According to the executive assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, the most significant type of insurance fraud in Southern Florida is staged car accident fraud. Recently, authorities arrested 26 people and charged 33 people and arrested 26 as part of an investigation into a staged-accident ring that involved multiple groups in Miami-Dade county and Palm Beach county. According to experts, staged car accidents deprive the insurance industry of billions of dollars in fraudulent claims and put innocent motorists and pedestrians at risk of real injuries.
Staged car accidents often increase during times of economic instability, as people turn to fraud for economic gain out of desperation. Staged car accidents can be quite elaborate and can involve multiple fraudulent parties, including doctors, fake witnesses, motorists, and more. Unfortunately, in some cases it is more than just insurance companies who get harmed. Innocent bystanders can also be harmed since fraudsters are still essentially creating a car accident in South Miami or another community. While fraudsters plan carefully so that it appears as though they are injured when they are not, in some cases the target of the fraud suffers serious spinal cord injuries, head injuries, or other injuries as a result of the staged accident.
Staged accidents can take many forms:
1) The lane change accident. In this type of staged car accident, the fraudster will wave you ahead as you attempt to change lanes. When you make the pass, however, he or she will step on the gas and cause a collision, later denying that he or she waved you ahead and leaving you liable for the car crash.
2) The T-bone accident. In this type of staged car accident, a fraudster will wait until you enter an intersection and will step on the gas, t-boning your vehicle. In this type of staged traffic accident in South Miami and other communities, the fraudster will often work with fake witnesses, who will be on the scene to allege that you were the one to run a stop sign or red light.
3) The hem-in. In this type of staged car accident, fraudsters will stop suddenly in front of a target car, with an additional fraudster beside the target car so that the driver cannot swerve to prevent the accident.
In addition to these situations, fraud can occur at other levels, as well. For example, fraudsters may work with chiropractors or others to make claims for injuries which did not occur. Another common scam is for fraudsters to make fake referrals to mechanics, medical professionals, or attorneys. These individuals, if they are in on the scam, may end up charging the target extra money.
Being the target of a staged accident is frightening and upsetting. In many cases, victims are blamed for the accident and may face increased insurance costs. In addition, staged accidents can still mean that victims are rushed to an emergency room in South Miami with head injuries, spinal cord injuries, burns, and other serious injuries.
If you have been injured in a car accident and believe that you may have been the victim of a staged accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group for legal advice and a free case evaluation.