Clamping down on personal injury claim fraud is not just the dream of the government but naturally also that of insurers who each year have to pay out a lot of money to unmask fraudulent claims.
When considering Accident Advice Helpline, which is just one of many legal organisations dealing with personal injury claims, receiving around 25,000 enquiries every month, the proportion of potentially fraudulent claims across all specialist firms of solicitors in the country is likely to be huge.
Last spring the Transport Select Committee put forward new government proposals to deter fraudsters from making a claim for whiplash injuries. The high number of claims has largely been responsible for raising the cost of motor insurance, adding around £44 per annum to the average motor insurance cover of every driver in the country.
Personal injury claim fraud benefits no-one in the long run, not even the successful fraudster, as everyone’s premiums are going up as a result. The government is now talking about forcing all claimants to represent themselves at the small claims court in an effort to clamp down disreputable solicitors who encourage fraudulent claimants as they benefit from inflated fees. Fraud pushes up legal costs, as claims are being dealt with in the civil litigation system and ultimately, this cost is passed on to everyone through an increase in taxation.
How insurers spot personal injury claim fraud
- trawling databases such as inflated hospital billing, legal fee billing, credit card expenditure
- social media
- patterns in claim behaviour
In America private investigators work hand in glove with insurers to detect fraudulent claims more speedily and it is not uncommon for Europe either. Many large insurers have their own in-house investigators, many of whom have previously worked for the police, as private detectives or as medical personnel.
Insurers will also analyse a claimant’s history, going back through a person’s entire lifetime of claims. Insurers look at the frequency and type of claim made, assessing what kind of person makes such details; any discrepancy from what they expect to see in a claim and a person’s details will flare up as a potentially fraudulent claim, especially if insurers see a pattern emerging.
For example, if insurers see regular medical claims being made by a claimant who works as a contract worker and is blaming his or her employer for an accident just weeks before the work assignment was supposed to end, insurers will become suspicious and assume a case of personal injury claim fraud.
The advisors at Accident Advice Helpline are seasoned professionals who know how to weed out the good from the bad, while insurers increasingly use social media to snoop when they are on the lookout for fraudsters.
Accident Advice Helpline is monitored by the Ministry of Justice and has consumer champion Esther Rantzen as their patron, making the UK’s largest network of specialist solicitors a reliable source of legal representation and advice.
Social media is not a reliable friend: when a claimant states they are unable to perform their job duties because of whiplash injuries but is meanwhile boasting on social media about going dancing or playing in a friendly tennis tournament, insurers will know instantly they’re dealing with personal injury claim fraud.
Date Published: 21st September 2013
Author: Louise Thacker
Category: Personal injury claims