Personal Injury Solicitors Warn About Crash For Cash Scams
19th November 2013
Cash for crash scams appear to be a growing problem nowadays and are causing a lot of concern to a lot of people. In these scams, criminals stage motor vehicle accidents involving innocent people so they can make fraudulent insurance claims against their victim’s insurance. Many people who have been ripped off in these scams do not realise this is the case, and do not consider themselves to be victims, but people could quite easily die or suffer serious personal injuries as a result of this criminality.
Cash for crash scams generally take the following format:
– The fraudster’s car stops suddenly for no reason
– An innocent motorist crashes into the back of them
– The innocent motorist appears to be to blame for the road traffic accident
– The fraudster exaggerates the damages and personal injuries sustained to extract more money from the insurers
In some cases, fraudsters actually disable their brake lights to increase the likelihood of a rear-end collision.
There are other common types of cash for crash compensation scams, including staged accidents, involving two cars that are both driven by the fraudsters, or ‘ghost accidents’ that are entirely paper-based and do not even involve real cars. ‘Flash for cash’ is also becoming a well-known problem – this involves criminals flashing their lights to encourage other drivers to move despite the criminal having the right of way, and then colliding with the other driver when they manoeuvre.
According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau, these scams cost the industry £392 million annually, and occur all over the UK. At any one time, the bureau is investigating between 30 and 40 different criminal gangs involved in this behaviour, each one worth an average of £1.7 million, and estimates that as many as one-seventh of all personal injury claims could be these kinds of scams – a total of 69,500 personal injury claims in total.
Furthermore, 74% of Brits surveyed think that cash for crash scams are a serious problem the country faces, with 78% of people concerned that they will sustain serious injuries in one of these accidents. Nonetheless, 8% of people polled said they would consider taking part in one of these scams themselves.
Reputable solicitors, such as Clearwater Solicitors, would never dream of helping someone perpetuate this kind of scam. Instead, the scammers use Claims Management Companies, some of which exist solely to help them perpetuate their fraud.
The dangers these scams pose to the health and safety of innocent motorists is potentially huge, and the financial implications can be very significant.
People who suspect they have been involved in a crash for cash scam should detail the number of passengers in the other car and photograph any damage the vehicles sustained. They should take down as much information as possible – such as the circumstances of the crash, the time of day and anyone’s injuries – to cover themselves should the fraudster later lie about the motor vehicle accident.