Car Insurance Fraud Crackdown in Florida

Most people are aware of car insurance fraud, but they would probably be surprised to learn how often it occurs. The frequency and serious nature of the problem have prompted many states, including Florida, to take increased action against it. Anyone who considers involvement in a car insurance scam is treading down a dangerous path. The intensified focus on this crime makes imprisonment of those involved a more likely outcome than ever before.

Tricks of the Trade

Car insurance fraud is perpetrated in several ways: staged car crashes, false claims of bodily injury, and false claims of stolen cars are a few examples. To determine payouts, car insurance companies rely on reports from adjustors and medical records from physicians and other providers. Unfortunately, vehicle owners do not always act alone, and car insurance fraud rings, including attorneys, physicians, office administrators, and others, are not uncommon. By staging crashes or lying about the facts of legitimate accidents, fraudsters are able to walk away with money they do not deserve. We all pay the price when these crimes cause our car insurance rates to rise.

Why Florida?

Thousands of questionable claims have been filed in the state of Florida with more than 1,500 in Tampa alone for the year 2010.[1] The suspicious claims filed in Tampa nearly double those filed in Orlando.

There are many reasons credited to Florida’s high number of car insurance fraud cases. Most relate purely to monetary gain. However, immigrants often stage car “accidents” to obtain the money to illegally enter the United States.

Another reason is the abuse of Florida’s mandatory Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) policy.  The Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law requires all owners/registrants of motor vehicles with four or more wheels to carry a minimum of $10,000 of PIP to cover medical bills (paid directly to providers) and lost wages. The policy is known as an easy target of corrupt clinic owners and suspect attorneys and is abused in several other states as well. While PIP was created to help those in need, criminals have found ways to use it to access large amounts of money. In truth, the problem is becoming worse. Fraud arrests this year have already surpassed last year’s total.

Taking Action

Of course, car insurance companies are not happy about people lying on accident claims. While there is no surefire way to know which accidents are staged and which truly are accidents, law enforcers are taking more time to examine each accident. They have even worked to get communities involved, offering up to $25,000 to anyone who provides information leading to an insurance fraud arrest.

The state of Florida has stepped up and taken notice. State lawmakers, regulators, and law enforcement officials are working to make sure every person who receives an insurance settlement rightly deserves it.



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