According to an Article written by Danny Valentine and published by the St. Petersburg Times, Tampa has the highest number of questionable car accident claims in the state of Florida and the second highest in the country. One type of questionable auto accident claim involves staged car accidents. Two drivers purposely make their cars crash into each other to make it look like a real accident. One of them fakes an injury and both of them claim the uninjured person caused the accident. Often times a medical clinic that specializes in treating car accident injuries pays the driver and injured person to stage the accident. The clinic makes money treating the fake injuries by billing the personal injury protection auto insurance of the person faking the injury. In some cases crooked lawyers knowingly make personal injury claims on behalf of the faker. Many times, however, the attorney is not even aware the car accident was staged and the client is not really injured.
This type of fraud makes it more difficult for a Tampa personal injury attorney to bring legitimate personal injury claims. The large number of faked accidents make insurance companies question all claims more closely. It also gives them an excuse to deny legitimate claims. When the injury can be easily proven like a broken bone, it is not a problem. However, there is no way to prove the existence of many personal injury claims. With this type of claim the injury is based on the persons subjective complaints of pain. Since there is no test or study that shows the person is actually in pain, the insurance company often takes the position that the person is not really hurt.
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Unfortunately, the publicity surrounding staged auto accidents also causes jurors to question all claims more closely. When the doctors testify there is no way to prove the persons complaints of pain are real, many jurors wonder if the person is making it up. They use their experience reading about staged car accidents and insurance fraud to justify doubting even the most believable of injury victims.
Fortunately, the Hillsborough County Sheriff appears to be cracking down on this type of insurance fraud. On Friday, October 8, 2010, the Sheriff arrested eight people as part of what has been described as an ongoing crackdown on staged auto accidents.