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Beware of scams when making a claim

You can’t trust everyone in life, and when it comes to making a personal injury claim, things are no different. There are plenty of scams out there that you should be aware of, and if you have decided to make a claim for compensation after being injured in an accident caused by somebody else, you need to have your wits about you. Not everybody you come across will be honest, and there are a number of common scams that you should be aware of.

One of the most common scams is when a claimant exaggerates their claim – for example they exaggerate the damage done to their vehicle in a road traffic accident, the injuries caused or the number of people involved. It’s a good idea to keep a pen and notepad in your vehicle, as well as access to a camera (the one on your smartphone is fine), so that you can record any damage if you are involved in an accident.

What are a few of the most common scams?

In recent years, insurance company Aviva has reported a surge in ‘crash for cash’ scams, where a driver deliberately causes a collision with another vehicle in order to claim for damages and injuries. In 2013, Aviva discovered over £110m worth of fraud; that’s an increase of 19% from 2012.

A driver pulling out in front of you in traffic in order to deliberately cause a rear end shunt is one of the most common scams around, and many of these scams are carried out by criminal gangs who use them to make a living. In fact, between 2006 and 2015, fraudulent insurance investigators exposed over 25,000 accidents in the UK which were false or staged. In some cases though, it’s the person actually making the claim who is committing fraud, either intentionally or unintentionally. They may have asked their GP to commit fraud by filing a fake medical report, or created a fake medical report themselves to exaggerate their injuries. However, it’s easy to falsify or exaggerate a personal injury claim unintentionally, especially if you are unaware of the costs involved.

That’s why it’s a good idea to use an accident calculator like the 30-second test™ on our website, to help you work out how much you could claim. You can also gather evidence relating to your claim yourself, for example, receipts for any expense you wish to claim for (such as the cost of travel to medical appointments) or witness statements from those involved in your accident.

How serious a problem are scams?

Scams are a serious issue in the UK, in fact ‘crash for cash’ scams cost the UK approximately £340bn a year. If you’re a victim of this type of road traffic accident scam, you may be able to claim personal injury compensation, as well as compensation from the other driver’s insurance company for damage to your vehicle. However, ultimately you will pay a price, as when you renew your insurance, you’ll end up paying a higher premium. It’s not just criminal gangs who perpetuate scams in the UK though. There have even been cases where medical professionals have been involved in elaborate scams in a bid to make some money on the side.

In May 2016, a GP in the UK was found guilty of compiling fake medical reports for personal injury claims, after making a lucrative deal with a ‘no win no fee‘ accident lawyer. These scams aren’t going anywhere, and unfortunately they leave behind victims who are forced to pay the price – which is why it pays to have your wits about you when it comes to making a claim for personal injury compensation.

Why you need a solicitor you can trust

You want to ensure that you hire a professional, experienced personal injury lawyer when it comes to making a claim for compensation – a firm with a great track record. This means you should look for a specialist personal injury solicitor with years of experience handling personal injury claims. In summer 2015, a new scam was unveiled where several garages were found to be selling driver details after accidents to ‘rogue’ claim firms for £12 a head. The claims firms then cold-called drivers to urge them to claim compensation for whiplash. It’s important to ignore any firm which tries to talk you into making a claim, as no reputable personal injury lawyer would ever do so.

Accident Advice Helpline to the rescue

Accident Advice Helpline will never push you into making a claim. In fact, our advisors and professional personal injury lawyers offer advice on a no-obligation basis, so you can get in touch with us after your road traffic accident or accident at work without feeling pressured into making a decision on the spot. We work on a no win no fee basis, which means you don’t need to worry about paying any upfront legal fees, as these will be deducted from your personal injury settlement, if your claim is successful.

We don’t buy details from other firms or ‘cold call’ customers to try and get their business. Since 2000, we have been helping members of the public to claim compensation after being injured in accidents where somebody else was at fault, and during that time we have enjoyed a great track record of success. If you’re worried that you may have been involved in some kind of scam – either with another personal injury solicitor or during the accident itself – you can always contact us for confidential advice and to find out more about making a claim with us. With over 16 years’ experience, we’re best placed to offer you expert advice, and it’s free to call our helpline on 0800 689 5659.

Whether you have been injured after a slip, trip or fall in a public place, an accident at work or even a road traffic accident, our aim is to help you get the compensation you are entitled to, whilst making the claims process as simple and stress-free as possible.