The Insurance Fraud Bureau issued a report recently stating that Crash for Cash scams cost the UK approximately £340m every year. The increasing incidence of Crash for Cash scams is alarming for motorists around the UK. If you are the unfortunate victim of one these scams, even if your insurance company covers the payout, you still end up paying for it because you pay an increased premium when you renew your insurance.
So What Exactly Is A Car Accident Crash For Cash Scam?
Most people in the UK are aware that they are entitled to claim compensation if they are injured in a car accident or vehicle accident that is due to somebody else’s mistake or negligence. While this is great news for innocent road accident victims, there are a few people who try and game the system to make some quick, easy cash. A Crash for Cash scam is one in which a criminal orchestrates an accident with the specific intention of making a fraudulent insurance claim. If you have been the victim of a car accident claim scam and as a result you are injured you are entitled to claim personal injury to find out how much compensation you can claim for your car acident claim. Alot of these crash for cash scams are dangerous and can cause injuries to the innocent victims involved.
There are several different ways that they do this. Some of the more common scenarios include:
- In an induced scenario, the driver slams the brakes suddenly for no apparent reason, causing the car behind to crash into them with full force. They then insist that it was the fault of the driver in the car behind them and immediately provide the victim with the details of their insurance company.
- In another induced scenario, the driver flashes their indicator light at a junction to tell the car behind that they are letting them go and then deliberately crashes into the car.
- In a staged car accident claim, two accomplices crash their cars into one another or the fraudster damages their car with a sledgehammer in such a way that it looks like it was damaged in an accident.
- Some people submit false claims for accidents that did not even happen.
Fraudsters who are planning a Crash for Cash scam do not just pick out their victims at random. They look for drivers who are more likely to have full insurance but less likely to take a stand or fight back when accused of causing the car accident. Elderly men and women and mothers with children are at highest risk of becoming victims to this scam.
How A Crash For Cash Scam Affects You
If you happen to be a victim of a Crash for Cash scam, the driver will insist that the accident was your fault and within a couple of weeks you can expect to hear from your insurance company with details of the other driver’s claims. More often than not, the claim will be highly exaggerated with inflated expenses for injuries, usually severe spinal injuries or whiplash as well as car repair and car hire expenses.
Yes, you will feel a sense of relief in knowing that your insurance company will fight or settle the claim on your behalf, but ultimately you will pay the price. After any accident, you forfeit your ‘no claim’ bonus, which means you end up paying a higher premium when you renew your insurance.
Know The Signs
Given the increasing rate of Crash for Cash scams in the UK, it does pay to know the potential signs and be vigilant while driving. Watch for these signs:
- The driver in the car ahead of you is unpredictable and driving erratically. The driver may be driving unusually slowly or speeds up and slows down for no apparent reason.
- The brake lights of the car ahead of you are not working. Fraudsters planning on pulling one of these scams often disable their brake lights so it catches you off-guard when they brake suddenly and a crash is inevitable.
- The driver or the passengers in the car ahead of you seem to be paying more attention to your vehicle rather than the road ahead of them.
- The car ahead of you indicates that they are allowing you to pull out but you see no clear indication that they are actually turning. Use your judgment and slow down a bit to be sure that the car is actually turning before you overtake.
What To Do If You Are Victim Of A Cash For Crash Scam
Despite taking all precautions, you could still end up as a victim. Here are a few things you should and should not do if you suspect that you are a victim of a scam:
- Insist on calling the police to sort things out. In most cases the offending driver will prefer to let you go and will back off.
- Never admit liability for anything, no matter what the other driver says.
- Do not challenge the driver directly, as this could put you in an even more dangerous situation, especially if the area is fairly deserted.
- Make a record of what happened. Write down notes in your note book. Get photographs of the scene. Do this carefully, especially if you are using your phone as you do not want to get that snatched away, leaving you even more vulnerable.
- Obtain the contact information of independent witnesses. Be very careful who to approach though as very often fraudsters operate in gangs and will have some of their own members around to pose as witnesses.
- As soon as you manage to get away from the scene, inform your insurance company about the incident. Make sure you tell them about your suspicions.
- Report the incident to the Insurance Fraud Bureau.
It is always a good idea to get free legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer after you have been in any road accident, especially if you suspect that you have been the victim of a Crash for Cash scam. If you were injured in the accident, a personal injury lawyer will help you file a claim for compensation. If you were not injured, a personal injury lawyer will give you expert legal advice about your rights and your next course of action.
As an added level of security and to have a solid eye-witness to support their innocence many drivers in the UK are choosing to install dashboard video cameras that capture everything in the event of any accident,