The DBW Law Blog

Personal Law, Law in General, Blawg

Category: Personal Injury Law

Private Investigators & Insurance Fraud

While Hollywood portrays private investigators as trench coat wearing, cigar smoking sleuths who have their camera constantly ready to snap a photo of a cheating spouse, a large portion of a private investigator’s workload includes insurance fraud cases. Private investigators who focus on insurance fraud are among the most demanded professionals.

What is Insurance Fraud?

Plainly speaking, insurance fraud is when one or more individuals intentionally deceive an insurance agency to gain a fraudulent profit. In fact, insurance fraud in a common crime in the United States, costing consumers $80 billion dollars a year, on average. Insurance companies basically raise premiums to help cover the cost of fraud.

What is Insurance Fraud Investigation?

A private investigator gathers evidence to figure out whether or not fraud has taken place. Some real life examples of insurance fraud are listed here:

Out of Control Arson

One of the most common ways of committing insurance frauds is to set something on fire and then file a claim for the insurance money. That’s exactly what Mark Leonard tried to do when he burned down his home in Indianapolis. Tragically, he ended up blowing up his house and accidentally burying his neighbor alive.

False Car Insurance Claims

A popular scam for people who seek reward by deceit is to team up and commit a fake car accident and a fake injury, typically whiplash. In this case, a private investigator would look for evidence that the whole thing was planned.

Fake Slip and Fall

A famous scam that involved dozens of people pretending to fall down and get hurt occurred in Philadelphia. A lawyer actually coached his clients on how to slip and fall and act hurt. They got away with about $400,000 false claims until they were found out – most likely by a private investigator hired by the insurance company or companies who began to see a pattern to these shady slip and fall claims.

Life Insurance Fraud

This one is something you find on and off the Hollywood screen. Murder for life insurance money may not be common, but it happens enough for private investigators to get hired on to solve these kinds of cases.

Dealing with an Auto Accident

Dealing with a car accident can be a stressful experience for even the most sturdy at heart. However, knowing what to do in advance of a car accident can make it a lot easier to deal with often unforeseen car accidents.

After The Car Accident

Be sure to remain at the accident scene so you can gather information. Be sure that you are in a safe place when doing so, and away from roads with fast moving vehicular traffic if at all possible.

The next step would be to exchange information with all parties involved in the car accident. This could mean witnesses, other drivers, or people in other affect/involved vehicles.

Another important thing to do is to not admit fault, and do not provide details about insurance coverage amounts, limits, or any other information other than your carrier’s name and your police number. Generally, the information on the insurance card should suffice.

If possible, get photos of the damages to all property and other vehicles as well as the accident scene. Road conditions, tire skid marks, roadway junk and debris, and the location of the vehicles should also be recorded or photographed.

Obtaining interpretable images of license plates and insurance cards is also a plus.

Information To Gather After a Car Accident

  • Note the names, phone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses of all people involved in the car accidents as well as the number of people in the other vehicles involving.
  • Also get the names, phone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses of all potential witnesses of the car accident. This will come in handy in the event that you are put in a situation in which you will need to hire a Texas personal injury lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected and that you are fairly compensated for your claim. In fact, contacting a lawyer for auto accidents in Houston should be one of the first steps you take if you involved in an automobile accident.
  • Also take detailed notes of the location of the accident including intersections, addresses, and the small details like the exit number.
  • Get the other party’s insurance company name, insurance policy number and phone number.
  • If emergency services respond like the police department, get the police report number, phone number, officer name, badge number, ambulance company, fire department, and add that information to your notes from the accident.

After you have all the details, the next step would be to contact your lawyer and report the incident to your insurance provider. Afterwards, your Houston personal injury lawyer will advise you on further steps to take to get the best possible results from the outcome of the car accident.

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