People injured as a result of a motoring accident that was not their fault can claim personal injury compensation. However, the temptation of potentially netting thousands of pounds by becoming involved in accidents on purpose, posing as a victim and then making a claim is happening more and more.
The colloquial term used to describe these types of road traffic accidents is ‘Cash for Crash’. These ‘cash for crash’ fraudsters fake accidents by targeting unsuspecting motorists, braking unnecessarily suddenly, especially at roundabouts or slip roads, and forcing motorists to collide with them. Other tactics involve disconnecting brake lights so that the victim in the car behind has no warning that the car is about is stop. They typically target the more vulnerable driver such as the elderly or young mothers who they feel will be more likely to readily accept the blame for an accident. The fraudsters then try to claim from the victims insurance, often exaggerating damage and injuries and even the number of passengers in the car. In recent years this has become a huge racket and been partly blamed for driving up insurance premiums.
There has recently been the well documented case of Mohammed Patel who was jailed for four and a half years for his part in a ‘cash for crash’ scam. He caused at least 93 accidents which cost the insurance industry £1.6 million and earned him at least £46,000. He charged car owners £500 a time to stage car accidents in their own vehicles by driving slowly and then braking suddenly causing the vehicle behind to crash into him. His car owners, who were not even present at the time of the crash, would then claim for personal injury, hire charges, storage charges and even extra passenger injuries. Patel arranged these types of accidents nearly every day for three years but was exposed when the staff in nearby offices overlooking one of his regular crash locations became suspicious and alerted the authorities.
The majority of these ‘cash for crash’ cases are referred to personal injury lawyers who may act without knowing that they are part of an insurance fraud operation. However, at Amelans Solicitors we have procedures in place to limit this type of scam. We perform thorough reviews at every stage of the claim, having meticulously examined all the detailed circumstances of the accident before we agree to proceed. From our experience there is often a common pattern to staged accidents. Alarm bells also ring when the insurance company dispute any events or facts relating to the claim. If still not satisfied that the claim is legitimate, we would then pass the case to our fraud investigation department who are trained in investigation and interview techniques. Our experienced RTA team have even successfully brought claims against those who staged the accident having suspected a bogus claim.
At Amelans we feel it is vital that insurers and law firms alike act to combat this ‘cash for crash’ fraud which is why we only take on cases that we are convinced are genuine.