The end of the year is often a great time to catch up on the “End of the Year” or “Top Ten” lists of the best movies, music, and … insurance scams.
Recently, I came across an article published by an insurance industry publication Property Casualty 360, where they featured the Hall of Shame of insurance scams for the year.
This got me thinking about some of the ways people find themselves involved in what might be perceived as insurance fraud, and what rules everyone should follow when it comes to reporting insurance claims.
Common sense tells you that if you lie in order to get a monetary payout, it is both immoral and usually illegal. This is especially true with insurance. If you have a car that has old damage on it, don’t try to claim this old damage as being caused by the light tap on the bumper you received when someone was parking.
Similarly, if your condominium floods and causes water damage, don’t claim you lost dozens of signed first press Beatles albums or a Cubs jersey signed by the 2016 World Series team, unless you actually owned those items and can account for them before the incident.
What can you do to help yourself?
Take photos, scan receipts, and advise your insurance carrier of the existence of these items.
I once represented someone who was injured at work when his co-worker ran over his foot with a forklift.
Unfortunately, my client decided to try to “help out” his co-worker, who he knew was stoned at the time, by texting his boss a photo of his broken foot while at the hospital telling him he “dropped a dresser on it at home.” Once the insurance adjuster enlightened me, I immediately dropped the case. This person took a legitimate claim and blew it solely to cover for his co-worker. Don’t be that guy!
I often represent clients in injury cases who have previously injured or been treated medically for the same part of the body they claim to have injured. No problem there —the law allows one to recover for an aggravation of a previous condition. But some people get greedy and either deny any prior injury or lie about it.
Insurance companies often hire investigators in these cases. There’s nothing worse than being videotaped doing that which you claim you cannot do, having your medical records shown to you demonstrating you were injured previously, or having evidence appear about something else that you’ve denied.
These are the exact types of cases for which having an attorney is extremely beneficial. Trained lawyers will know how to interpret medical records and present the reinjury or exacerbation in the light most advantageous to you without affecting your credibility.
Ever have someone present a great way to make a buck and wonder if it is legit?
If you have to think very long, it’s probably not.
There are bands of criminals who “stage” car crashes. These crashes are real, but often take advantage of unknowing dupes. The people who were hit often then undergo false or inflated medical treatment and peddle their claims to unsuspecting law offices and insurance companies.
If something doesn’t add up, it is probably immoral or illegal.
As a lawyer, I always screen my clients vigorously. I question how they found me, what happened in detail, and request documentation. People looking for an illegal handout usually give up. That is how we separate actual clients from fakes.
As in all cases involving injury and potential liability, if you have been hit by a vehicle immediately get medical treatment, report the crash to police and your own insurance company, and contact a lawyer with expertise in your type of case, such as bicycle accidents or pedestrians hit by cars.
If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has nearly 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He is listed as a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. He is also an Executive Level Member of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.
Stephen handles personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything upfront and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day, contact Stephen now.