Can I claim compensation for a 'Crash for Cash' injury?
Defined as ?staging or deliberately causing a road traffic collision solely for the purpose of the financial gain', ?Crash for Cash' insurance fraud raises insurance premiums and put the lives of innocent motorists at risk.
As with any no-fault accident that results in injury, innocent drivers are entitled to claim for compensation to cover medical and financial losses.
How does a claimant prove that they were injured as a result of a deliberate ?Crash for Cash' collision? What procedures should the claimant follow?
The facts on ?Crash for Cash'
According to a report by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), organised ?Crash for Cash' crime is worth over £392 million a year.
Each accident can net up to £30,000 through a combination of exaggerated claims for vehicle damage, loss of earnings, bonus passenger claims, vehicle recovery, vehicle storage, car hire and personal injury.
How are accidents faked?
In order to stage or deliberately cause accidents from which fraudulent claims can be made, perpetrators usually use one of three methods. These are:
- The staged accident - two fraudsters deliberately crash into each other
- The induced accident - the fraudster targets an innocent motorist to become the ?at fault' driver
- The ghost accident - no accident actually takes place, but is simply fabricated on paper
It is ?induced accidents' that are the most likely to put other drivers at risk. Mothers with children and the elderly are targeted because they are seen as vulnerable. White van drivers are also targeted because they are likely to have comprehensive insurance.
It is often presumed that if one driver shunts into the back of another, the driver in the rear is liable for any injuries arising from the collision, on the basis that are likely to have been driving dangerously close to the first vehicle. 'Crash for cash' fraudsters rely on this presumption of liability.
The driver committing the fraud will pull in front of the victim and slam on the brakes, causing the victim to brake and shunt them from behind.
Often the fraudulent driver will also disable their vehicle's brake lights to ensure the second driver has no warning that the car is braking.
The above scenario is designed to make the innocent driver appear 'at fault', making their own, legitimate personal injury claim more difficult.
Proving the accident was ?Crash for Cash'
Motorists who believe they have been a victim of a ?Crash for Cash' crime should take immediate action. The AA recommends that they:
- Do not admit liability at the scene without challenging the other driver
- Take written notes on what happened and what was said
- Discreetly take photographs
- Call the police
- Check for independent witnesses (but be careful as they may have been planted)
- Notify their insurer of their suspicions as soon as possible
As much evidence as possible will be needed to disprove any claims made against the innocent victim to their insurer and further the victim's own legitimate claim for personal injury.
To help victims of ?Crash for Cash', insurers and advisors have access to the Claims Underwriting Exchange (Personal Injury) database. This enables them to reveal any suspicious patterns which relate to a single claimant.
Claimants will be ?put on notice' by the Court of Appeal and told that causation will be investigated. Often the impact of the accident is so minimal it is hard to see how an injury could have been sustained. Medical records are often essential in contradicting false claims.
Once it can be proven that the fraudster is ?at fault' then a legitimate claim by the innocent victim can be progressed in the same way as any other personal injury claim.
If you suspect that you have been subjected to a 'crash for cash' claim, you can speak to a member of our panel of expert solicitors for advice on how to proceed. Call Quittance on 0800 612 7456 for more information.