What are the consequences of making a fraudulent claim for personal injury?
A fraudulent claim is recognised as when the person making a claim intentionally leaves out, mispresents, alters or hides vital information relating to the claim. This is with the intention of receiving payment under the policy that they would not be otherwise entitled to.
There are 2 types of fraudulent personal injury claims
Insurance fraud can be recognised as two different categories, Soft Fraud and Hard Fraud. Soft fraud or “opportunity fraud” is the most common type of fraud committed, an example of this is when the individual claiming “fakes” or exaggerates their injuries sustained from the accident they were involved in. Hard fraud or “premeditated fraud” is when the individual claiming has deliberately been involved in an incident, an example of this is “crash for cash” claims where the claimant has intentionally caused another party to collide with their vehicle.
Consequences of making a fraudulent claim based on the type
Soft fraud usually stems from a sincere claim, where the claimant has been involved in a genuine non-fault accident and is feeling some discomfort or minor injury, however they may exaggerate the amount of pain or discomfort they are in as a bid to be awarded a higher amount of compensation. If it is believed that the claimant is attempting to make a soft fraudulent claim the solicitors or insurance company can review the case and involve the police as well as share the claimants’ details with other insurance companies or solicitors firms to alert them that they may contact their business to commit fraud in the future. They may also pass the claimants details onto fraud prevention database, Cifas, once on this database it can be extremely difficult for the individual to get insurance or have access to other financial services.
Hard fraud is when the claimant has planned on making a claim for personal injury and therefore has prearranged an “accident” to occur. Staged accidents are a huge part of organised crime and are often referred to as “Crash for Cash” claims. There is a harsher punishment for these kind of claims as there are innocent people at risk of genuine injuries. If an individual is found to have committed hard fraud when making a personal injury claim they can be sentenced to up to 3 years in prison.
Courts have begun to take a much tougher approach on insurance fraud as an attempt to discourage the behaviour, as stated in the featured article below, “Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime, it affects all motorists through higher premiums and staged accidents can put other road users at risk of serious injury or even death.”
Read the full article in the Insurance Times here: http://ow.ly/7C3u50uNk4p
Look out for our next blog post to read more about Crash for Cash claims and what to do if you think you have been a victim of one of these scams!