Personal injury claims can be detrimental to an individual or business’ financial health, not to mention the damage that their reputation can suffer. If the individual or business is genuinely at fault for the injury, they have no choice but to face the consequences. However, there are many instances wherein the individual or business is not at fault at all, and the claimant is making a fake claim to take advantage of the circumstances.
No one wants to lose their hard-earned money to a false claim. If you feel that the person making a claim against you is fraudulent, speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer right away. However, how do you know if the claimant is scamming you? Here are several signs to look for:
1. Fake witnesses
A tactic that many scammers use is to have fake witnesses at the scene of the ‘accident’ to make false statements against you. If there are one or more witnesses that immediately make themselves known and repeat every statement of the ‘victim’, be on high alert–it is likely that these people are attempting to scam you.
2. Suspicious familiarity with personal injury claims
The average person, unless they are a lawyer, will have little to no knowledge about personal injury claims. At best, they would have a basic idea of what a personal injury claim is. So if a ‘victim’ is displaying a suspicious familiarity with the ins and outs of personal injury claims, they could be a fraudster. While it’s not evidence of fraud, it can be definitely a red flag.
3. Sudden appearance of a tow truck
If a tow truck suddenly appears at the scene of a vehicular accident without having been called, there is a chance that they could be working with the scammer. Be wary if this happens to you. Call the police right away and refuse to have anything towed before authorities get there.
4. “Accident doctors”
There are “accident doctors” or chiropractors that act unscrupulously by ordering testing and long-term treatments that are purposely exaggerated to increase your damages claim. If you sustain an injury from the accident, beware of these types of doctors. Insurance companies will only pay you for medical costs that are deemed reasonable, and you will be left with the balance to pay out-of-pocket. So, if your doctor orders questionable tests or treatments, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion.
5. Delay of medical examination
If the other party claims that they are injured and yet do not go to the doctor for examination, that’s a major red flag. Any reasonable person would go to the doctor immediately after sustaining an injury. However, if that injury is false or exaggerated, they may go to multiple doctors to get a diagnosis that supports their claim the most.
6. Exaggerated injuries
Many fraudsters tend to exaggerate their injuries in order to get the most out of their false claim. Unfortunately, it is difficult to prove that a ‘victim’ is exaggerating their injuries, especially if the injury cannot be seen, such as whiplash. However, if you have reason to believe that the ‘victim’ is not being entirely truthful about their injuries (e.g. wearing an arm sling after they slipped and fell without using their arm to break the fall), contact your insurance company right away. You may also want to consider informing your lawyer just in case.
7. Advice from “runners”
Some scammers work with “runners” that show up at the scene of the accident and try to convince you to go to medical clinics or accident lawyers that may not be all that ethical. Be wary of unsolicited advice–don’t let anyone sway your judgment, especially in a stressful situation like this. If someone ‘advises’ you to go to a certain clinic or lawyer, it’s always best to ignore them, even if they genuinely mean well.
8. Story that keeps changing
After an accident, it is crucial to write down the details before they are forgotten. If the claimant’s story keeps changing or is vague, it may be a sign that they are trying to take advantage of the situation by making their account fit the evidence. Moreover, if they start putting forth unsubstantiated evidence, they may be trying to get the most out of their false claim.
Fraudulent personal injury claims cost Americans billions of dollars each year. Protect yourself by keeping watch for these warning signs if you ever find yourself in this kind of situation. If you think that someone is scamming you, talk to your lawyer and insurance company right away.