Getting involved in an automobile accident is nobody’s idea of a good day. In addition to injuries sustained in an accident, you might also have to go through court in order to obtain recovery. Unfortunately, there are some people who choose to pursue fraudulent automobile accident claims. These fraudulent claims can not only make things more difficult for truly injured persons, but they can also increase insurance costs. In fact, a study from the Insurance Research Council found that, in 2012 alone, claim fraud added between $5.6 billion and $7.7 billion in excess payments to auto injury claims. While claim fraud is a serious issue, there are some things you can do to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
Before anything else, an understanding of what automobile fraud might be. Generally, the term automobile fraud refers to the actual accident in which damages or injuries were sustained. A staged accident can allow participants to submit a fraudulent claim, and to receive compensation for injuries that may not even exist. The typical example is that of the individual who stops short, creating a series of collisions behind him, and then proceeds to sue the victim’s insurance company to collect payment and damages to any damages that may or may not have resulted from the collision.
While there are a variety of ways to protect yourself in an auto accident, regardless of fraud, two of the primary ways to protect yourself are to document everything and avoid admissions of guilt.
Motorists will typically exchange information at the scene of an accident, which includes:
- insurance information; and
- phone number.
While these are important pieces of information to have on hand, especially in the event that the other party is engaging in fraudulent activity, there are a number of other ways to document what happened. One of the best ways to do so is through photography. Photographs can help tell a story, and can help protect against fraudulent activity by disputing false claims with visual evidence. Some things to photograph when involved in an auto accident include, but are not limited to:
- damage to your car;
- damage to the other party’s car;
- the license plates of the other car;
- photo IDs; and
- the scene of the accident.
Admissions of Guilt
While some people may feel responsible or may be convinced that they are responsible for an accident, it is important to remember to never admit guilt or take any settlement offers at the scene of an accident. This is because an admission of guilt can be used against you in court, even though it is a statement made out of court. In addition, agreeing to a settlement offer before seeing a physician or consulting with an attorney could leave you with significantly less money than you need to make a proper recovery.
Contact an Attorney
Overall, while there are people out there who may try to engage in false accidents, there are ways you can protect yourself. While navigating the legal process can be a complex and stressful process at times, you do not have to go through it alone. If you are looking for a skilled attorney to provide you with exceptional representation, contact the David Aylor Law Offices for a free case evaluation.