How Personal Injury Fraud Hurts Everyone
Last year, a New Jersey man filed an insurance claim for injuries he sustained when he slipped on some spilled ice in his workplace’s cafeteria. But there was just one small problem: the whole incident was staged!
In a video captured by his workplace’s security cameras, the man tosses ice onto the floor before positioning himself on the ground to look like he slipped and fell on the slippery floor. He then tried to file an insurance claim for his injuries.
What is Personal Injury Fraud?
This man’s shocking actions are an example of personal injury fraud. When someone commits personal injury fraud, it means they are trying to find compensation for an injury that is nonexistent, exaggerated, or unrelated to the accident or incident that they claim caused the injury.
Some examples of personal injury fraud could include:
- A warehouse worker sprains his ankle while walking home from his local bar after a night of heavy drinking; at work the next day, he claims that his sprained ankle was a result of the fall at work
- Two roommates set their home on fire, then claim that a defective microwave started the fire
- After a fender-bender leaves her with only minor bruises, a driver decides to file a claim for debilitating PTSD because she thinks it will earn her more compensation
Even though some of these situations might lead to actual injuries, they are still examples of fraud because the circumstances are exaggerated or fake.
While the above situations are egregious and intentional, personal injury fraud can also occur simply through failing to disclose information. For example, if someone fails to mention that they were looking down at their phone at the time of a car accident, this could still be considered fraudulent behavior. This is because they are omitting information that could play a critical role in their claim or case.
The Consequences of Personal Injury Fraud
When someone commits personal injury fraud, it can have serious ramifications—not just for them, but for others around them. For starters, the person who actually commits the fraud could face punishments such as:
- Denial of their claim
- Cancellation of insurance coverage
- Being forced to return or repay any settlements or other awards
- Misdemeanor charges
Avoiding Personal Injury Fraud
Personal injury fraud can also have an impact on the entire legal and insurance system. To understand the impact, look no further than the classic fable of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. In the fable, a boy repeatedly makes up claims about a dangerous wolf coming to his village. When the wolf does actually come, the boy tries to warn his village, but no one will believe him. Since he “cried wolf” so many times, his claims seem unbelievable. In a real-world example, imagine a worker is caught trying to falsify an injury at work. A few weeks later, when someone else is actually injured, their employee might not believe them.
Personal injury fraud is a serious issue. To avoid fraud when navigating your own personal injury claim, be honest and upfront about your case—and consider consulting an experienced personal injury attorney who can see you through every step of the way.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.