According to the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud’s south division, scam artists in Florida are staging fake Florida pedestrian accidents and car accidents in a bid in order to defraud the insurance industry. The insurance industry has been taking steps to fight the fraud, even closing down Miami-Dade clinics linked to insurance fraud.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that South Florida is leading the US for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance fraud, behind only Tampa Bay. Insurers have been pressuring legislators in Florida to pass tough new laws which would crack down on insurance fraud. Insurers want to see tougher penalties for fraudsters and stricter regulation of medical clinics to help combat the problem. However, some experts questions whether laws alone will help. Staging a Florida car accident to commit insurance fraud is currently a second-degree felony in Florida.
In Florida, all motorists are required to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This protection covers up to $10 000 in medical bills in the event of an accident and is designed to help ensure that injured parties can get medical help quickly and affordably without having to go to court to recover the costs. In Florida, PIP is no-fault, meaning that injured parties receive the money regardless of who was at fault in an accident. Unfortunately, this no-fault clause also makes insurers susceptible to fraudsters, who do not have to extensively prove illness to get the money.
There are many ways that insurance fraudsters defraud insurers. In some cases, companies coach “victims” on how to describe injuries to insurance companies in order to get the money. In other cases, fraudsters are involved in complex networks of attorneys, clinics, and mechanics in order to stage accidents that have never taken place. Since PIP claims must be paid within 30 days of an accident, it is hard for insurers to separate fake claims from genuine ones.
Unfortunately, it is the real victims of Florida car accidents that pay for the fraud. With insurance fraud such a concern, insurers charge all drivers more to cover the losses caused by fake claims. Currently, Florida has the fourth-highest car insurance premiums in the country, and the costs are expected to rise as fraud rises. According to experts, fraud costs the average driver an additional $400 in premium costs. As well, insurance companies may suspect genuinely injured victims of fraud and may delay payment, causing financial distress for injured parties. In some cases, fraudsters get innocent drivers involved in car accidents by purposely causing an accident and blaming the other driver for the collision. In these cases, the victimized driver may sustain serious injuries and may find their insurance premiums increasing through no fault of their own.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a Florida car accident, contact the experienced team at the Flaxman Law Group. The legal team at the Flaxman Law Group has successfully worked with thousands of Florida car accident and personal injury victims in Miami, Hollywood, Homestead, and throughout South Florida. Call today to arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.