fake injury claims are used to commit insurance fraud and false claim fraud. In general, these accidents involve presenting misleading injuries and damages. Common types of personal injury scams include:

  • Providing false information to the insurance adjuster
  • Providing false information to medical providers
  • Falsely claiming an injury is work-related
  • Intentionally causing an accident
  • Faking an injury
  • Including fake property in an accident claim

Soft or Hard Insurance Fraud

Soft insurance fraud may involve exaggerating an injury or inflating the damages of an actual injury claim. Some claimants may try to get more money from an insurance claim and justify it by the high cost they pay for insurance premiums.

Hard insurance fraud is generally planned ahead of time. This can include staging a vehicle accident, faking a workplace injury for workers’ compensation, or threatening to sue another driver for money after causing an accident.

Who Is Involved in Personal Injury Fraud?

Fraudsters in personal injury claims can include multiple parties. A medical provider might be in on the scam to back up any fake injury claims with medical records. The alleged injury victim might have caused the accident. More people may claim they were passengers in the vehicle and suffered injuries, even though they were never at the accident scene.

What Are the Penalties for Personal Injury Fraud?

Many personal injury fraud cases involve insurance fraud when the fake injury victim tries to get money from the insurance company. Other criminal offenses may include common fraud, health care fraud, workers’ compensation fraud, or fraud against the government.

Most personal injury fraud cases fall under state criminal law. The laws and penalties can vary by state. For example, in California, insurance fraud is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Organizing a car accident for a personal injury claim in Florida is a felony punishable by a minimum of two years in prison. A conviction for fraud may also include restitution for any illegal payouts.

The insurance companies or fraud victims could also file a civil claim for damages. A civil lawsuit award can include illegal gains, legal fees, and punitive damages.

How Can You Avoid Personal Injury Fraud?

If you are a driver or property owner, you can be a victim of personal injury fraud. For example, if someone claims an injury happened on your property, you may be liable for their injuries. If you are in an accident, the other driver may claim you caused the accident and try to recover money for injuries.

It can be challenging to tell if someone is falsely claiming injuries for personal injury fraud. But some red flags of fraud can include:

  • No witnesses to the accident
  • Inconsistent statements about the injuries
  • Delays in getting medical care
  • Injuries are not visible
  • The alleged victim refuses an independent medical exam (IME)

You can also help protect yourself by doing the right things after an accident. If you are in a car accident, report the accident to the police as soon as you can. If the police come to the accident scene, they can investigate what happened, identify all parties involved, and produce a police report.

Get contact information from everyone involved, including license plates and witness statements. Use your phone to take photos or video of the accident scene, including any injuries, what the accident looked like, injuries, and vehicle damage. Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as you can.

Reporting Suspected Personal Injury Fraud

You can report fraud to your state fraud bureau if you suspect it. For suspected insurance fraud, call the National Insurance Crime Bureau to report possible fraud. If you are in a personal injury case and believe the other person is lying about their injuries, you can tell your lawyer.

How Should I File My Own Personal Injury Claim?

If you suffer any injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you don’t want to make a mistake and have your claim denied or face fraud accusations.

personal injury attorney can deal with the insurance companies and other parties involved so you can focus on getting better. Be truthful with your attorney about the details of your case, even if you think they don’t reflect well on you.

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