Are there many cases where a pedestrian sets up his own insurance scam?

Asked about 4 years ago - Saint Petersburg, FL

I was involved in a situation where a pedestrian carrying many bags, darted out into my vehicles path, I veered away from them and avoided hitting them. There was no contact with my car, but the person stated they wanted my information, and I caused their fall. I had stopped to ask if they were ok, if they needed an ambulance, and we could call the authorities. They insisted all they wanted was my name just in case their scratched arm was not ok. I insisted that we call the authorities to give names, but they did not want to. Months down the road I got a letter from a lawyer. I contacted my auto insurance, they found the person to state that they had a minor injury and they reported it. Does this happen frequently? If you suspect fraud what do you do?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Charles Stuart Mauney

    Contributor Level 7

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    Answered . Certainly, there are occasions where individuals file fraudulent claims, and as such, should be reported to the appropriate authorities. I am not aware of any concerted effort to do this in South Carolina, where I practice law. Anytime there is an incident involving a vehicle, the local law enforcement should be contacted so that some type of report can be generated. The driver should also immediately contact their insurance carrier if they suspect a claim may be filed against them. This allows your insurance carrier to conduct an appropriate investigation.

  2. Gerard William O'Brien

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

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    Answered . There are a great many ways to scam a driver with a staged accident. If you have had the opportunity to watch television, movies or read procedural fiction you will see this come time and time again. One way to do it is as the driver starts out from a traffic signal too slap the car hard and fall down. The driver is usually so surprised and disturbed that when asked he will say he saw the pedestrian too late to avoid hitting him.

    Most often people who pull this type of scam don't go to the insurance company they are generally happy with what you have in your wallet. The scare it puts into the driver is usually enough that the driver just feels lucky to have gotten away with the cash settlement.

    My advice is if you are in an accident always call the police, insist on it and if you have your own cell don't even ask just dial 911. Because the scam is easy and usually successful their are people who do it over and over again. The reason they don't want the police to intercede is that they may be on the local police's radar as a repeat scam artist.

    Finally you should call the police because hit and run is a serious crime. It is better to get a ding on your license then it is to get convicted, particularly for a crime you may not have committed. Finally use your cell phone camera to get pictures of the street the car the "injured person." You may just help to take a con artist off the street so they don't cause a real accident while you are trying to avoid their set up.

  3. Andrew Daniel Myers

    Contributor Level 20

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    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . Scams happen all the time. It is unfortunate. All of us, people like myself who represent legitimately injured persons, and insurance company representatives share the need to expose scams.

    Report all of the facts to your insurer. If they know what they are doing they will employ the many resources available to them, such as a Special Investigations Unit or "SIU" to expose the fraudulent claim.

    One of the many controls that I employ in my own practice is that I reject injury cases in any metropolitan area where there is no police report. I do not know about St. Pete specifically, but in any city in which I have ever spent any time, even small ones, one can hardly walk down the street for long before seing a cruiser. If one is legitimately injured they want officials to come and make a record of the person at fault. No exceptions. I have never regretted this policy.

    This answer is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided in an office consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, with experience in the area of law in which your concern lies.

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