When you are involved in a car accident, it is common to be left feeling confused, uncertain, and overwhelmed. If you are injured, things may seem even worse. Accident victims often rely on their insurance companies to help them with the financial aspects of recovery and getting the money they need to put their lives back together. In some cases, however, it is the insurance company that is the victim, and the ramifications can be extremely serious.
Dozens of Staged Crashes
Last month, a federal jury in New Haven handed down a conviction for two men charged with fraud and conspiracy related to a string of staged car accidents between 2011 and 2016 in and around Norwich. Four other men pleaded guilty last August. The men were part of a ring that swindled hundreds of thousands of dollars from various insurance companies by staging car crashes and then filing insurance claims for damages and bodily injuries.
According to court documents, the men would buy expensive import cars—including at least one with a bad transmission—and buy insurance coverage for the vehicles. Within a few days, in most cases, one of the men would drive the car into a tree or a ditch or find another way to create a plausible accident scenario. The owner of the car, along with a varying number of passengers, would follow in a separate vehicle. The man who crashed the car would leave the scene before the police arrived.
The owners would proceed to file insurance claims and accept low-dollar settlements to avoid investigations by the insurance companies. Payouts ranged from about $10,000 to $30,000 per accident. Federal investigators say they found evidence of about 50 staged accidents, including 11 “relatively unimaginative crashes” that were presented at trial. Those 11 accidents injured 29 people, according to the phony claims, but in reality, nobody was ever hurt in any of the instances.
The Problem With Fraud
While it may sound gratifying to fool an insurance company into paying fraudulent claims, doing so can create much bigger problems in addition to criminal charges for those who try. When evidence of fraud is uncovered, insurance companies often respond by creating new anti-fraud policies that make it harder for true accident victims to secure the payouts to which they should be entitled. Fraudulent payments can also drive up premium rates for all drivers insured by a particular company.
Call Us Today
When you have been injured in any type of car accident, the last thing you need is a fight with your own insurance company. If your carrier is refusing to approve full payment of your claim, contact an experienced Hartford personal injury attorney. We will help you protect your rights and work to get you the money you need to put your life back on track. Call 860-290-8690 for a free consultation at Woolf Law Firm, LLC today.