Dealing with an auto accident claim can prove complicated enough when you have caused or contributed to an auto accident. When you find yourself facing a false auto accident claim, on the other hand, it can feel even more complicated. How can you prove that you did not cause an accident or that you had no involvement in a specific event? Working with a lawyer may offer your best chance to avoid a false car accident claim.
Types of Fraud in Car Accident Claims
Fraud in car accident claims can happen in several ways.
The Other Party Stages an Accident
Sometimes, people, including people with real injuries who cannot receive medical treatment through traditional means, will deliberately stage a car accident: slamming on their brakes in front of a driver traveling just a little too close, for example. Rear-end collisions are particularly effective for this type of fraud because the other driver is almost always at fault.
The Other Party Files a Claim for an Accident that Never Occurred
The other party may issue a claim against your insurance for an accident that never occurred, which can make it very difficult to establish that you did not cause an accident.
The Other Party Claims Injuries They did Not Suffer
At the scene of the accident, the other party might have walked around fine, insisting that they did not sustain injuries at all or that they did not sustain serious injuries. After the accident, however, they may try to claim severe injuries.
The Other Party Tries to Blame You for an Accident You did Not Cause
You may know that the other party caused the accident, but they may try to claim that your negligence caused, or at least contributed to the majority of, the accident. Often, they will lie about the cause of the accident in an effort to reduce liability or get your insurance company to pay for the accident.
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What You Should Do to Protect Against a False Claim
Regardless of the type of fraud, you should take the same general actions to help protect yourself.
Always Report a Collision that Involves Injury or Property Damage to the Police
If you need to exchange information with the other driver, you likely need a police report to help establish the cause of the accident. While a police report is not absolute, and you may still have to prove the cause of the accident, a police report can serve as much-needed evidence. As you report the accident to the police, you may also get an idea of the other driver’s intent: for example, you may notice that the other driver lies about the cause of the accident or refuses to accept liability.
Take a look at the police report and make sure it contains accurate information about the accident. If you notice inaccurate information, let the police officer know as soon as possible.
Collect Evidence and Witness Contact Information from Any Accident
Any time you get involved in a car accident, make sure you collect evidence. Don’t put yourself in danger to do it, but do try to snap some photos of the accident, including photos of the other vehicle, that vehicle’s license plate, and the position of the two vehicles before they’re moved. You should also collect contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident since that contact information can later prove vital to your accident claim.
Notify Your Insurance Company About the Incident
Your insurance company can help serve as a critical advocate when you’re trying to manage a fraudulent auto insurance claim. Let your insurance company know about any accident you may have had, including whether the other driver is likely to file a claim against you. Let the insurance company know about any red flags, including a sudden stop from a vehicle with a lot of people or a driver or passenger who claimed severe injury immediately after the accident.
Provide your insurance company with relevant information and evidence. Cooperate with your insurance company as much as possible, including providing any evidence that you might have or answering key questions about the accident. If you don’t cooperate with your insurance company, you may have a hard time getting coverage.
Avoid Talking to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
While you should cooperate with your own insurance company as much as possible while managing the car accident investigation, you may not want to talk to the other driver’s insurance company until you have spoken to a lawyer. Sometimes, the other driver’s insurance company will try to trip you up or convince you to make a statement that accepts liability for the accident, which could later make it difficult for you to prove a lack of involvement. Instead, let your lawyer deal with the other party’s insurance company or advise you about your interactions.
Get in Touch with a Car Accident Lawyer
A fraudulent car accident claim against you can mean a number of potential problems, including points on your license for an accident caused by another driver, an increase in your overall insurance rates, and even personal financial liability for the other party’s injuries. If you have a false car accident claim filed against you, you need to work closely with a car accident lawyer. Car accident lawyers are familiar with the investigative process, including how to determine who really caused a car accident.
A lawyer can help investigate your claim, including taking witness statements, working with an expert witness to evaluate the accident, and providing comprehensive assistance as you fight the claim.
Contact an Auto Accident Lawyer After You Discover the Fraudulent Claim
If you discover that a false auto accident claim has been filed against you, do not attempt to handle it on your own. Instead, contact an experienced auto accident lawyer to learn more about your rights. Pacific West Injury Law is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you navigate a false car accident claim.